CHOICE: VANITY OR BEAUTIFUL LIFE. Talking about the lessons of Alex Flinn's adaptation of Beastly with Alex Pettyfer and Vanessa Hudgens. Text © Rissi JC

CHOICE: VANITY OR BEAUTIFUL LIFE

August 24, 2011 6 Comments

When you enjoy any earthly comfort you want, have the attentions of a movie star with nearly everyone hanging on your every word, and the looks to go with it – and you know it, life is a walk in the park. Beastly tells this story. Although it probably won’t appeal to a much wider audience than pre-teens, what everyone should recognize is its message about vanity… a surface feeling that fades in time. vanity or beautiful life

The tale as old as time reinvents in this 2010 flick (it’s Beauty and the Beast, of course!). This go-round pits a bad-boy jerk against a girl to be reckoned with (one with magical powers too!). The scorned Kendra spins a curse on Kyle so fierce, but he doesn’t take the curse seriously. At first. He begs her to undo it, mopes about his “prison” and doesn’t care whose feelings he stomps on getting there. Anyone within listening distance gets an earful. Kyle elicits a bit of sympathy from us and gets a pass for his disrespectful behavior because of his upbringing; his father all but abandons him forcing which is indicative of how little he thinks of a son who isn’t one of the “beautiful people.” Similarly, his so-called friends whisper about what a terrible person he was, unaware that he is amongst them.

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Fortunately the one genuine redeeming light that sparkles is the relationship between Kyle and Lindy; the one girl he let his guard go unchecked around before the curse. It’s sweet and innocent; the romantic gestures Kyle makes in attempting to win her heart will make one sigh over the romance of it all.  

Kyle’s journey to true love is genuine believe it or not. His motivations may begin as selfish (to undo the curse), but eventually he learns to care for someone not out of necessity but affection. No matter what critics said, the actor deeply portrays this. The character is conflicted, he isn’t all together. Anyone who’s as conceited as he isn’t going to be the most likable person, a change is gradual. Likewise, Vanessa gives a compelling performance and despite critics attempt to pin her break-out role (High School Musical) on her, she proves them wrong. Despite the young cast, the original story slips through in places we might not have otherwise expect a lesson. These instances include a rose (that has nothing to do with measuring time) and a reason for Lindy to live with Kyle.  

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I’m going to confess, I didn’t expect much from this movie other than enjoyment. It was one that I couldn’t wait to see only to be unable to get a copy its first week to DVD.  Disney had a classic with the Beauty and the Beast animated children’s movie. Before that there was a cult classic TV series, and following the 1991 animated flick, various stories were inspired by it, and any number of Broadway shows enjoyed successful runs. Beastly was actually in theaters for a limited run and obviously is a modern take on the storybook fable. Its main appeal might be directed towards young teens, and that is okay if the message seeps into their minds.

With exception to a few missteps, this is a beautiful fairytale with some darker undertones for a more realistic appeal. I would have liked to see the characters be a little older in order to provide character’s choices, reactions and emotions with maturity. However I think filmmakers thought setting it in a trendy scene is easier to manipulate the story (i.e. an overly vain hero). Kyle’s change of heart feels genuine, as does Lindy’s initial distrust but eventual acceptance of him.  

There is a song that has a line in it about pride deceiving our minds (it rhymes too!). We might not think in that vein often, isn’t that a truth we all should learn to accept and work hard to make sure we aren’t deceived by such worldly pursuits? Some people are obsessed with beauty to such a point that they’ll do anything – anything to preserve it. Kyle was in a similar place. His entire world revolved around popularity and beauty – it just wasn’t the right kind. The movie has some beautiful moments, and it offers some truthful lessons of beauty being only skin deep. If you’re ugly on the inside, what you look like on the outside will not matter, beauty fades. It then becomes a choice of vanity or beautiful life.

About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

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6 Comments

  • Ella August 24, 2011 at 2:54 am

    I thought Beastly was quite good, which surprised me. Like I said in my review, I didn't anticipate liking it….but I did. And there was a message to be found as well. I always like when that happens.

    So exicted, that is my book/movie comparison for Charity's "Fur and Fangs" issue!!!!

  • Rissi August 24, 2011 at 3:16 am

    We totally agree about this movie, Ella! It REALLY surprised me too – I was super anxious to see it but didn't get a copy the first week. Now, I just can't wait to pick up a DVD copy of my own.

    Oooh! I CANNOT wait to read your submission for "Fur & Fangs" – I am sure it will be great and I look forward to reading your further thoughts on "Beastly." =)

  • Ruth August 24, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Ella, you're doing the Beastly book/film comparison for the 'Fur & Fangs' issue? Awesome, I can't wait to read it!

    Rissi – I really enjoyed this movie, and enjoyed 'revisiting' it thanks to your review. I enjoyed the book and IMO the movie made some improvements on the book retelling.

  • Rissi August 24, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Ruth – that is nice to hear that the movie made improvements, perhaps I should read the book sometime because I certainly want to re-watch the film!

    Thanks so much for dopping by, Ruth!

    And, Ella, you now have us all excited about your article for Charity's 'Tude! =)

  • Ella August 24, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    I'm glad to hear it ;-) I agree with Ruth, I think the movie did make improvements on the book…which usually bugs me when people take a large amount of artistic license. But I love what Beastly did…..though read the book Rissi! See what you think ;-)

    And I certainly want to rewatch the film. I do have a good excuse too

  • Rissi August 24, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Thanks to you both! Now, you've convinced me – I am going out shopping a couple times later this week, so perhaps I should look out for "Beastly." If I find the book, I may just pick up the paperback, read it and then see the movie again. Sounds like a plan to me.

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