Beautiful (2009) Poster

(I) (2009)

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Engaging, atmospheric twisted tale
sioenroux17 October 2009
Just want to write a quick note to combat the other comments on here a bit. First, this movie isn't TRYING to be "American Beauty" or "Donnie Darko" -- and it certainly isn't trying to be David Lynch. To compare this to any David Lynch film shows you don't understand Lynch at all.

This is an atmospheric thriller. No, the plot isn't ridiculously tangled and doesn't have countless twists, like many Hollywood thrillers that seem to feel obligated to throw dozens of red herrings at the audience so that they feel sufficiently fishy when they leave the theater.

But neither is this movie trying to be an over-the-top freakfest like a Lynch film. I love David Lynch's style and the effect his films have on me, but this is quite different.

This movie was slow and calculated, with plenty of scenes to build atmosphere -- and thereby deepen the sense of character and environment. No, every scene does not advance the plot. Yes, you can tell most of what's going to happen in advance.

But for a strange story about a demented youth for whom everything goes terribly wrong, I thought this was wonderful. All the actors are top-notch, and the cinematography is delightful.

A more accurate frame of reference than the above-mentioned movies would be "Heavenly Creatures," Peter Jackson's tale of the disturbed fantasy life of two girls that explodes into violence. I felt shades of that story throughout "Beautiful." If you want a fast-moving, keep-you-guessing thriller, don't look here. You'll be disappointed. But if you want to see a nicely shot, atmospheric tale that slowly spins out of control, this is well worth your time.
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Interesting, but not highly memorable
Argemaluco26 September 2010
I was interested in watching Beautiful because I generally like Australian cinema very much.As well as other countries, Australia tends to take the most popular genres from Hollywood, but with a different and particular taste which makes them seem like something new.And one of the formulas it best interprets is the "suburban thriller", as we can see on the excellent films Lantana and Alexandra's Project.Beautiful counted with some elements to be an addition to that group: an unresolved mystery, idyllic characters full of sinister secrets, and solid performances; but the screenplay has various fails, and even though the final result is interesting, it did not leave me completely satisfied.

The dark side of the suburbs has been a fashionable topic since mid-20th century, and some filmmakers have used it with brilliant results.However, Beautiful repeats the most basic features from the sub-genus, and it ends up bringing a simultaneously confusing and a bit predictable story, where the "surprise ending" is truly unexpected...but not because it is particularly ingenious, but because it comes out of nowhere, at the same time it leads to the destiny I had been suspecting from some time before.

Nevertheless, I liked this film, specially because of the performances.Sebastian Gregory brings a credible and detailed performance; I hope to see him in more movies.Tahyna Tozzi shows a good scenic presence and a facility to say pretty much with economy of expression.And the underrated Peta Wilson also made a competent work as a housewife.

