Beauty

Beauty

Francois lives a skillfully controlled, well managed life, in Bloemfontein, South Africa. Father of two daughters and a devoted husband, he is wholly unprepared when a chance encounter unravels his clean and ordered existence.23-year-old Christian is the son of a long lost friend. By all accounts he is the personification of a handsome young man in the prime of his life. Francois is so disarmed by the young man that it instantly ignites within him an all consuming infatuation and misplaced lust. 3.6 out of 5 based on 10 reviews
Beauty

Omniscore:

Certificate
Genre Drama
Director Oliver Hermanus
Cast Roeline Daneel, Sue Diepeveen, Deon Lotz Charlie Keegan
Studio Peccadillo Pictures
Release Date April 2012
Running Time 98 mins
 

Francois lives a skillfully controlled, well managed life, in Bloemfontein, South Africa. Father of two daughters and a devoted husband, he is wholly unprepared when a chance encounter unravels his clean and ordered existence.23-year-old Christian is the son of a long lost friend. By all accounts he is the personification of a handsome young man in the prime of his life. Francois is so disarmed by the young man that it instantly ignites within him an all consuming infatuation and misplaced lust.

Reviews

The New Statesman

Ryan Gilbey

Films that attempt to immerse the viewer in a character’s warped psychology are ten a penny but Beauty is one of the most persuasive examples. It would be overrating the picture to put it in the company of Vertigo or Taxi Driver but it has more in common with the intoxicating, expressionistic style of those works than it does with superficial character studies such as the recent Shame or Michael. Everything in the film feeds into its central thesis of the malignancy of repression; there has been no more articulate cinematic study of the nature of homophobia.

18/04/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

Jonathan Romney

This mesmerising drama derives its power from Hermanus's extremely confident, controlled direction – he's brilliant at mundane encounters in oppressive everyday interiors – and from the menacing heft and borderline opacity of Lotz's formidable lead. Beauty is an unvarnished study of the turbulence of the middle-aged male psyche, but it also addresses the current Afrikaner condition.

22/04/2012

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The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw

I have some misgivings about the ending of this film, which is of a recognisable arthouse type, but its power and intensity, and the way Hermanus controls the movie's emotional weather, are impressive.

19/04/2012

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Time Out

Ben Walters

The film’s deeper challenge is the balance of perspective it strikes: it’s a grimly effective portrait of a man who has sealed himself off from his own interior life yet it insists that we see the story more or less exclusively through his eyes. At times this threatens to seize the story up but at others, Lotz offers an exquisitely excruciating portrait of a man who has placed himself in sexual and emotional checkmate.

18/04/2012

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The Times

Wendy Ide

This is not an easy film. It took me a second viewing to fully appreciate the complexity of Lotz’s performance, to pick up on the vulnerability that underpins the rage and overt racism. Hermanus’s direction is forceful; he gives us no choice but to identify with François, even though we have no choice but to condemn him.

20/04/2012

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The Sunday Times

Edward Porter

The explicitly violent climax is justified; it’s in the moments of deliberate vagueness elsewhere that Hermanus goes too far. Still, an impressive piece of work.

22/04/2012

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The Observer

Philip French

This is Death in Venice African-style, though lacking the reticence and resonance of Mann's novella.

22/04/2012

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Total Film

Paul Bradshaw

Loses much of its power in understatement.

09/04/2012

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Screen

Lee Marshall

The film derives much of its force from the way structure, rhythm and framing play the same tense waiting game that the protagonist himself is engaged in. A lot of weight is placed on the performance of Deon Lotz, and he rises to the challenge, investing Francois, the frustrated family man at the centre of the story, with a thermonuclear mass of repressed energy.

17/05/2011

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The Financial Times

Antonia Quirke

Aan atmospheric downer.

19/04/2012

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