Beauty and the Bastard (2005) Poster

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Old plot - New frame
urbis-127 December 2005
Branded as the "best Finnish movie ever made" sounds like a bit of an overstatement by the pro critics. The film consists of a standard plot, which in this case has been placed in a frame surrounding a rap band. Couple meets - there are other love interests/attraction - cultural and social background of the characters - there is a misunderstanding - then another - yet another - at the same time dream of one or the other or both is fulfilled - both main characters are extremely good at what they do - there are "advisors" to both of the main characters - and then there love and happy ending.... How many such films have we seen!

The film's plot differs not from the above, but it differs to its advantage in the excellent and believable characters in the film. Wieving the film in a theatre full of 15 to 19 year olds was an eye opener for and old fart like myself. You could almost hear how the film clicked with them. Character building was so strong with the actors that I had to ask myself whether they really were a rap band, remembering that Eminem made a movie of himself as well.

Plot, as standard as it was, was handled professionally and with a strong touch. There we some hilarious scenes and a lot of simple but good anecdotes that permeated throughout the film. Director had also included some symbolic, willingly or unwillingly, like when Sune is helped in his drunken stupor by Kondis and Isukki. Did you too recall the painting "Wounded Angel" by Hugo Simberg! Removing the typical "Schlager" type music the film does not suffer one bit. Using rivalry between R/B and Rap benefits the film on a level as well.

All in all the film worked well. It can't get the top marks as there is nothing unique in it, it brings nothing new to us. 7 out of 10
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Very refreshing newcomer in the Finnish movie industry.
onys9 November 2005
I found this actually one of the first decent movies in Finland, it is a story about a crude rap music producer and a girl from a good rich family. By different reasons they end up working together, both trying to achieve what they need, and pull trough with their friends and family. Movie has lot of situation comic, it is catchy and interesting to follow from the beginning to the end. Some nice romance in it too, but without spoiling it with too much mushiness. Actors manage to perform quite naturally and lot of the movie feels like it could easily be from everyday life - with touch of naiveness though. It had one very obscure scene, and some unnecessary effects stuffed in out of the blue, but overall I was quite impressed.
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Girl You Are a Star
random_avenger11 August 2010
Nelli (Pamela Tola), the daughter of a bourgeois family, dreams of an RnB singing career but is pressured by her family to apply for med school instead. One day she meets Sune (Samuli Vauramo), a reserved and idealistic hip hop DJ who refuses to sell his music out to a big record company even if it means he can't make a living by making music. Nelli asks Sune if he can help her to write some songs for her demo CD, and after an awkward beginning they start getting along and liking each other better. However, Nelli's rich family and her boyfriend Mikko (Jussi Nikkilä) aren't happy about her new career plans.

The movie was originally praised as one of the best Finnish films in a long time and received a bunch of nominations for the Jussi Awards, a.k.a. "the Finnish Oscars" – something that baffled me then and still does after a rewatch. The romantic plot is completely ordinary and clichéd, and the expected criticisms of the greedy music industry are hardly original either. Even though some of the songs on the soundtrack (composed by Jukka Immonen with lyrics by rappers like Elastinen and Asa, among others) are catchy, it's hard to hear how Sune's beats or Nelli's singing are 'underground' or particularly impressive in any way.

