Beautiful [2000]

Director: Sally Field
Stars: Minnie Driver, Hallie Kate Eisenberg, Joey Lauren Adams, Kathleen Turner, Leslie Stefanson
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 112 minutes

This absolute winner, based on a stage play by Jonathan Harvey and adapted by him, is a kind of enchanted, urban slice-of-life tale about a gay teen, Jamie (Glen Berry), who is in love with the boy next door, Ste (Scott Neal). Hampering Jamie's progress on the romantic front is his fear that his mother (Linda Henry) will find out, as well as concern over complicating Ste's existing problems. Beautiful Thing is a relationship movie, to be sure, but that description doesn't really describe the buoyant tone of this British television production. Democratic in its inclusive regard for each character (whether camera-pretty or not), the film--well-directed by Hettie Macdonald--is full of surprises. Chief among them is the terrific personality of Jamie's mum, a strong and independent woman who truly worries over and adores her son. But this is a movie involved in a kind of happy dialogue with itself: the tunes of Mama Cass, for instance, play a part in both the story and overall ambience, while a strategic placement of the Rodgers and Hammerstein chestnut "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" during an act of love is fun and exciting. --Tom Keogh

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