In conclusion, despite the fails from the screenplay, I found Beautiful to be interesting and entertaining, but not very memorable.Nevertheless, I think it deserves a recommendation, mainly because of the performances and the good atmosphere achieved by director Dean O'Flaherty.
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A pretty uneven movie
dschmeding10 August 2009
"Beautiful" is one of those movies that can be described with style over substance. From the DVD Cover (which represents the opening scene of the movie) on you know the director is into stylish and kind of odd shots. At first I really had big hopes for this but problem with this kind of mysterious movies is that as soon as the mystery clears up and doesn't lead anywhere you are left with nothing. Exactly thats what I was left with after watching "Beautiful". The odd shots which seem quirky and fresh at first soon begin to annoy you because they just don't mean anything. You can basically see the final "twist" coming a mile away considering we are following a boy who is rather the strange outcast and his mother regularly mentioning that he is not living "in the real world". From here you get a mysterious detective story revolving around some abducted girls and a strange house with a lady constantly watching through the curtains. There are too many comparisons with cult movies like Donnie Darko (and scenes like the night views into the suburban windows and the score sure are close to it) or American Beauty which had an influence on the opening scene and the odd suburban setting. Anyway just because a movie steals visual gimmicks and obvious sound design from movies like these I don't see many similarities because the story has no grip and the storytelling is uneven and getting very stretched in the middle of the movie. The constant use of strange shots inter-cut with the plot gets a little annoying and could have been used a little more subtle. Anyway... biggest let-down like in many movies is the finale leaving too many loose ends especially about the boy and his family. Where the opening scene with the off-screen narration works fine the same element seems pretty stupid in the end. I guess its easy to make a "mysterious" movie but when the plot clears even if things are left unexplained to make the viewer think for himself... thats where a movie shows its substance. "Beautiful" left me with nothing, not caring about the characters and the unexplained parts of the story. So to compare the movie with movies like the fore-mentioned which left the viewer with many thoughts in his head is far off. Visually interesting but story-wise a disaster that has far too many lengthy moments.
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Donnie Dumbo
ptb-84 March 2009
Where do I start? Well, basically, see this film for free because you will want a refund otherwise. Written and Directed by some copycat wannabee film maker called Dean OFlaherty we have a very poor and deliberately convoluted remake of the collision between DONNIE DARKO and BLUE VELVET, or of you prefer TWIN PEAKS and DISTURBIA.. This mashed potato with bloodstains is called BEAUTIFUL. The poster even copies LOLITA. The whole result is just crap. A waste of resources, actors and your time and their talent. It is like some self obsessed actor's studio thesping exercise that should never be filmed. Again we have some 30 something auteur who simply takes other film maker's ideas and images copies them onto film in his suburb, incredibly and unfortunately Australian film funding bodies put public money into it and we get another pointless ugly cruel stupid and wasteful film that will be forgotten by winter. BEAUTIFUL is an insult to film goers (tickets cost $16 in Australian multiplexes) and an irritating waste of talent and resources. it is not awful-fun like LIQUID BRIDGE or a guilty pleasure, it is simply infuriating plagiarism of more interesting themes that got onto a movie screen in the last 20 years. So ridiculous is the so called plot that a narrator has to explain it all in the misty wrap-up. Avoid. You will not be feeling too beautiful yourself otherwise. It even goes for a NATURAL BORN KILLERS newsreel with HOSTEL tool waving moment. Just terrible.
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think a bit harder before you judge - SPOILER ALERT
msmith-6315 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILER ALERT! The trouble with the earlier reviews of this film is that the film requires you to think a bit harder about what's going on than the previous reviewers. True enough, the film is almost cartoonish towards the end, utterly lacking in credibility. But you have to ask yourself whether that's a mistake, or part of the film-maker's overall plan. Well, let's see. The movie begins and ends with a narration by Suzy's mother, talking about the dark and sinister things that are going on in the neighbourhood, things that she understands all too well, even though others don't. Moreover, during the film it becomes clear that she projects what she imagines onto what she sees. Think of the scene where she comes into the room when Suzy is dancing and accuses her of revealing herself to the world. So here is my conjecture. The entire film is the mother's fantasy. I think that this explains well why the cartoonish scenes towards the end, which come quick and fast, are the way they are. You're meant to be thinking, 'Oh, come on! This is ridiculous!', but then, when you see that final scene, you're supposed to think 'Oh! Now I get it. The mother is a nutjob and we've been seeing the whole world through her eyes.'
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Uneven and All over the Place!!!
Saad Khan10 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
BEAUTIFUL – TRASH IT ( C+ ) The concept of the movie is intriguing and suspenseful but when it ended, everything fell flat on earth. The movie at least achieved in creating the suspense though the ending was really confusing. In the end bringing the whole Satan thing seems really immature. the whole connection between the Trio Killing Girls was really Childish. Sebastian Gregory was the only thing worth memorable in the movie. From Accidents Happens to Acolytes and now Beautiful. He has proved himself to be a respectable teen actor. I would love to see him in Hollywood. Tahyna Tozzi looked Hot in Red Swim Suit. Overall, the movie is Uneven and all over the place so simply Trash It!
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Australian Suburbs.
Robert J. Maxwell21 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Very nicely assembled by the director, Dean O'Flaherty. Misses being gripping because of the script by writer, Dean O'Flaherty.

In its sluggishness, it's slightly weird suburbanites, its focus on a taciturn young boy with his ever-ready camera, and its terrifying secrets -- all leading to violence that erupts in blood -- it reminds me a little of "American Beauty," but without the sometimes sly wit. It also is reminiscent of the superior "Lantana," another Australian film about a missing person but filled with the self confidence that the crew and cast have when they know they're making a thoughtful movie.

A girl disappears. She may have run away but Suzy, with her long blond tresses and unlimbered limbs, convinces the puppy-eyed fourteen-year-old Danny that she's been abducted by a serial murder who lives down the block in house number 46. Suzy uses her plentiful wiles to coax Danny into poking around number 46.

What Danny finds is a woman who is afraid to leave the house. Her husband would do "something dangerous" if she left or if she were seen talking to Danny on the doorstep.

The neighborhood is pustular with mysteries. Nobody is really happy. But nobody seems willing to talk about the source of that unhappiness.

The bloodshed comes just before the secrets are revealed. What I mean is -- it's all secrecy and innuendo until the last ten minutes, then, as in an Agatha Christie story, all is suddenly revealed. It's all over in a twinkling. And while some of what is revealed is improbable, some other stuff is outrageous, unless it's all being made up by the narrator who takes over to give us the conclusion. There are moments when I wonder if I'm unbalanced but I'm a paragon of stability compared to these ordinary looking folk.

O'Flaherty as director is fine. The tension builds slowly throughout. And he takes moments to show us some of the local Adelaide color -- mauve blossoms on a bush, a spider web, a centipede. Somehow he turns them all ominous.

But I wish he'd spared us that nonsensical climax. The pieces of the plot all fall together but the pieces are too fantastic to be believed. Next time, give the guy a good script.
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Pretty Good...Ending was a bit of a Let Down
iHEARTQuinz30 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I was quite drawn in by the title and brief description of the movie. I watched this at home on the TV one bored night - uh, morning.

