No, that is not the title of the movie. It’s Beastly.
Beastly is a modern re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, set in New York city, starring Vanessa Hudgens, Alex Pettyfer, and Mary-Kate Olsen. It tells the story of a popular, good-looking, rich teenager, Kyle (played by Pettyfer) who looks down on people who ‘missed the beauty boat’. He looks down on ugly people and boasts openly that good looking people ‘just have it better, plain and simple’. He is at the top of the social food chain, and crosses paths with the school witch, a scary-looking Mary-Kate Olsen. After being insulted, she puts a curse on him, morphing his face into a distorted ugly one. He must find a person to say the words ‘I love you’ to him before the year ends. His father is just like him (an asshole) and buys him son a home in a less-conspicuous location where he can hide his face. He disappears from school, and gets tutored at home by a blind Neil Patrick Harris. He remembers a girl from school that he’d almost clicked with, Lindy, a nobody scholarship student. He bumps into her again when he visits school during a Halloween party, right when he witnesses his former friends’ fickleness. He follows her around, being now interested in her. He later saves her and her druggie father from a couple of men with guns, only to later blackmail the father (who’d just shot and killed one of the men) into sending her to live with him. Nothing says knight in shining armor like blackmail followed by forced co-habitation.
What did I think of the movie?
Well, lets just say that never have I had such a hard time sitting through the first half of a movie. It was so predictable and cliched, like the writers were trying too hard to ‘push it’. The dialogues were overly-verbose, slick and filled with weird phrases that made me wonder if people in real life actually talked like they were on a sitcom. The emotions of a guy who’d just lost everything that made him who he is were lost. I did not really feel anything, except a little scared for her while he stalked her. I told myself I’d stop watching over and over until I reached the part where he saves her from those armed men. The way he takes pictures of the crime scene and her father’s face and demands that he give her to him was….decidedly creepy. Wait, are we really supposed to root for him at some point when he coerces the dad to ‘give’ her to him?
Anyways, that point was when I made the connection, that this film is based on Beauty and the Beast. *interest piqued* I finally saw the significance of the rose motif, and appreciated the similarities and differences between the two stories. All things considered, it started to look better from that point on. I actually enjoyed the film. I watch them slowly dance the friendship to romance dance. I knew she’d at some point, say the magic words, but a perverse part of me wanted to see what would happen if she didn’t, just for the sheer entertainment value that would bring, (Deeno and Bitter would be proud of me.)
Nothing really had changed, since the movie went on pretty much the same as before. The lines were still stupid-sounding and the acting was still weak, but the innocence and warmth shone through. The little gestures, the dreamlike simulations, the small trials and victories of love, they really are what saved this movie. It’s reminiscent of the movie’Penelope’ from a few years ago, and I am a sucker for the ugly-duckling-falls-in-love-with-someone-who-loves-him/her-for-who-he/she-is-inside stories, especially if there’s a little fantasy thrown in too.
My favorite part, though, is the part when he’s sitting in the dimly lit den, watching a korean sitcom. Without subtitles. That was the highlight of the film for me and made me sit up in my seat and think to myself, ‘How’d Korea permeate even this little nook of Hollywood and find me? IT MUST BE FATE.’ Anyways, what ensues is a conversation between the two protagonists that establishes that he fluently speaks Korean. Random much? But I sorta love him for it. Haha.
Another thing that stood out in the film was the music. At times I’d get so distracted by a particular song in the background that I’d momentarily forget about the story itself and make a mental note to look up the song in the end credits. Some of the songs were that good.
So, to sum it up:
Acting: 4 (out of ten)
Overall: Recommendable, if you don’t mind wading through the first half.