A pair of teenage boys growing up in a working-class neighborhood become aware of their homosexuality. While both were vaguely aware they might be gay, neither had ever acted on their impulses. Once they decide that the... more »y're attracted to each other, neither is sure just what to do. Winner of 4 International Film Festival Awards.« less
"There are many 'coming out' and gay-themed movies these days, but none is more heart-breaking -- or heart-warming -- than this one. Glen Berry and Scott Neal are perfect as Jamie and Ste, two troubled working-class London boys coming to terms with their sexuality, each other, and the homophobic world around them. Ste lives with an abusive father and older brother who have made him feel ugly. Jamie and his mum take him in, and the boys bunk together. They discover love to the accompaniment of "You are sixteen, going on seventeen, unprepared for a world of men". The music (a lot of Mama Cass, but also some lovely, bittersweet original stuff for string quartet) is deftly woven into the fabric of the film's story, and is an integral part of its structure. After a fight, Jamie and Ste kiss to Mama Cass singing "You gotta make your own kind of music". The ending is as uplifting and sweet as any on film. The surprising thing is that this wonderful movie was made for British television. I wish more films could be as fresh, touching, and honest as this bright, shining little gem."
Sweet & poignant coming of age (and out) story
Jon Rydin | Chicago, IL United States | 09/24/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"An emotionally tender & wonderful coming of age film, "Beautiful Thing" is an essential addition to your "alternative" movie section.The story centers around Jamie (Berry) and Ste (Neal), 2 teenage classmates and neighbors in a working-class development in London. Jamie is a reserved teen sharing a normal relationship with his single, pub manager Mom (Henry). Ste lives an emotionally and physically abused life at the hands of his single father and older brother. What transpires between them is a very tender and emotional tale of first love and budding homosexuality. Awakening sexual desire, guilt, fear and, eventually, love is played out in an honest & sincere fashion.The entire cast is superb. As Jamie & Ste, Glen Berry & Scott Neal give their characters a sweet and emotionally accurate innocence... especially when joyously galavanting through a forest together and sharing a long kiss. Linda Henry is exquisite as Jamie's Mom, Sandra. She delivers a fantastic and multi-layered performance as a woman trying to deal with her own life, in addition to her son. As the Mamas & the Papas loving neighbor Leah, Tameka Empson graciously adds some needed turbulence (comically and otherwise).The script is heartfelt, comical (some moments between Sandra & Leah are a bitingly hilarious), and fresh. Definitely a wonderful comedy-drama and, perhaps, the best coming out film of the decade."
You Just Gotta See It!
Jon Rydin | 03/12/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"BT is one terrific movie -- and one of those surprises you could have almost missed, but are eternally grateful that you didn't! It's an honest, fun, sensitive and uplifting story about growing up, about loving, and about raw courage -- without any of the political agenda or overwrought angst found in other films like it. Linda Henry and Glen Berry give first-rate performances as Sandra and Jamie, a British working-class mother and teen-age son struggling with the usual stuff that such relationships are made of, while Jamie is simultaneously discovering the depth of his sexuality and the love that he feels for his neighbor and mate, Ste (Scott Neal). Far from being another cliche-filled coming-out story (though coming out is a major theme), Beautiful Thing is most authentically a love story -- and a damned good and happy one, too (though weeping is certainly allowed, encouraged, and unavoidable in certain key scenes). And it's not just about the love that Jamie and Ste share, but, in a way that is inseparable from the main story line, it's about the love that Jamie and his mum feel so strongly for each other. The movie is full of hope and joy, and and will leave you full of those same feelings. Indeed, it sticks to your gut and stays there deep down inside long after you have first seen it.The downside of this film is that its "R" rating (certainly not for sex -- it's gotta be for the rough language) deprives a whole group of young people from experiencing a film that could bring so much benefit to their lives. Every teenager, gay and straight, ought to see this movie. It cuts through all the stereotypes and shows just how beautiful the love between two pretty regular guys can be. And their story is so moving that one would have to be pretty cold and hard not to root for Jamie and Ste and the triumph of their love. Indeed, I sometimes imagine that making it a required part of the high school curriculum could go a long way in freeing young people from fear and prejudice, and helping them all to become more loving and accepting people. And what an inspiration and beacon of hope it could be for young gay people looking for a way to love and a reason to hope! You will be glad and grateful for seeing this movie. In fact, you will not be able to see it just once -- you will want to see it again and again. Which is why you will want to buy it -- that's what I did!"
In any form, a really NICE film...
R. Gawlitta | Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA | 11/27/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have read the other reviews, and, YES it is disappointing that this "Import" DVD is from Hong Kong (with Chinese subtitles) and YES it is disturbing that there are absolutely NO extras, even "chapter selection". The very British, very urban language is often hard to understand. That said, this is one of the nicest, sweet-natured films I've seen in years. Though the coming-out gay theme is the centerpiece of this film, there are so many other life-styles being portrayed that are all somehow a part of that central theme. It's very clear that the basic idea is "Live and let live"...a mother's love is unconditional; misunderstood people (Leah) are often loud and brash and cruel, looking for attention; love can be anywhere, waiting to happen, even in the working-class urban jungle. I would've liked English subtitles to understand some of the wonderful but stylized dialogue. I liked the 1.85:1 LBX, and, I must admit, subtitles have never bothered me...though a previous reviewer mentioned that they are larger than life, which is correct. Mama Cass' music is SO appropriate, especially the scene of Jamie and Ste running thru the park to Cass' "Make Your Own Kind of Music". There is a beautiful story, sexual tension (somewhat non-explicit), humor and a bit of social justice in the end. It also, without trying, gives homophobia a black eye. A truly fine film."
I Believed All OF It
Elton T. Elliott | 04/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Movies, plays, and books are all subjective endeavors. The idea is to suspend your disbelief while reading or watching the piece. In the case of BEAUTIFUL THING, that is not hard to do.
From the opening frame you want Jamey to thrive. He hates PE because the macho guys pick on him as they start a game of soccer (the English call it football). He jumps the fence and heads home skipping PE for the umpteenth time. Who can blame him and when a school chum's, Ste's, homelife with his brother and father takes an abusive turn, Jamey's mother rescues him on those nights and the two teens form a bond that goes well beyond friendship.
As the two guys struggle to deal with their love and erotic feelings for each other, the music of Mama Cass Elliott plays in the background. The story and the music is an enchanting combination that intensifies your urge to see them make it as a couple. You know they are young but not too young. You wish that had happened to you when you were their age.
Earlier reviews have already mentioned the terrific supporting cast as well as the two leads in this story, so I won't go into that here. Instead, I want you to see the DVD so you can experience the feeling I felt at the end of the movie when Jamey and Ste begin a slow dance in the street in full view of their neighbors. Unlike a few of my friends who dismissed this scene as unrealistic in a poor working class neighborhood, I chose to suspend my disbelief and each time I watch it, I mouth the word "yes"."