Skip to main content

BEAUTIFUL THING

UK, 1996 (MIFF 1996, Contemporary World Cinema )

Director: Hettie Macdonald

Ken Loach meets Mike Leigh" is how Variety described the hilarious Cockney working-class comedy, Beautiful Thing. Hettie Macdonald's film centres around a story of gay love in an East London housing estate—from first nervous glances to ingenious use of peppermint foot lotion"

This ebullient and funny 'urban fairytale' discovers true romance and worldly wisdom where most films tell us not to expect much of anything good Jamie hates sports and is constantly bullied at school. His school-mate and neighbour Ste, on the other hand, is very good at ball games but is constantly bullied at home by his drunken Dad and drug-dealing brother. Leah is the world's most obsessive Mama Cass fan. Being popular does not interest her.

Keeping up their spirits with her patented combination of well-honed abuse and brisk tenderness is Jamie's daunting mother. Sandra, who manages a pub. It's Sandra who takes Ste under her wing when he's taken one beating too many from his brother. Jamie, who secretly thinks he might be gay, is asked to share his bed with his battered friend.

Jonathan Harvey's script from his own play blends comedy and poignance as the two boys establish the boundaries of their fondness for each other-and begin to discover what it might mean to be gay. There's no shortage of opinion available to them on the subject. The film's 'be yourself' spirit is as sharp and good-humoured as its repartee and it's straight-friendly too You'd have to be a hard-hearted homophobe not to leave Beautiful Thing with a smile on your face. • Bill Gosden. Wellington Film Festival

See also...

Wheel of Life

Vera Neubauer depicts the archetypal story of the fail'of man utilising the elements of sand, clay and water. Employing her own naive, primitive imagery, Wheel Of Life achieves a striking synthesis ... More »

BRASSED OFF

It's hard to believe that one of the year's most charming and entertaining films is set in the mining town of Grimley, Yorkshire, in 1992. But writer/director Mark Herman has fashioned one of the ... More »

The Rumour of True Things

Many moving images are produced for science, industry commerce and medicine that are only seen by a specialised audience and disappear soon after they have been made. The purpose of this film is to ... More »

Insight

The sense of sight is central to the experience of cinema and of the world for most people. This simple but profoundly moving documentary intimately suggests through the daring use of photographic ... More »

Sunset Strip

A purely abstract animation. As implied by the title, the animator was inspired by sunsets the film was created as a day-to-day animated diary of 365 sunsets - including those obscured by clouds - by ... More »

SMALL TIME

This gangling portrait of a group of thieving losers is imbued with an infectious, laddish humour and writer/director/actor/producer Shane Meadows' genius for character observation. Male and Jumbo ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director