Urban fairytale

Wednesday, October 16, 1996

Beautiful Thing
Directed by Hettie MacDonald
Written by Jonathan Harvey
Featuring Glen Berry, Linda Henry, Scott Neal, Tameka Empson, Ben Daniels
Reviewed by Giovanna Castellani

This aptly titled film is not only beautiful but leaves you replenished and uplifted, ready and wanting to face another day in this often despairing world.

The film focuses on the relationships between and of five characters — Jamie, Ste, Leah, Sandra and Tony — and the love, laughter, trust and humanity they display while struggling and smiling through their personal and interconnected lives. The characters are complete, unique and very real, with the story lending itself to tears of joy and sadness as we follow and watch their discoveries and acceptance of life, themselves and each other.

The strength of Beautiful Thing lies in the simplicity of the telling. The writing style of Jonathan Harvey and direction of Hettie MacDonald treat the audience with respect and intelligence — the story is situated within a realm of social conditions which are common to all of us but offers no social commentary or solutions to these conditions, simply presenting the environment in which our characters live.

It is working-class, single parent reality, sprinkled with domestic violence, drug use and discrimination. And from here, the beautiful and painful unfolding of the different relationships is explored.

Beautiful Thing is an urban romantic fairytale set within the confines of our present social reality — very witty, enjoyable and a testimony to the importance of relationships in our conflict-ridden world.