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Overall Rating
4.64

Awesome84.38%
Worth A Look: 4.69%
Average: 3.13%
Pretty Bad: 6.25%
Total Crap: 1.56%

4 reviews, 40 user ratings


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Beautiful Girls
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by Greg Muskewitz

"A surprising odyssey of real life."
5 stars

Unfortunately, more often that not, films that want to give you the inside information or emotionally involved you end off being factitious and trite. Ted Demme's Beautiful Girls beat the odds because it doesn't feel the need to hide behind a mask, and through the diligent performances served up and Scott Rosenberg's ascerbic screenplay that lacks the usual mawkishness, this film is molded into a unique and identifiable picture. Beautiful Girls is an educational rather than preachy piece of social commentary.

The commentary focuses primarily on Willie (Timothy Hutton) who has returned to his hometown in Massachusetts from New York to attend his high school reunion. Willie assembles back up with his old buddies. "Mo" (Noah Emmerich) is the only married guy, and is enjoying the first time experiences of raising a family. Tommy (Matt Dillon) is in two relationships, one from high school (she, Lauren Holly, is married), and one with sweet girl Mira Sorvino. Then there's also Paul (Michael Rapaport) who is having trouble with his girlfriend, and Kevin (Max Perlich), who's without any disasters. They are all in commiseration for each other because they fail to see if the loves they possess are the real ones forever -including Willie who is unsure of his girl back in NYC.

For the most part everything has stayed the same, which includes Willie's melancholy father and his younger brother (David Arquette). The colorful and bright cast all highly compliment each other (Rosie O'Donnell is great as is Uma Thurman and Pruitt Taylor Vince). All's the same except for a new neighbor, 13-year-old Marty (the luminous Natalie Portman). She quickly takes notice of Willie as he does of her too. And eerily, though not as eerily as it sounds, Willie becomes attracted to her, as does she to him.

These guys are all trying to find themselves, and, as many know from first-hand experience, that's not always easy. "The guys" still have supermodels in mind and are too afraid to accept what they have, as if unsure that it's the real thing. They're stuck on "beautiful girls" -the old idealism. Portman's character serves as an angel on Willie's shoulder, in her words "an old soul," but as precocious and astute as they come. As Willie explains it's not a sexual attraction, but something on a higher level. They know there's nothing that can be done about it now, but as Willie says, "Christopher Robbin outgrew Pooh." Or in other words, over those five or 10 years they'd have to wait, inevitably she'd change. They'd both change. Idealistically, all of the characters would change.

The treatments and evolution that these characters receive deserve more than the brief mention it can get here. Rosenberg's screenplay is fair, and wonderfully realized, whereas Demme's direction features a strong empowerment.

Beautiful Girls makes you want to sit down at the end and just rejoice because it's a happy film, and it's very overtaking with hope and drive. Everything is so low-key it serves fully as a benefit and never lessons the message it's carrying through.

Hutton handles his role calmly and quietly. He neither attracts nor pushes attention away. Much is the same for Dillon and Emmerich who also do the Real Person role with personality. Only Rapaport is slightly out of his league, wobbly on his legs. But the real cynosure, the magnet, the catalyst and the conscience of this film is Natalie Portman. Frankly, I'm impressed! I really believe her talent is something to see and to feel. Portman deftly guided her way through The Professional and here she does the same. Her ability to project a real human element is a beautiful gift. Portman is spectacularly touching, and you feel it. You pine for it. Her genuine and her precise embodiment of this character is no fluke -she's the soul. Keep your eyes on her because she will soar!

Final Verdict: A.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=514&reviewer=172
originally posted: 09/20/00 08:38:53
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User Comments

2/27/15 harry potter the tittle is beautiful B*TCH 1 stars
4/17/10 PAUL SHORTT WELL OBSERVED WITH A GOOD CAST 3 stars
6/16/07 dls Ted Demme Rules! 5 stars
4/29/07 Double M Beautiful, realistic, honest drama/romance with some hilarious moments and fine acting. 5 stars
3/30/06 aaaa i want 5 stars
9/24/05 Ben A Natalie Portman did indeed soar above the rest of the fine cast. Such promise! 5 stars
9/09/04 janet I keep on watching this, over and over! 5 stars
3/21/04 eirik absolutely fantastic - my favourite film 5 stars
9/21/03 Chuck This movie surprised me with how good it was, especially the dialogue. 5 stars
7/07/03 Adani I can't stop putting the movie in and fast-forwarding to all of Natalie's parts. So amazing 5 stars
1/17/03 Don Adams Natalie Portman's early promise 5 stars
11/28/02 Kelli Nat Portman is awesome 5 stars
7/02/02 ha minh huy very happy 2 stars
8/24/01 eka saputra ohhhh natalie 5 stars
4/25/01 naserhemmati naserhemmati@yahoo.com 5 stars
2/19/01 shan good 2 stars
2/09/01 Bodhi Movie for sad blokes to empathise with.Spose I'm a sad bloke,then... 5 stars
2/01/01 yousaf hi there!!!!!! 5 stars
1/19/01 Marty Plum A GREAT movie. It made me look at my own life and my friends in a different way. 5 stars
1/03/01 Jarred This is one of those movies that you can sit back afterwards and say wow that was awesome! 5 stars
7/02/00 Politicsman Timothy Hutton is one of the most under-rated actors out there! 4 stars
4/12/00 Chartsy I can watch this movie a hundred times and find something new to like each time. 5 stars
2/14/00 hello Awesome movie, Natalie Portman is the cutest, most intelligent actress there is. 5 stars
10/25/99 The Bomb 69 Natalie Portman is wise beyond her years and looks great too 5 stars
10/20/99 Aleksi Reenpää Best movie I've seen. 5 stars
7/01/99 John N One of my favorite movies of all time. 5 stars
4/18/99 jimmy jam rapaport is GREAT!!!"You let her behind the curtain didn't ya" 5 stars
3/02/99 Rachel Rosie's monologue made the film... that and I'm a big Martha Plimpton fan. 4 stars
12/13/98 Binky Un. Fucking. Believable. 5 stars
11/27/98 G how could anyone not like this movie. The acting and dialogue are outstanding. For real. 5 stars
11/13/98 Shawna I thought that young girl was cool, but the rest of it sucked. 2 stars
10/23/98 Joseph O'Brien Natalie Portman's superb acting saved this film. 5 stars
10/19/98 Kwyjibo A crappy stpry, but a great script and some huge performances 5 stars
10/13/98 joseph portman outshines the rest---matt dillon i cant stand 2 stars
9/30/98 cheryl_ann natalie was good, but thats about all i can say. i didnt like it. 3 stars
9/16/98 Chuck-D I've loved this film so much, not just cause of natalie, but she's a big help. Really good 5 stars
9/09/98 MikeF OZ is so right. Natalie Portman is so good looking too. I'd see anything with her in it. 5 stars
8/25/98 Pete I love this flick. Good, if a bit underused, cast. Well written. Great soundtrack! 5 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball Made me want to break laws that don't exist in Arkansas. 4 stars
8/23/98 {{{OZ}}} Say what you will, but I loved this movie. Portman is phenomonal. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  09-Feb-1996 (R)
  DVD: 20-Apr-1999

UK
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