Eternal Beauty: Film Review

Eternal Beauty

I will watch anything Sally Hawkins is in because I think she’s a remarkable actress, but she’s the only redeeming quality in Craig Roberts‘ movie Eternal Beauty.

Set somewhere in British suburbia, the film is a character study of Jane (Hawkins), a woman suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. We learn about her history, her relationships with her mother Vivian (Penelope Wilton), father Dennis (Robert Pugh), and sisters Alice (Alice Lowe) and Nicola (Billie Piper), and watch her as she falls in love with fellow psychiatric patient Mike (David Thewlis).

Making a comedy about mental illness is a pretty ballsy move but it would have possibly paid off had the movie been funnier or struck the right balance between comedy and drama. There were times that felt like they were being played for laughs and they didn’t strike me as funny – I just found them desperately sad. There were a few random sight gags that raised a smile but that was more a sign of me being amused by the oddness of it all.

The film is a real mixed bag of tones and ideas that don’t fuse well together to form a satisfying whole, the script isn’t strong enough and there’s not enough depth to the characters to help you gloss over that fact. Jane gets some history but the rest of the cast are very flimsy.

Hawkins is the only redeeming quality in this film as she gives a terrific performance (of course she does) and throws her all into her portrayal, but Lowe deserves a special mention for bringing some normalcy and humanity to the piece as the only truly caring character in it as well as Thewlis for bringing a ray of light and levity for a short while.

Eternal Beauty is bold and ambitious but it just didn’t work for me.

In selected cinemas now

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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