Beastly

 

CBS Films

 

Rating: PG-13

 

Reason for the Rating: Language including crude comments, brief violence and some thematic material

 

Plot Summary: All physical beauty is removed from a handsome teenager until he finds true love.

 

PopFam Recommends: The script was slow, the characters shallow, and the acting lukewarm. Unless you have a tweenage daughter who really wants to see it, skip this movie and buy the soundtrack instead. The music was actually pretty decent.

 

Beastly is just what it's name indicates. A beast of a movie that is almost unbearable to watch.

 

Kyle (Alex Pettyfer) is one of the "lucky" ones in high school. In life, really. Not because he recovered from a life-threatening illness or is able to serve those less fortunate than himself. No, he's lucky, because he's beautiful, and beauty means you are worthy of all good things. Actually, it means you are worthy of anything you want, despite any lack of qualification. He gets his attitude honestly, as he's only regurgitating what he's learned from his father.

 

And then he has to go and offend Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen), who is a goth student everyone calls "the witch." Who, interestingly, is also beautiful. I mean, she's still Mary-Kate, even if she does dress in a trench coat and wear white make-up. Nonetheless, Kendra places a curse on Kyle which reveals the ugliness of his heart, changing him into a beast. He has one year to find true love, or he'll stay ugly forever.

 

The problem is, again, he's just not ugly. Alex Pettyfer is not a great actor, but he is quite good looking. Short of putting a mask on the boy, there's not much that can be done to make him ugly. Shaving his head, adding tattoo's and a few scars just doesn't do it. He simply looks like a skinhead with tats and some nasty scars. Where are the beastly teeth? The mangy hair? The long, claw-like fingernails? If we're going to make this boy "beastly," then lets do it up right.

 

While at home, sequestered away, Kyle remembers one girl at school who was of interest to him. Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens). The beauty of the story. She's not only beautiful outside, but inside as well. Quiet and humble, and not one of the wealthier kids in school, Lindy made an impression on Kyle. In his ugly condition, he begins to follow her and watch her at night. Because of his stalking, Kyle is able to save Lindy from a life-threatening situation and bring her to his home to live.

 

In some ways Beastly follows Disney's Beauty and the Beast, and it's here that we see similarities. Kyle begins trying to win her affections and attempting to change his behavior so she will see the beauty of his heart instead of the scarring on his face. They begin to knit a friendship based on the heart instead of looks. That is, until her father ends up in the hospital, and Lindy has to leave. The end of the year is coming up, and Kyle is sure Lindy won't return. How could she love someone who's not beautiful?

 

Like the animated version of Beauty and the Beast, Beastly could have been a decent movie, but it would mean re-writing the script, re-casting better actors, and adding additional makeup to the beast. This movie would have made more sense if the characters were young professionals, instead of high-schoolers, and the beast was truly a beast. CBS Films missed the mark on this one.

 

Let’s Talk About It

Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:

 

• How would you have changed the script to make this a better movie?

 

• In your experience, is Kyle's belief that beauty is everything true in our culture? Explain your answer.

 

• What does the Bible have to say about inner and outer beauty?

 

--JW

 

Note: All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.

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