In spite of its obvious unoriginality, Tyttö sinä olet tähti (literally "Girl You Are a Star" – I wonder who came up with the English name "Beauty and the Bastard") is not a terrible movie by any means. The lead actors Tola and Vauramo are convincing in their roles and Sune's foulmouthed rapper friends Kondis and Isukki (Joonas Saartamo and Eero Milonoff) are hilarious throughout. I also enjoyed the many real-life rapper cameos, even if most of them are very difficult to spot without knowing where to look. In the end, the film is probably best suited for younger viewers who haven't yet become jaded by the conventions of the romance genre. Fans of Finnish hip hop should also find it entertaining enough.
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A Prime Example of Mediocre Movie-making
TheEmperorsBride7 February 2009
At the time of its release, 'Tyttö sinä olet tähti' was considered an event in the small world of Finnish cinema. Dome Karukoski, the then-unknown young director was praised both for the movie's refreshing and contemporary look, and for the well-constructed and coherent storytelling. Some critics went even as far as dubbing it "the best Finnish movie ever made!" - which I personally consider a major overstatement. The movie does have its merits, but overall it's simply a harmless, yet a very commercial and a hopelessly mediocre film with nothing new to it, except a) it's a Finnish movie portraying the urban youth of contemporary Finland - a refreshing oddity in a field of cinema dominated by movies about the everyday problems of disillusioned thirty-somethings - and b) the use of r'n'b/hip hop music - a genre of music rarely seen or heard in Finnish cinema - on the soundtrack and as an essential part of the story.

The movie tells the story of young Nelli (Pamela Tola) - a classic, beautiful "good girl" from a wealthy family - who dreams of becoming an r'n'b singer, although her family expects her to pursue a career in law instead. To realize her dream, Nelli teams up with Sune (Samuli Vauramo) - a member of a semi-underground hip-hip group, who initially refuses both Nelli, whose taste of music he deems too commercial, and a record deal with a major music label to stay true to his artistic vision and street cred. Eventually, though, a fruitful professional, as well as a budding romantic, relationship occurs between Nelli and Sune, who spend their summer together composing and recording tracks for Nelli's demo album. But alas, love between the two could-be lovers seems impossible, because Nelli already has a serious boyfriend, and her parents are thrilled by neither Sune, nor the idea of Nelli abandoning a steady future for a potential career in music.

So basically, this is light romantic teen drama/comedy by numbers. The plot is just about as basic as it gets from its overused scenario all the way down to its predictable plot twists (= good girl meets a bad boy, obstacles stand in the way of their unexpected love, blah blah blah, and the viewer starts contemplating suicide), and there isn't even a proper gimmick to the film to jazz the clichés up a little bit - apart from the fact that the story takes place in Finland instead of the USA. Many of the much-hyped aspects of this movie - such as the refreshingly natural dialogue, the portrayal of the r'n'b/hip hop scene of Finland, and the coherence of the plot - only pass as something noteworthy when judged by the standards of commercial Finnish cinema (as it was by the time of the movie's premiere). Compared to other recent domestic hits, 'Tyttö sinä olet tähti' was an original, high-quality film - which says much, much more about the quality of commercial Finnish cinema of the time than about the quality of the film itself. Taken out of the aforementioned context, it's just mediocre, clichéd and kind of boring as well.

Nevertheless, the movie is not completely without charm. Much of it owes to the modest charisma of the young stars Pamela Tola and Samuli Vauramo, who both bring delightful warmth to the simple characters they play, making their subtle on-screen romance likable enough to keep the viewer emotionally invested in it, despite its unoriginality. Also, even though the movie follows religiously the conventions of Hollywood cinema, the general feel of the film is genuine enough not to give you the impression that the movie is vaguely trying to imitate life as it's portrayed in commercial American movies - a common mistake a lot of commercial Finnish movies seem to make ('Saippuaprinssi', I'm looking at you!) - instead of vaguely trying to imitate life itself. But it's still just not enough - certainly not enough of an excuse for telling a story that has been told a thousand times before without bringing anything new and original to it.

