Beautiful (2000) Poster


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A nice light entertainment
Brian B-213 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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Her ego knew NO bounds
helpless_dancer11 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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Don't believe the reviews!
Ed Cohen1 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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Portrait of superficiality
george.schmidt28 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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Dull moments, but overall an inspiring movie
cimorene_fantasy14 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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We like Mona; we really do!
Jan Lisa Huttner16 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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I would not recommend this movie...not even to rent
ginny330 September 2000
I was very disappointed in this 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 think she would have known better than to treat her daughter the way she was treated. Oh'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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Power-FULL (DVD)
leplatypus20 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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We like Mona; we really do!
Jan Lisa Huttner16 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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Slow & Boring With A Horrible Message
acaka-15 August 2002
This movie was well acted, but that is the only good thing I have to say about it. It was slow and the ending was ridiculous; The message (this will give away the ending) is that it doesn't matter what choices you make the rules don't apply to you. I disagree, once you make a choice you do not get to choose the consequence. And I am sick of Hollywood trying to tell us otherwise.
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Predictable, but overall a good heart-warming movie
DphiE_Babe1 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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candles3931 July 2002
i think there is nothing wrong with the movie as far as entertainment is concerned , and it did it very well..we watch movies in order that we ease burden not to criticize:P it was a wonderful time watching beautiful
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I see that Sally Field Directs like she acts!
Bruce Carson (stuntman-5)23 November 2001
This was one of the best message films I have ever seen. It is not just a story. It is a lesson on life. Great Casting, great story and great directing. In my book those three things make for a great film. I have to believe that anyone that voted less than an eight on this film has to be on a parallel with the evil stepfather in the film (a person that just never will get it). The story has depth to the point of having hidden depth even beyond that. Sally Field has hit a home run in my book. Watch it, you will be glad you did.
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Not Bad!!
dan_in_denver28 August 2002
I caught this movie the other day and I was pleasantly surprised! I will watch just about anything Minnie Driver does because, in addition to being REALLY easy on the eyes, she is also a very talented performer.

In this film, Driver plays a Beauty Pageant conetstent that is driven (no pun intended) to win at all costs, even to the extent of lying about her own life and actively sabotaging the other contestants. It is difficult to talk about this film without giving away some of the surprises, so I will just have to say that this movie is entertaining even if it does end up ultimately being a "chick flick", and it might make you think about priorities in your life. 6/10
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Semi-entertaining until an ending that was painful to watch - 2/10
unamachita1 October 2000
OK, I read the reviews saying that this movie was not good, but I wanted to see for myself how much of an actress Hallie Eisenberg really is. I can now say that I think she is quite talented and probably has a bright future ahead of her. She had about half of the few genuinely funny lines in the movie (I'm seven--not stupid!"). As for the rest...the first 2/3 wasn't awful. Decent acting that carried the movie along adequately despite the awkward dialogue. But once the action got to the "big pageant" at the end, it just got completely cheesy, and not in a good way. We were laughing in disbelief at the sentimental schlock that the writer/director/producers/whoever seemed to think was heartwarming, and at the plot points that just made no sense whatsoever. My husband, who is by and large very uncritical of movies and can find the good in anything, commented as the credits rolled, "I don't think I've ever seen a movie that crashed that hard at the end." It's an interesting idea for a story, but I agree with Roger Ebert that the script needed a re-write or two before being filmed.
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A schmaltzy comedy for women
FlickJunkie-228 February 2001
This is Sally Field's directorial debut in a feature film and I give her mixed reviews. Most of the criticism I have with this film is the way it is directed. It has a schizophrenic presentation. On one hand, it is a satire about beauty pageants and the women who compete in them. On the other, it is a serious story about a young woman trying to overcome her mother's rejection and validate her self worth by winning beauty contests. Added to the dramatic element is a personal growth epiphany, as the shallow beauty queen comes to terms with life's priorities, embracing her daughter as being more important than her dream.

Either of these elements could have worked alone, but together they are incongruous. The satire trivializes the human-interest story, and the human-interest story weighs down the comedy. Field's direction, as has been recently true of her acting roles, is best suited for the human-interest angle. In this film, that is the strongest element. Despite my being cynical about how predictable and schmaltzy this story was, I still couldn't help being choked up at the end, sappy as it was. This is to Field's credit as a dramatic director. However, her attempt to fuse the two discordant elements is misguided and it detracts from the overall entertainment value of the film.

The acting is generally good. Minnie Driver is a far better dramatic actor than she is a comedian and that is reflected in this film. In the satirical comedy scenes, her acting is very forced and artificial. In the serious dramatic scenes with Mona's mother and daughter, she is compelling and believable. Joey Lauren Adams gives a consistently excellent performance as Mona's best friend and Vanessa's surrogate mother. Adams is lovable, steady and kind, and she effuses sincerity. This film is a showcase for Hallie Kate Eisenberg, the Media's latest child phenom. A favorite in commercials and on the Jay Leno show, Eisenberg shows in this film that she can really act, delivering an astonishing performance as Mona's pouty but perceptive child (`I'm seven, I'm not stupid!').

