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Beautiful
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Reviews & Ratings for
Beautiful More at IMDbPro »

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17 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

A nice light entertainment

7/10
Author: Brian B-2
13 August 2001

This movie is better than its reviews. It does wander a bit in the second half, but engaging performances make it worth watching. Minnie Driver is well chosen- attractive , but human. Joey Lauren Adams steals the movie. Not about to change your life ( not a " message movie"), but does subtly make some nice points about beauty and beauty contests, families, friendship and self-esteem.

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19 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Portrait of superficiality

Author: george.schmidt (gpschmidt67@gmail.com) from fairview, nj
28 April 2004

BEAUTIFUL (2000) * Minnie Driver, Joey Lauren Adams, Hallie Kate Eisenberg, Leslie Stefanson, Bridgette L. Wilson, Kathleen Turner, Ali Landry, Michael McKean. (Dir: Sally Field) I wish I could say something nice about Sally Field's big screen directorial debut but through no fault of her own (except accepting this god-awful comedy/drama to do just that) the film is a complete disaster.

Mona (Driver, who co-produced with her sister Kate) is a white trash young woman desperately attempting to achieve her life-long desire of becoming a beauty contestant winner of the Miss America pageant and spends the entire length of her life (and the film) in doggedly determined to do just that.

Unfortunately during her quest she gets pregnant and for reasons never fully explained (except the given that she is extremely selfish) has the child raised by her long-suffering best friend, Ruby (Adams), a nurse in an old folks' home, who stands by Mona through thick and thin. Gradually little Vanessa (Eisenberg, the moppet from those Pepsi commercials), begins to put two and two together and when Ruby is suddenly thrown in jail (for murder! Yes the plotting is ridiculous; seems one of her charges was saving up on her daily meds and finally overdosed unbeknownst to Ruby) Mona is faced with her greatest challenge: facing her daughter.

The film has not one shred of grace or subtlety. For example, with Vanessa as her new hurdle to overcome, what does Mona do. Get a lawyer, get a job, feed the tyke? No. She gets a camera and has the girl take candids of her for the upcoming big event and in one of the many cringe worthy moments finds herself assisting a pregnant woman's delivery in a supermarket, singing 'Wind Beneath My Wings' (!) The tone of the character is so mean-spirited that ultimately you don't care one iota if she succeeds in becoming a winner (she is so obsessed with this that nothing else matters in her life) and I actually loathed her for her displays of self-absorption and greed.

It was sickening and by the film's outrageous conclusion that Mona sees the errors of her way totally rings false and feels superfluous to the rest of the film.

Field, who obviously is one of our most talented actresses, should deserve better projects and one can only hope she will. As for Driver, another equally gifted actress, she had better get it into her head that there is no audience for a character that has no scruples, heart or affection for another character. If this was meant to be a black comedy then it completely misses the mark altogether.

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14 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Don't believe the reviews!

8/10
Author: Ed Cohen from Philadelphia, PA
1 October 2000

The contrast between the newspaper reviewers--who clobbered "Beautiful"--and its generally favorable bulletin board comments is extreme. The movie I saw is funny, entertaining, and has something thoughtful to add to discussion of gender politics, as well as to the various earlier films about beauty pageants.

"Beautiful" asks whether or not it is OK to continue having beauty pageants, and yet drop the requirement that the participants have refrained from motherhood, thereby straying from the pageants' vestal virgin ceremony origins. "Beautiful" answers in the affirmative, since that way pageants may yet have value in the personal development and empowerment of young women. If they are done with a little common sense, pageants need not be about objectifying or patronizing women

Apparently, that view was too politically incorrect for most big media critics. How would they have reviewed "Beautiful," had it been directed by Robert Altman instead of Sally Field?

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Her ego knew NO bounds

7/10
Author: helpless_dancer from Broken Bow, Oklahoma
11 February 2004

On the unbelievable side but still an interesting look at a woman totally dedicated to winning beauty pageants as a way to build self esteem. A pushy, driven person who never quite grew up and leaned heavily on a childhood friend for the guidance and support she never received growing up in a loveless home. Good show with a 2 hankie finale.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Dull moments, but overall an inspiring movie

8/10
Author: Mariam from Cambridge, UK
14 April 2003

For a great deal of the film my eyes did wander around as it is not the most riveting of film experiences; however, the ending was worthy of a standing ovation and tears.

