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Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures: Witty Supernatural Romance

  • Alden EhrenreichAlice Englert...
  • DramaFantasy...
  • Richard LaGravenese
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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Beautiful Creatures: Witty Supernatural Romance

The witches are back! With vampires, werewolves and warlocks safely tucked away in their holes – for now anyway – it’s time for the magical and forgotten power of witches to step into the limelight. Based on a novel of the same name – written by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl – this supernatural love story has all the makings of becoming the next best thing to come after the much-loved Twilight series – minus the squirms and gags.  

Beautiful Creatures is set in the Deep South, in the small and sleepy town of Gatlin, South Carolina where we meet Ethan Wate (Ehrenreich); a high school sophomore who lives with his never-seen, widowed dad and is being taken care of by his housekeeper and family friend, Amma (Davis).  He dreams of the day when he can finally break free from the backward town he calls home; a place untouched by modern society, where mandatory yearly war re-enactments only add to his misery.

However, things soon begin to look up when Ethan first lays eyes on Lena (Englert); a mysterious new girl who has just moved to town.  The fifteen-year old pale-faced Lena has come to stay with her uncle Macon Ravenwood (Irons) – an eccentric and well-spoken man who is believed to practice black magic. She, just like her Uncle, is soon shunned by everyone, including Ethan’s annoying on-and-off girlfriend, Emily Asher (Deutch).

Unfortunately, their mutual love for literature and instant chemistry is not enough as Ethan soon learns that Lena is a Caster – another fancy name for a witch – who is soon to face her fate on her upcoming sixteenth birthday.  Will Lena be claimed by the dark powers and turn into an evil witch, or does she have enough goodness in her to defeat the spell that has been haunting her family for centuries?  

Director Richard LaGravenese – who has his writing credits attached to films such as Paris Je t’aime and The Mirror Has Two Faces – handles the adaptation beautifully and brings forth a delightful surprise.  Considering that the concept of a human falling in love with a supernatural force is already perhaps a little worn out, LaGravenese manages to deliver a dose of freshness to the story.  This time, the characters are extremely easy to relate to, with their feet firmly placed on the ground.  The dark gothic humour is refreshing and although the jokes, at times, are a little too teeny, they still flow with the whole ambiance of the film.

The only downfall is perhaps the one too many scenes that take us back to the the Civil War. More importantly, though, both Englert and Ehrenreich shine and bounce off of each other like pros; the magnificent performances by the supporting cast – including Irons, Thompson and Davis – only add to the story’s success.

Enchanting and witty, Beautiful Creatures is a delightful cinematic experience.

Like This? Try

The Witches of Eastwick (1987), Practical Magic (1998), Twilight Series (2008-2012).

360 Tip

The role of Amma - played by Viola Davis - is actually an amalgamation of two characters in the book; Amma the housekeeper and Marian, a librarian and close friend of Ethan's late mother.

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