‘Beastly’: See a Beautiful Story of the Timeless Tale Romance

September 26, 2011 8 Comments

Even with good looks and charm with every earthy comfort at ones fingertips does not make a likable person. That is the working idea behind the teen movie, Beastly. It probably won’t appeal to a wider audience than teenagers (for most it will be brushed aside as an angst-driven story with some pretty faces and young Hollywood starlets who might not have real acting chops), but what everyone should recognize is its message about vain beauty.

Beastly (2010) Film Review

Leading a charmed life is not just something Kyle (Alex Pettyfer) takes for granted; it’s something he demands. With an attitude to match, Kyle doesn’t treat anyone with respect. His bid for class president results in his asking one of the class outcasts to be his date for a school dance. But during that dance, the truth is revealed. He only asked Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen) as a ploy to further humiliate her. Long rumored to be a witch, Kendra’s reason for accepting Kyle’s invitation is to give him a second chance, instead she shows Kyle firsthand her wrath.

'Beastly': See a Beautiful Story of the Timeless Tale Romance. Review of the 2010 Vanessa Hudgen's adaptation. Review text © Rissi JC

Gone are his blonde locks and picture-perfect face. His physical appearance reflects the ugliness inside. He’s given a year to undo the curse – find someone to truly love him as he is or remain so forever…  

Shuttering himself away with only a housekeeper and blind tutor (Neil Patrick Harris), fate brings Lindy into his life. Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens) is a good student on scholarship with a determined nature. When Kyle arranges for her to live in his home, his attempts to romance her go rejected, it isn’t until he sheds his selfless nature that he can really begin to love without condition.  

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'Beastly': See a Beautiful Story of the Timeless Tale Romance. Review of the 2010 Vanessa Hudgen's adaptation. Review text © Rissi JC

The tale as old as time is re-invented in this adapted flick. Disney has a classic with their animated children’s movie. Before that there was a cult classic TV series, and following the 1991 animated flick, various stories took inspiration from it. With exception to a few missteps, Beastly is a beautiful fairy tale with darker undertones, giving the story a realistic bent, and also perhaps a wider appeal to adults. Fortunately a genuine redeeming light in the movie is the relationship between Kyle and Lindy. It’s sweet and innocent, while the romantic gestures Kyle loses himself in are all to win her heart. Each is sure to make us sigh with the sense of old fashion romance.

Kyle’s journey to true love is less shallow than I suspected. His motivations may begin selfishly, but eventually he learns to care not out of necessity but affection. No matter what critics say, I think Alex gives a terrific performance in this regard. The character is conflicted; he isn’t all together; the transformation feels organic. Likewise, Vanessa gave a beautiful compelling performance. If anything, she was the one a little stilted. Despite this and the critics’ attempts to always pin her break-out role (High School Musical) on her, she is proving them wrong.

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'Beastly': See a Beautiful Story of the Timeless Tale Romance. Review of the 2010 Vanessa Hudgen's adaptation. Review text © Rissi JC

The script does a good job of packing the original story into a mere eighty-six minutes, including a rose (that has nothing to do with measuring the time Kyle has left) and a reason for Lindy to live with Kyle. I would have liked to see the characters aged up, but I think filmmakers thought setting it in a trendy teenage scene would be easier to manipulate the story to their advantage (i.e., working with a vain hero). Kyle’s change of heart feels genuine, as does Lindy’s initial acceptance of him although the ending is kind of “sudden.” Nonetheless for those of us looking beyond the surface, the movie has some beautiful moments, and it offers some honest lessons of beauty being only skin deep – and they are lessons that lead to genuine transformations. ♥

'Beastly': See a Beautiful Story of the Timeless Tale Romance. Review of the 2010 Vanessa Hudgen's adaptation. #Movies #FairyTale #Romance #FWArchives Click To Tweet

CONTENT: With a PG13 rating, most teens can enjoy this but… there’s various crude comments throughout. “Suck” is an expression used and a guy’s on-line profile claims hobbies as “anything bangable.” Some immodest clothing is present while two parties show teens out to have a good time; making out, etc. One man is shot and killed, another is a drug addict. Profanity includes sh*t, a**, and a few misuses of the Lord’s name.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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  • Ruth September 26, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    I really liked this movie – and I thought it in many ways improved on the book by making the main character older teens. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and for the link!

  • Ella September 26, 2011 at 9:10 PM

    I definitely prefered the movie over the book….for many of the reasons you have named. Thanks for the link back!

  • Rissi September 27, 2011 at 2:55 AM

    Ruth – yeah, looking back, I too am glad the characters were older. My mom thought they should be older yet, but I think writers thought it easier to get away with the whole vanity thing. Plus, whenever teen characters are 18 and they fall "in love," I would much rather see that than a fifteen year old claiming to be in love. The book does end in their senior year.

    Ella – me, too! (As you know. ;D) I am now really anxious to see the DVD again. I've finally bought it, just have to re-watch it now.

    And, you are both welcome for the link – I won't bring you any new readers just now, but someday… maybe! =D

  • […] Who wouldn’t like this romance? It’s sassy, cute and that ohmygosh, that ending? *swoon* (PG13) You can rent or own Austenland digitally on Amazon Video or on DVD. 2. The Bachelor Silly in many ways, the charm of Chris O’Donnell and Renee Zellweger gives this oldie romance (check out the fashion!) plenty of appeal. (PG13) You can own The Bachelor digitally on Amazon Video. 3. Beastly […]

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  • […] 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 […]

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