Throughout the story, I found myself wondering whether I should sympathise with Mona, a woman with such a desire to win that she selfishly sabotages fellow contestants and locks her own daughter out of her life. On the other hand, I was able to relate to the story of a woman who strove to be the best only to falter and be dragged down by peers. In a sense, Mona is to be applauded for her determination to shine through a life of failure and loneliness - a true testament to the feats that can be achieved though hard work. Naturally, giving up her child to selfishly pursue a vain dream is almost despicable but it makes the triumphant ending ever so much more inspiring, that this confused human being triumphs not only over adversity to be crowned Miss American Miss, but more importantly, that she conquers her own self-centred frailties to realise the joy to be found in loving the beautiful gift of life she already possesses.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

We like Mona; we really do!

7/10
Author: Jan Lisa Huttner from Brooklyn, NY
16 September 2001

OK so this film isn't destined for any Academy Awards, but it's a warm, winning flick that deserves to be recognized for it's very real strengths. Minnie Driver is usually wonderful, & she's wonderful here as Mona. Even as a kid (played by Colleen Rennison), Mona is feisty & determined, but you always see the ache beneath the bluster. We like Mona; you will too!

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

I would not recommend this movie...not even to rent

2/10
Author: ginny3 from California
30 September 2000

I was very disappointed in this movie...it did have small scenes that were okay...the last 1/3 of the movie improved. The best scene was when Minnie Driver sang in the pageant and of course when she finally bonded with her daughter..couldn't believe it took her seven years. Considering the way she was raised by her mother..you think she would have known better than to treat her daughter the way she was treated. Oh well..it's not a perfect world!! Take lots of tissue for the ending..the napkins were a little hard on my face.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Power-FULL (DVD)

10/10
Author: leplatypus from PariS
20 August 2009

As its title, the movie is beautiful but based upon a lot of pain and sufferings. This sadness is all the more harrowing than the entire cast is feminine, which is an amazing feat in nowadays Hollywood.

As a female french writer, Simone de Beauvoir, said that "women don't birth but become so". We see that there: all the women are suffering from child to teen, adult and even third age! Their pain is closely linked with their beauty and their parents. In a way, this movie asks the following question: what is it to be a woman in America?

For the answer, you can count on a truly excellent cast: the kids are very touching and they can be proud to have such a milestone at their age. Minnie Driver really carries the story on her shoulders. For me, she was a future leading actress but she seems to have disappeared since. It's a pity.

I don't really understand how such a movie can be award-less ? So, if you find it, take the course!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

We like Mona; we really do!

7/10
Author: Jan Lisa Huttner from Brooklyn, NY
16 September 2001

OK so this film isn't destined for any Academy Awards, but it's a warm, winning flick that deserves to be recognized for it's very real strengths. Minnie Driver is usually wonderful, & she's wonderful here as Mona. Even as a kid (played by Colleen Rennison), Mona is feisty & determined, but you always see the ache beneath the bluster. We like Mona; you will too!

>

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Predictable, but overall a good heart-warming movie

Author: DphiE_Babe (labecker@mtu.edu) from Michigan
1 July 2002

Mona Hibbard has a rough childhood, as is shown from the very beginning, yet this never stops her from living out her dream of becoming Miss American Miss. Mona is an entrepreneur early on when she starts up her own neighborhood delivery business where she works for small amounts of money just to pay for all of the things she purchases in order to someday fulfill her dream, such as braces and pageant classes. Although Mona does some malicious things throughout the movie, such as letting her friend raise her daughter so that she can still compete and taking a pregnant woman to the hospital in a shopping cart just to get picture in the paper, I think the point that (Sally) Fields' is trying to get across is that she had the desire to achieve her dream, and she never let anything stand in her way on the road there. It wasn't easy for Mona, but she made her dreams become a reality, as it is implied that many of the other Miss American Miss contestants had it handed to them. I just love the ending, one of those movies that made me cry. I also loved the song at the end by Dee Carstensen, wonderful song. Overall, I enjoyed this movie very much and have watched it time and time again with my sister.

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