With that said, I want it to be known that this movie was actually pretty captivating. The relationship between the "weird" main character(Danny) and the "alluring" girl next door(Suzy) was enough to find something odd about the way manipulation was used to find out more information about the mysterious disappearances.

The climax of the film however, was a little weird. I was hoping for some dramatic reunion between the woman in the house (Jennifer) and Danny. *Call me a sucker for a happy ending* I really found a likeness towards the stepmother, but for Danny's sake, I wished the whereabouts of his real mom would've been better explained...Not just that she's dead so the woman in the house can't be her :/

On one hand, I was exciting about the shrieking phone call where Danny dares to go into the villainous house with his dad's firearm to save the girl of his dreams, but at the end... well, I was left feeling sorry for the couple who just wanted to be left alone.

Ugh, and don't get me started on Suzy. That chick's forehead alone could crush walnuts. (I'm sorry. I just had to add a little rant about how she was seen as being attractive.)

I found the ending to be a little too calm. Most people found it confusing. I just assumed that Suzy's mom sitting in the window was the only adding to the film's creepy atmosphere. It made me think that perhaps Jennifer was trying to protect the neighborhood, the same way Suzy's mom said she would. In the film's defense, Jennifer did keep telling Danny that it wasn't safe coming to her house (which could have easily been seen as a hint towards her motherly past-life she doesn't want speak of)

The only question I had in my mind was: How did the mom die? Why was she ripped out of all of her pictures? And most importantly, how did Jennifer get her charm bracelet? (seems a bit more than a coincidence)
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Not so beautiful
Rarely there are films I don't like. Beautiful just happens to fit that quota. In a nutshell, to me, the film didn't make sense. Too many dead ends and some pieces that didn't fit. A beautiful blonde girl, whose the juvenile wet dream of the next door neighbour teen is asked something of her, while being kissed, prefore. She gets him to spy and take photographs of thesee girls who have supposedly been held hostage in a house, where the latest teen girl abduction could be. Trying to understand our blonde bombshell, especially at the end, which truly didn't make sense, would entail a lifetime of figuring. Other characters who's suffered come in and out of the film. Again, Aaron Pederson is great as a cop with a conscience, where some other actors are just wasted here. The only enticing bit is the flirtatious pro's in lingerie, working the upper end of Hindley St. The film makes as much sense as the t.v. show, Passions.
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Australian Suburban Gothic
claire-needham10 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Overall a good drama about a shy teenage boy who feels disconnected from the people around him. The slow pace of this film builds suspense and mystery, using themes of voyeurism and urban myths.

Some people seemed confused about the ending. I think the narration at the beginning and end of the film, is just the thoughts of a typical neighbourhood gossip. Like when you don't know what happens in "that" house down the road you add these little ideas together...but truth is often stranger than fiction.

Like most of the reviewers here, I felt that the ending was a bit of a letdown. Most of the film is slow and atmospheric (with great cinematography) which makes the ending seem rushed.
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An urban legend movie about an urban legend ......
zif ofoz2 April 2014
..... told in an urban legend style!

There's the key phrase ... urban legend ... which you hear more than once throughout this movie! This story is just an urban legend. That weird neighborhood with those big odd houses and equally odd residents. How could a policeman own that huge house that Danny lived in? And the neighborhood seemed totally uninvolved with their fellow neighbors. Suzy outside showing herself off and then again inside? There's a couple having sex and nobody closes the curtains on the ground floor of their houses? Then number 46, the house at the end of the road ... the mystery house with the woman forever standing at the window. None of these characters comes across as real. There's just enough reality to them to be believed - just like an urban legend.

Then there is Danny, the withdrawn fourteen year old obsessed with taking photos and with Suzy next door. For a loner young boy he has nerves of steel and no fear of taking the challenges Suzy gives him to earn her attention. Just boil this story down to the opening stories of the missing girls - Danny - Suzy - house 46 - the strange woman inside - the detective magazines - and Max; you have yourself a full blown urban legend.

This is an OK movie with just enough edge to it to keep your interest up and then the powerhouse ending to bring it all into focus! None of it ever really happened.

I think the movie is called 'Beautiful' because director Flaherty was hung up on Sebastian's face - all those closeups of that most innocent wide eyed actor with that halo of black hair!
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Unsolved Mysteries
LeonLouisRicci7 November 2012
A rather routine risqué thriller that is not quite thrilling and never really risqué. Although, not for lack of trying. We have a "girls gone missing" story with satanic, sadistic, serial killer overtones that are a found in this type of eerie wannabe, but nothing is really resolved (it makes you want to think).

But don't think too much because then it will all be for naught. There are dangling and unanswered major questions that we are to fill in and the ending is too clever for its own good, revealing that it is not that clever after all.

It is gripping enough but ultimately loses it and we are left with unsolved mysteries and dream like disconnects and the result is a good looking film with some artistic touches, but overall it remains something like an urban legend. There is something there, but just out of reality's reach.
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