This is a good film for women. The comedy is not that funny, but the mother-daughter angle will be good for a Kleenex or two. I rated it a 7/10, including a one-point bonus for the schmaltzy but effective ending. Guys bring a copy of Sports Illustrated and a flashlight.
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A great, pointed but light fun film which isn't afraid to judge!
Jawsphobia13 September 2000
I caught this film at the Toronto International Film Festival. Sally Field has made a strong directing debut. I didn't find any fault with her directing and she certainly has accumulated all of the skill you would hope from having so many years of experience on the other side of the camera. She manages to balance both goofy humor, a dash of reality, and even some dark elements of society which the movie rises above and slaps into place rather than wallowing in. Even characters who do unlikable things come across as interesting. This movie has layers that snotty critics may not give it credit for. It was a great audience pleaser, by the way, and it is able to blatantly say things and get a laugh without coating idealistic thoughts in too much irony. Five minutes in, I felt embarrassed that I had tried to scalp my advance ticket. I thought it would be too "nice" and thin, but there's not an ounce of fat on this picture. You would not want to change a thing.
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Re-Imagining Bette Davis...? And it sort of works
A_Different_Drummer24 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
There is so much going on here that I have to suggest the critics may have been a tad unfair. First, the talent. We have Sally Field behind the camera, and in front we have no less than Minnie Driver and Joey Lauren Adams. The script to be frank has some flaws, but it aims high. Re-imagining the iconic Bette Davis story of (spoiler!!) a mother who has to pretend NOT to be the woman who gave birth to her own daughter, and setting the whole thing against a secondary story about modern pageants and the superficiality therein, is .... well... ambitious. And it also helps that Minnie Driver sings her own song (she has an excellent voice!) in the big finale. Now, truth be told, the two stories do not blend together in perfect harmony and there is some dissonance ... until the aforesaid pageant scene, which is pretty much worth the ticket. It is a 6-hankie extravaganza. It also helps that Hallie Kate Eisenberg pretty much steals every scene not otherwise nailed down. Clever casting, by the end of the film the audience suddenly realizes, OMG, she does look like Driver after all. Under-rated, and not a bad way to spend an afternoon. Driver's rendition of WILL YOU STILL LOVE me is a Youtube favourite, and deservedly so.
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Elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist wrist!
captureit2220 February 2012
I watched this movie when I was a young girl, about 12. I've never honestly liked beauty pageants or anything that has to do with them, so why would I watch a movie about one? But the 3 main women that are centered around this movie had me completely curious. I loved it then and I love it now. It has a feel good ending and the acting is terrific. I also love that you can identify with at least one of the characters. My husband and I watched (what is considered a classic) movie last night but we couldn't identify with anyone so it was much less enjoyable. With friendship, humor, and a girl learning to grow up on her own, this movie had just enough of everything. Everyone has an opinion and in my own, this was a great one. :)
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Beautiful Movie
Malfoyschickie10 February 2011
I seem to be the only one that really loves this movie. I think it builds very great character development, as well as having a unique character personalities.

Minnie Driver does a beautiful job in this movie playing Mona, the beauty pagaent contestant, whose hiding the fact that she has a kid by her best friend,Joey Lauren Adams, taking over the title of her mom.

I think it's a powerful story, as well as a great message that moms should be able to compete in beauty pageants. It makes me mad to know that this movie got such horrible critic reviews and user reviews. It may not be as well-written of a story like Good Will Hunting, but it's a great movie to watch with your girlfriends.
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Not just another beauty contest movie
deppland28 September 2000
I was expecting another DROP DEAD GORGEOUS rip off, but Beautiful is a two hankie movie that takes you on a journey about mothers who distance themselves from their daughters.

Minnie Driver is absolutely hateable as the self-absorbed beauty queen wanna-be. You never quite feel sorry for her. But Hallie Kate Eisenberg twists at our heart strings, while still hawking Pepsi(look in the background of almost every scene- it's Pepsi!).

This is a funny look at the world of beauty pagents and heart tugging look at the relationships between mothers and daughters and best friends. A must see!
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Very well done!
gwve20 September 2000
I was very impressed with this movie, Sally Field did an excellent directing job and Minnie Driver and her supporting cast came off as real people as a result of the excellent directing and their superb performances. The movie is emotional but in a very subtle way, by the end you find yourself living the story through the characters and you are feeling what they feel.
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Touching and memorable...despite what the critics said
ML36815 January 2001
I will agree that this movie is not perfect. But it did not deserve to be slaughtered by the critics. There are some genuine, touching moments in this film as well as some big laughs. Minnie Driver plays Mona, a beauty contestant who will do anything to win, including denying the fact that she has a young daughter which would automatically exclude her from the contest. When a bitchy reporter, played to perfection by Leslie Stefanson, threatens to expose her, Mona is forced to make a few decisions about what is really important. Yes, the ending was a bit corny, but I gave into it anyway, and was cheering right along. The scene with Mona and the other beauty contestant finalist in the sound proof booth was just terrific. I hope more people watch this movie on video than saw it in a theater because there is definitely a lot to recommend in this film.
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Stupid and horribly predictable
info-61071 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I actually thought I would never find a movie, that could beat Ultraviolet. This is worse. Actually Beethoven is even worse than this, but this one also sucks incredibly much. You already know, how it's going to end and that stupid woman is going to be picked as Miss. America and announce that she is a mother. I wish I never saw this movie, cause it's like a piece of meat, that is stuck between my teeth. Don't rent this or see it. It's horrible as hell. The characters are not convincing. Especially the little spoiled girl, who talks like 30 year old. And that everybody starts voting for Miss. Illonois, shows what a pathetic screenplay this was. I hope this movie rots in the basement of every video stores.
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