'Tyttö sinä olet tähti' is a harmless little film which is bound to entertain the casual (and bored) viewer, but I still don't think that it deserves half of the credit it was showered with when it was released. It's not exactly a crime against mankind, but it's tremendously commercial, unimaginative, and predictable - which is ironic, because the "bad guys" of this movie are the greedy pigs of the commercial record label who try to force all the originality out of Sune and Nelli to make them appeal to the masses. Personally, I did not feel like the makers of this movie were honestly trying to tell me a story, because the plot was so clichéd. It just mildly distracted me for a moment - and that's just not the highest function a movie should have.
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I am so sorry...
olavilinna7 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Boy meets girl. Boy is bad, but not really, girl is sweet and naive, but not really. together they shall be happy, and sing songs about fluffy killer rabbits (and the social injustice in FINLAND!!!) with a hip-hop beat. 8-mile, without the trailer park so to speak (which is also evident in the cinematography, no "harshness" in the pictures to be found, but instead filmed like a Kellogs commercial). Go tyttö, go tyttö..., but seriously: a plot so two-dimensional that it truly hurts to watch the clichés of characters and situations stumble over themselves in this soulless slur. I found it hilarious but for all the wrong reasons. found myself laughing when the characters were sincerely trying to come over that harsh bridge between the two oh-so different worlds they lived in. as a study in how to write films (dramaturgically "correct") this film is a gem. It follows it rigorously and therefore kills all imagination and depth. Whilst the film in itself is quite painful to watch, the actors do an OK job and the music + sound in general are OK. avoid.
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Lousy work
Newairbus23 February 2007
The film depicts music industry as seen from the rap/r&b side through the co-operation of a "reluctant" bad-boy rapper and an "ambitious" uptown girl. Its clear precursor has been "8 Mile" by Curtis Hanson, but whereas that film had craziness, love, lust, violence etc., this one has maybe only weariness on the platter, judging from the views of Helsinki's East End railway backyards that we see.

The acting is juvenile. Since the main couple (very unlike Murphy/Eminem) are frozen in their roles, sidekicks who "assist" the main rapper score the few laughs and points for male bonding. They represent the kind of chauvinism that the protagonist should represent to be taken seriously as a rapper. He is no Flavor Flav, not even a chav. Since the Finnish way of life is the real backdrop, this love story could have been set to any other genre of pop; 80s synth, Eurodisco, heavy metal or folk, or in the public library, for that matter.

Some Finnish cultural personalities such as Anna-Leena Härkönen (author/actress/columnist) throw unimpressive minor side roles to the main story, but their impact could have been much bigger (sexy seduction etc.), unless they were in it just for the money.

The title of the film ('Girl, You're a *Star') comes from the eponymous 1997 recording by Finnish rock's former infant terrible, Kauko Röyhkä, which was a minor hit on the radio at the time.
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A story about music, but also about love and growing up
janey-1616 December 2005
Nelli is a girl from a very rich family. She used to get everything she wants.

Nelli's parents want her to study and go to medical school but she decides different: she wants to make a record of r'n'b music. Nelli meets Sune, a DJ from a rap band Kärkiryhmä. These to come from very different worlds and live very different lives.

Together Nelli and Sune start making a demo for Nelli to send to record companies. In their way they meet difficulties in relationships and in love.

This was a really sweet movie about Nelli who tries to find her way through life, but it is difficult with people telling you what you want and what you should do.
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A love film about dreams of becoming a singer
jennilaine236 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The film is about a girl who wants to become a singer and finds a boy who makes rap-music to help him. Off course they fall in love and all kinds of things happen.

i would describe the film to be a comedy, but with a lot of drama in it.

I feel that the film had such a realistic and light touch to life that I felt like this could be real.

The movie's character are the typical finnish 20-year old people. They have problems, but they take it easy.

The plot was pretty basic lovefilm plot, but the best thing about the film was it how it was made.

It was directed and acted superbly. I didn't feel that any of the characters would be acted badly.

The music of the film was perfect.

It made me laugh and cry and it bacame my favourite film of the new millennium.
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Nothing special
wildge23 September 2006
This movie is, in my opinion, just a movie below the average with a quite standard teenage plot. I see that the movie can be rated very high in Finland. However, it is actually a standard Finnish crap with a bad cinematography and editing. Sorry to write it, I like Finland very much.

The only thing which should be mentioned in a positive way is interesting music.

In comparison with other relatively new Finnish movies, I would rated worse than Nousukausi. If somebody wants to see and interesting FInnish movie, he or she should buy a DVD with Levottomat which has much better story line than Tyttö sinä olet tähti.
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