“I can understand why young men signed up for the civil war. Anything’s better than a life standing still.” So says Ethan Wate (played by Alden Ehrenreich) in his beginning narration to the movie, Beautiful Creatures. He’s talking about his life in Gatlin, South Carolina. He says, “There are only two kinds of people in Gatlin: The ones too stupid to leave and the ones too stuck to move.” He’s starting out his junior year of high school and “insanity is inevitable.” That was until Lena showed up. Lena Duchannes (played by Alice Englert) was the first in her family to show up in twenty years. Her family is different and the townspeople don’t really like them.
Gatlin is a small town populated with fire-and-brimstone Bible-thumping Christians who ban books as if it’s the only thing to do. Ethan is a free-thinker; he doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the townsfolk. He’s always dreamed of leaving Gatlin where he can talk about Slaughter House Five and the other banned books he has come to love. When his mother first took him to the library to discover literature she said, “Ethan: This is my church. This is where my family goes to celebrate what’s holy: ideas.” And so he learned to think and question and when he learned that his new crush was a caster (not a witch), he asked questions to see what that meant.
Lena and Ethan’s story is like so many we have seen before, a bit of Romeo & Juliet with a Gnomeo and Juliet ending (SPOILER ALERT!). Lena is turning 16 at which point she will become either a light or a dark caster. Ethan knows she can fight the evil and remain innocent and caring. And that’s how the story goes.
With supporting actors like Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, and Emma Thompson, this story was bound to be a hit. And in my opinion, it was. It’s a sweet, complicated story with plenty of wit thrown into the dialogue. I haven’t read the books yet, but if the writing is nearly as good as the screenplay for this movie, I know I will love them.
If you’re up for a good bewitching tale of young love and supernatural beings, get it now. And cherish it, because honestly, I was giddy throughout the whole thing.
Tata for now.