Beautiful Creatures REVIEW

Beautiful Creatures film review.

Beautiful Creatures.

“Why is Jeremy Irons ruining our film?” “I think he’s jealous of my jawline.”

Release Date: 13 February 2013
12A | 124 minutes
Distributor: Entertainment
Director: Richard LaGravenese
Cast: Alice Englert, Alden Ehrenreich, Jeremy Irons, Emma Thompson, Viola Davis

For a while – a tantalisingly long while – Beautiful Creatures looks like it might transcend the “Twilight with witches” blight of its marketing. Then it all goes horribly, disastrously wrong.

The bizarre thing is, what works best about the film is what you might fear the most – the teen romance. It’s the supernatural part that sucks.

Young Ethan Wate can’t wait to get out of sleepy, parochial small-town South Carolina. He reads books, y’see, while the other locals ban them. Then he falls for a sensitive teen witch – or caster, as she prefers to be known – which is all fine and dandy until he meets the family, and Lena reveals she’s pivotal in a fight between good and dark casters.

The early parts of the film are great. Gorgeously shot in some evocatively languid Southern locations, it benefits from a witty script and two genuinely lovable characters played by two young actors who have “future stars” written all over them. You totally buy into their relationship, which is sweet, funny and compelling.

Then along come Jeremy Irons and Emma Thompson, camping things up outrageously as squabbling casters, apparently playing a game of “Who can do the worst accent?” The naturalistic approach gives way to a gaudy, gothy supernatural panto, with some hideously misjudged CG effects and a surfeit of fantasy plotting clichés.

It’s like watching Submarine suddenly being invaded by the teachers from Hogwarts. A real shame.

Dave Golder

Read our Beautiful Creatures interview with stars Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert.
Read more of our film reviews.