New Release Review - Beautiful Creatures

Directed by: Richard LaGravenese
Starring: Alice Englert, Viola Davis, Emma Thompson, Alden Ehrenreich, Jeremy Irons, Emmy Rossum

A jaded high-school student falls for a young witch.

Ethan (Ehrenreich) is bored of life in Gatlin, a bible-obsessed hamlet in rural South Carolina, where he is made to feel like an outsider for preferring to spend his time in the town's library rather than any of its twelve churches. When the mysterious Lena (Englert) arrives in town, the two immediately develop a relationship. Lena possesses a dark secret however; she is a "Caster", a witch-like creature. On her upcoming sixteenth birthday, she must go through a process known as "The Claiming" which will decide whether her powers will ultimately be used for good or evil.
Now that the 'Twilight' saga has been wrapped up and put back in its coffin, Hollywood is desperate for a new fantasy franchise that will appeal to moody teens. It's hard to imagine 'Beautiful Creatures', also based on a series of young-adult novels, taking the place of the vampire saga. While the central premise of a teen facing a huge life change on her sixteenth birthday may be something young adults can identify with, the story as a whole lacks direction. The film veers wildly from brooding drama to comedy; the youthful leads seem to be taking things a lot more seriously than the likes of Irons, Rossum and Thompson, who opt for a far more campy, over the top approach.
The 'Twilight' franchise, in both book and movie form, has been heavily criticized for being little more than a far right Christian recruitment campaign. For much of 'Beautiful Creatures', you could be forgiven for believing it a secular alternative to the more popular series. Religious types are portrayed as intolerant wackos and the lead character Ethan describes the library as his "place of worship, full of all that's holy - ideas". By the end, however, he has been convinced of the error of his ways and finds himself joining a church congregation. I guess Hollywood doesn't care too much for the secular dollar.
3/10
Beautiful Creatures (2013) on IMDb 6.1/10



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