Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
|Featuring:|| Alex Pettyfer—Kyle
Neil Patrick Harris—Will
Michael Flynn—executive producer
“Love is never ugly.”
“Beastly” is a modern retelling of the classic “Beauty and the Beast”. Kyle (Alex Pettyfer) is a narcissist teen at a rich private high school. He, along with his dad, believe that looks are everything, so with this mindset, he insults those who aren’t as blessed in looks. Even his campaign for club president is “Embrace the Suck”. During his speech, Kyle uses his misconceived superiority to attack those he views as ugly and advises them to embrace their lowly assigned place in life. During this ignorant rant, he catches the attention of the rumored witch Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen). After a verbal exchange of insults, Kyle seems repentant and invites Kendra to be his date to a dance.
When Kendra arrives, Kyle reveals his true motivation for inviting her. He does his best to publicly humiliate her. Unknown to him, Kendra had simply come to offer Kyle a second chance at changing. As the story goes, he’s then turned into a beast and has one year to find true love. After months of mourning his new life, Kyle remembers Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens). She’s a beautiful, yet slightly socially awkward student with whom Kyle had already begun to like before the curse. He soon begins to linger around her apartment, watching her, but never having the nerve to approach her. When seeing her dad murder someone, he seizes the opportunity to blackmail her father into having Lindy move into his apartment. With the remaining months of his year quickly dwindling, Kyle tries to make Lindy fall in love him.
The movie, also, has some good points. Pettyfer and Hudgens have believable chemistry, and the two leads’ romance is portrayed sweetly. However, the standout performances are those of Neil Patrick Harris and Mary-Kate Olsen. The film is beautifully shot, and, instead of literally becoming a furry beast, Kyle had tattoos and facial scars. Though some might hate it, I liked this modern twist.
On the negative side, however, the plot feels very rushed, without any compelling climax. The characters are, also, underwritten. With this in mind, “Beastly” doesn’t provide the audience much time or substance to get emotionally attached to the characters. Far from an actual beast, Kyle comes off more as a whiny teen, and Lindy is never deeply explained. In the book, the two characters had more of an intellectual correspondence. Instead of deep conversations, the film has Kyle mostly trying to buy his way into Lindy’s heart.
The profanity is around the 30 mark, including 7 as*, 3 b*tch, and 8 hell. The Lord’s name is misused at least 3 times. There are multiple uses of the words “skank”, “slut”, and “suck”. One character says “WTF” and another tells someone to “go blow a goat”.
Though the kisses between Lindy and Kyle are very mild, there is still some sexual content. In the beginning, Kyle is shown working out in just his boxer briefs. There’s then a montage of billboards where models are scantily clad, including one where a topless woman covers her breast with her hand and another where a man’s torso is shown with his pants unzipped. On Kyle’s Facebook-like page, he says that he likes “anything bangable” and mentions something about a “gut with a butt”. For the most part, Lindy is modestly dressed except one pajama outfit and a dress she wears in the end credits; both of these were very low cut.
Obviously, there’s some witchcraft, due to Kyle’s curse. However, Kendra’s magic is, also, shown positively, when she helps two people who are in need. In the film, the parents are portrayed as either absent or a weak addict. There’s some mild violence which includes a shooting (off screen) and a dead body.
After the curse made him scarred, Kyle’s own father became ashamed of him and moved Kyle to a distant apartment. During his seclusion, Kyle spent some time online, reading how his fellow classmates were happy he was gone. He was saddened with the realization that most disliked him; what’s even sadder is how his insults are a direct result of his dad’s teachings, so Kyle foolishly felt he was doing right by believing looks are everything (Proverbs 12:15). While humans do place a heavy judgment on one’s appearance, God looks at our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7). One of the most important things a Christian can do is to have complete control of our words.
James 1:26: “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”
Ephesians 4:29: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Proverbs 21:23: “Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.”
Though the movie has its sweet moments, I don’t personally recommend it, mostly due to its objectionable content and mediocrity. If you still decide to view it, I definitely advise not allowing young kids and preteens to see it. However, for older teens, it might help launch a good biblical discussion on God’s definition of beauty and how we should treat others, not only with actions, but with our words, as well.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.