Starring: Rachel Weisz, Susan Lynch, Iain Glen
Director: Bill Eagles
I came amazingly close to actually seeing the Scottish, grrl-power,
gangster comedy, "Beautiful Creatures" in the theaters
several months ago, but missed the start time by a few minutes and
decided to forego it. It worked out for the best, actually, because
when I finally saw it on video, I had returned from a European trip
that included a stop in Glasgow, and had a greater appreciation
for the geography of the city which supplies the film's setting.
Though I found the scenery of Glasgow to be rather mundane compared
to Scotland's other "big" city, Edinburgh, "Beautiful Creatures"
made me realize that it's unique enough to have a recognizable feel
that the film does a good job of capturing.
"Beautiful Creatures" is a dark comedy that follows the misadventures
of Petula and Dorothy, two seemingly intelligent young women who
still manage to be addicted to their loutish and violent boyfriends.
In Dorothy's case, this is explained by her recent bout of heroin
addiction; a malady that often precludes bad choices in the significant
other department. Petula's fondness for her abusive lover can be
explained by my application of the word 'seemingly" in the phrase
"seemingly intelligent" as seen above. Petula's boyfriend doesn't
last long in the film - we are introduced to him as he's beating
her up in a parking lot (shades of Thelma and Louise) but he is
quickly dispatched by Dorothy who is wielding a long metal pole.
From there the girls bond in the way you can only bond with someone
after smashing someone's skull in, and they decide that it's much
wiser to take the risk of making it appear that Ronnie has been
kidnapped than it would be to throw themselves to the mercy of the
Police. As we all know, domestic violence is practically unheard
of in Scotland and there is no way the authorities would believe
something as transparent as the truth. The film rolls along with
some definitely hilarious interludes, eventually arriving at a violent
but upbeat ending. The inclusion of some level of tragedy at the
end would have made "Beautiful Creatures" have a bit more impact
and regain some credibility.
All lot of critics laid into "Beautiful Creatures" for not having
a single, morally decent male character. This is quite an unfair
allegation - in fact, the most righteous character in the movie
is a male. Dorothy's dog, Pluto, throughout the film shows and unbridled
loyalty to his comrades, and makes the greatest sacrifices by not
only being painted pink (by Dorothy's thuggish boyfriend) but being
shot in the ear. It is exactly that sort of portrayal of chivalry
that makes me proud to be a man. Sure, all the human males
in the film are without fail, utter scum, but I've always preferred
Ultimately, the sexual politics of the film are, upon examination,
rather confusing. I don't mind seeing a film stating that women
are perpetual victims of the unsalvageable male psyche, but it is
a little irritating to see a movie insinuating that beautiful woman
actually suffer more because of their looks. How 'bout a
shout out for the travails of ugly women? Or moderately attractive
women? Considering that "Beautiful Creatures" was written and directed
by men, it's hard to tell whether this film is really a proto-feminist
statement, or a Russ Meyer style ploy to hang out with cute girls.