Beautiful Creatures

17 Jul

beautiful creatures



Director: Richard LaGravenese

Writers: Richard LaGravenese (screenplay), Kami Garcia (based on the novel)

Stars: Alden Ehrenreich, Alice Englert, Viola Davis

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 124 minutes


Plenty of vampires and werewolves have crowded cinemas and TV over the last few years so maybe it’s time for witches to get back involved. Actually they prefer the term ‘casters’ in this film of a popular piece of teen fiction (written by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl in 2009 as book one of a series called the Caster Chronicles). The books are described as a mix of Twilight and The Hunger Games, but although the three franchises might share a similar audience, the tones are different and only The Hunger Games really offers enough for adults.

As with so many gothic fantasy romances this story is set in the deep south of the US – this time in a South Carolina town called Gatlin. The lead is a frustrated and bored teenager called Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich) with a deceased mother and a desperate desire to head out of town for college. At school he meets new girl Lena (Alice Englert) and is immediately bewitched. Regardless of her mysterious and possibly sinister background, Ethan follows her home and soon they are romantically involved in that Dawson’s Creek kind of way.

Lena reveals that she is a caster and that on her 16th birthday she will be claimed for either the light or dark side of magic. That gives the couple a few months to date like normal school kids whilst the forces of good and evil witchcraft are lining up behind Lena. On the good side is her uncle Macon (Oscar winner Jeremy Irons) and on the bad side is her estranged mother Sarafine (Oscar winner Emma Thompson). For advice Lena turns to local librarian Amma (Oscar nominated Viola Davis). It is a high class set of actors who surround Lena and Ethan and it is fun at times to see them work with this corny material. Irons and Davis do well enough, but Thompson suffers.

The climax ties together the clash of good and evil with Lena’s not so sweet sixteen and a local civil war re-enactment. Will Lena fall for the fakery of Thompson’s Sarafine or follow the decent approach of Irons’ Macon? Will the re-enactment of the Battle of Gatlin survive the impending thunderstorm? There are opportunities to ramp up the thrill level as Lena’s destiny is secured, but strangely the movie ends with a whimper and not a bang. That is symptomatic of some very ordinary direction by Richard LaGravenese – a good writer, but a poor director. The source material deserves better. Only an audience of 12 – 16 year old girls will sit through this with a smile.

4 Responses to “Beautiful Creatures”


  1. Book Review of the Week: BEAUTIFUL CREATURES by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl | Fogacious Serendipity - July 23, 2013

    […] Beautiful Creatures ( […]

  2. Random Post: The Worst Film Adaptation of a Book | entirelybooks - August 22, 2013

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  3. Jacquel Rassenworth on the movie “Beautiful Creatures” | The Jacquel Rassenworth Blog - August 29, 2013

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  4. “Beautiful Creatures” by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl | Zezee with Books - June 16, 2014

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