Film Review: This Beautiful Fantastic

Simon Aboud’s sophomore picture This Beautiful Fantastic is amiable but forgettable. The film paints a twee picture, which provides decent escapism.

Bella Brown is a library assistant who dreams of being a children’s author. In her real life, she must contend with a cantankerous old neighbour and his dispute with her garden, whilst falling for a library patron…

Writer and director Simon Aboud produces a film which is heavy on the whimsy with This Beautiful Fantastic. Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amélie seems to have been an inspiration for the filmmaker, although this movie lacks the charisma of the 2001 film. That is not to say This Beautiful Fantastic is beyond redemption, but merely that it lacks impact.

Aboud’s film is easy watching. It is the sort of movie to watch on a rainy day; one that does not require any real investment. As such, it does the trick. Bella is an interesting enough protagonist. She is boundlessly twee, but warm enough to gain the audience’s sympathy. Alfie makes a good initial antagonist.

There are a number of strands at play in This Beautiful Fantastic, nearly all of which relate to Bella. There is the overarching theme of her desired career, which is paired with her mundane job and three main relationship strands. Some of these are more interesting than others. The burgeoning friendship between Bella and Alfie has some nice scenes. Nevertheless, the scenes with the protagonist and Billy are not as entertaining, probably because the latter is not fleshed out sufficiently. The scenes between Vernon and Alfie feature the film’s best dialogue.

Jessica Brown Findlay delivers a good performance as Bella, but it is Tom Wilkinson who really shines as Alfie. Andrew Scott and Jeremy Irvine are also decent in supporting roles. Aboud paints an old-fashioned portrait of North London with this film; it is pretty, but feels far removed from reality.

This Beautiful Fantastic is the perfect film for viewer who want short, sweet and non-comital viewing.

This Beautiful Fantastic will be available to watch on Digital Download from 5th March 2018 and can be bought here.

Film Review: T.S. Spivet

T.S. Spivet

Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s adaptation of Reif Larson’s novel is a disarming film. T.S. Spivet is a wonderful adventure.

Young T.S. Spivet lives with his beetle-obsessed mother, cowboy father and teenage sister on a ranch in Montana. T.S. is invited to the Smithsonian on account of winning a prize for his invention. He deliberates making the trip without the knowledge of his family…

T.S. Spivet works marvellously well as an adventure; with moments of drama and humour that are finely executed. The film is successful thanks to its rich story, and storytelling. It is meaty enough for audiences to enjoy the adventure, while the quirkiness makes T.S. Spivet stand out.

The film effectively balances comedy with a genuinely emotional strand. T.S. Spivet can successfully flip from humour to drama whilst retaining a feeling of sincerity. The emotional strand gives the protagonist more depth. T.S. is more than simply a child genius; he has layers which make him more human, and thus more relatable.

T.S. Spivet has a level of quirkiness that those familiar with the work of director Jean-Pierre Jeunet will not be surprised at. The narration of T.S. works well in order to give the audience a really personal perspective of the events and relationships. Characters are wonderfully drawn, with even the smaller roles being memorable.

On paper, T.S. Spivet does not seem like a typical film that would be screened in 3D. Nonetheless, the film works well in this format, particularly with the more whimsical scenes. The cinematography and art direction work well to give the film a distinctive look.

Helena Bonham Carter is great as Dr Clair. Judy Davis clearly has a lot of fun with her outlandish character. It is Kyle Catlett who steals the show, however. The young actor delivers a superb performance as young T.S..

Direction, cinematography and a great screenplay combine to ensure that T.S. Spivet is an impressive and enjoyable film.