Beauty [skoonheid]

"Extraordinary"

Beauty [skoonheid] Review


Intensely personal filmmaking takes us deep into this darkly involving drama about a man who simply doesn't have the skills to deal with his inner desires.

And watching it is a challenging, moving experience that's hard to shake.

Francois (Lotz) is a middle-aged man with a rather tired marriage to Elena (Scott). After their older daughter's wedding, their younger daughter (Daneel) starts seeing Christian (Keegan), son of family friends (Maritz and Diepeveen).

But Francois also takes a new interest in the now-adult Christian. Which takes on new meaning when he joins a group of husbands in an isolated farmhouse for a secret gay orgy. Over the next few days, his interest in Christian turns into an obsession that he has no idea how to control.

From the gorgeous tone-setting opening shot, director Hermanus puts us into Francois' point of view in such an intimate way that we can see what he's thinking. Remarkably, we never see the directorial gears turning, we just feel everything Francois feels. So even when events begin to get a bit menacing, we understand that this is a man who lives in a homophobic society that has never allowed him to express his true feelings. So how can he possibly know what to do when they grow this strong?

This sensitive filmmaking allows the cast to deliver unusually thoughtful performances. Much of the action takes place in long shot, as Francois watches Christian from a distance and contrives to meet up with him for business and family reasons. This gnawing fixation is presented in a hauntingly matter-of-fact way through scenes that are beautifully played by Lotz and Keegan. Both actors pack telling information into the tiniest movements. And Scott also has some potent scenes as Elena, including one subtle revelation that comes as a conflicted relief to Francois.

But what we feel mostly is Francois' paralysing fear, self-doubt and the frustration that he wishes he was the person everyone thinks he is. So the film's squirmingly horrific climactic scene completely throws us off. It's impossible to see Francois as a villain when he's been subtly victimised his whole life. And yet the tragedy is that, even as his society is now opening up, he remains trapped in his unhappy life. This is wrenchingly beautiful, painful, haunting filmmaking.



Facts and Figures

Production compaines: TLA Releasing, Moonlighting Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Oliver Hermanus

Producer: Didier Costet

Starring: Charlie Keegan as Christian, as François, Michelle Scott as Elena van Heerden, Albert Maritz as Willem, Roeline Daneel as Anika van Heerden, Sue Diepeveen as Marika van Heerde, Marion Holm as Distant aunt, as Doctor, Leon Kruger as Henri, Elsie Potgieter as Young woman

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.