Release date: February 14, 2013 Director: Richard LaGravenese
Beautiful Creatures is a movie whose dark and powerful undertone plays out around the uncertain balance of a fragile and dangerous romance between the most unlikely of lovers, and the severe and uncompromising moral code of a town whose stringent regard for societal rules allows no room for divergence. The story follows Lena Duchannes, a young woman whose fate rests on a choice between remaining in the light or surrendering to the darkness.
The story is more or less a dark and twisted interpretation of Romeo & Juliet. The star-crossed lovers are portrayed as two unlikely teenagers brought together by fate, and whose unwavering love challenges everything that their respective “societies” adhere to. Lena Duchanne, the beautiful, strong, and misunderstood heroine of the story, is the guardian of a dangerous secret. Ethan is a local boy with big dreams and whose compassionate heart renders him as much a social outcast as Lena. While at first Lena resists Ethan’s attraction to her, she eventually allows Ethan to break the walls surrounding her heart and they fall in love. Their love comes at a terrible price, however, and Lena must choose between true love and fulfilling her destiny before her life is destroyed forever.
Lena is the embodiment of a strong feminist character because she is faced with a terrible choice, and she is not willing to compromise the integrity of her heart to fulfill what others believe to be her destiny. She accepts who and what she is, but she is adamant that she will discover a resolution to her conflict on her own terms. She refuses to surrender to her family’s expectations of what she is destined for and live in darkness, but neither will she allow Ethan to champion her as she struggles to remain in the light. She is determined to walk the path of her destiny. While the resolution to Lena’s story leaves the audience uncertain as to whether she chose the light or surrendered to the darkness, the subtle hint that Lena’s connection to Ethan remains intact allows the audience a sense that in the end achieved her true purpose.
The resolution that is created in Beautiful Creatures is not as extreme as the sacrifice made by the star-crossed lovers of Shakespeare’s play, but the essence of what motivated Romeo and Juliet also reigns in the heart of this story: the power of unconditional love.
Beautiful Creatures is an average film. The story holds up as a decent account of young love; however the integrity is weakened by the overly complicated and fast paced story arcs and one leaves the movie feeling a bit bereft, if only because the resolution is so unclear. The casting is decent, but the characters who are supposed to reside in South Carolina sound more like they come from high society New Orleans. The movie is not the best to be had in the romantic genre, but is a good movie to watch if you like B-grade romance.