Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Movie with Abe: Eternal Beauty

Eternal Beauty
Directed by Craig Roberts
Released October 2, 2020 (VOD)

Those who don’t see the world the way that most people do aren’t necessarily capable of realizing that a difference even exists. Distinguishing between what is real and what is not can be difficult for someone prove to hallucinations since there is no reason to expect that what they imagine happening feels any less authentic than what they actually experience. That can lead to dangerous consequences, particularly if violent or problematic notions manifest themselves, but it can also allow for a wonderful perspective, one that paints the world and its limitations in an altogether fresher and more revitalizing way than for those who believe that they’re seeing it straight.

Jane (Sally Hawkins) is left at the altar as a young bride (Morfydd Clark), a traumatizing event that triggers her schizophrenia. After multiple attempts to rid her of her condition, she has achieved some degree of stability as an adult. She receives varying levels of support from her family members, manifesting most warmly in her sister Alice (Alice Lowe). Her father (Robert Pugh) is relatively useless, while her mother (Penelope Wilton) seems most concerned with whether Jane has achieved success. Her other sister Nicola (Billie Piper) is self-absorbed and most interested in her own well-being, but that also means that she doesn’t rush to judgment when Jane introduces her family to a new man in her life, the oddly charming Mike (David Thewlis).

This film is undeniably peculiar, portraying people who act in a manner that is at best unusual and at worst unrealistic. It is likely that many individuals suffering from mental health issues encounter the same sort of unbelievable and unsupportive responses from those closest to them, including that they are ailments that can be outright cured with the right effort rather than managed – if that – with medication. Jane doesn’t wallow in the treatment she receives from her family, but instead forges ahead, including with Mike, a musician who makes no money and whose pill regimen is similar to Jane’s. She is the definition of a free spirit, unwilling to shut parts of herself off to appease others who don’t always indicate that they truly have her best interests at heart.

Though this film is a strange specimen, one that feels uneasy throughout and never quite finds a comfortable tone, its performances are quite strong. Hawkins has played a range of characters in films from “Happy-Go-Lucky” to “The Shape of Water,” and she displays remarkable enthusiasm and quirkiness as Jane. Thewlis taps into previous experiences like his role on “Fargo” to make Mike suspicious but ultimately more endearing than anything, and Clark, Piper, and Wilton are particular standouts in the supporting cast. This film is uneven, painting an intriguing but alienating portrait of people who don’t even seem interested in getting along and the spunky, tormented protagonist at the center of it all.


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