Movie Review

Beautiful Creatures

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, scary images and some sexual material.

Reviewed by: Pamela Gardner
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Supernatural Fantasy Romance Drama Adaptation
Length:
2 hr. 12 min.
Year of Release:
2013
USA Release:
February 13, 2013 (wide—2,950 theaters)
DVD: May 21, 2013
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Beautiful Creatures is a New York Times bestselling young adult fantasy novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, the first book in their Caster Chronicles series. The other books are titled: Beautiful Darkness, Beautiful Chaos, and Beautiful Redemption.

Linda Perez of the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy states “Stohl writes clearly and lyrically,” “the world they’ve created… is so believable that readers will find themselves unwittingly believing in magic.” [“Beautiful Creatures,” Linda Perez, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy (October 2010: Arizona, USA) 54 (2):154.]


This film indicates that Light and Dark Casters are chosen; one her 16th birthday, she will “be claimed for either Light or Dark.” She does not have a choice. How is this different from what the Bible says about the fall of man to sin and mankind’s free will, given by the Creator?

How can I know what is right and wrong? Answer

Is Satan a real person that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer

supernatural Light versus Darkness

demons

curses in the Bible

Satan / the Devil

magic and magicians in the Bible

God

God

How can we know there’s a God? Answer

What if the cosmos is all that there is? Answer

If God made everything, who made God? Answer

What does God say? Answer

Is Jesus Christ God? Answer

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

Is Jesus Christ the answer to your questions?
Discover the good news that Jesus Christ offers

Are you good enough to get to Heaven? Answer


TRUE LOVE—What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

the Underworld

Is there an actual place called “Hell”? Answer

Why was Hell made? Answer

Is there anyone in Hell today? Answer

Will there literally be a burning fire in Hell? Answer

What should you be willing to do to stay out of Hell? Answer

How can a God of love send anybody to Hell? Answer

What if I don’t believe in Hell? Answer

THE GOOD NEWS—How to be saved from Hell. Answer

Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!
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Featuring: Emmy RossumRidley Duchannes
Jeremy IronsMacon Ravenwood
Emma ThompsonMrs. Lincoln
Viola DavisAmma
Alice Englert … Lena Duchannes
Thomas Mann … Link
Kyle Gallner … Larkin
Alden Ehrenreich … Ethan Wate
Zoey Deutch … Emily Asher
Margo Martindale … Aunt Del
more »
Director: Richard LaGravenese—
Producer: Alcon Entertainment
Warner Bros. Entertainment
more »
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

“Claim yourself”

After viewing a preview for “Beautiful Creatures,” my curiosity was peeked. On the surface, it looks like a boy meets mysterious girl who has secrets. With that as my preconceived notion, I walked in to the movie with another Christian friend. “Beautiful Creatures” opens with boy Ethan’s narration about him dreaming of a girl. He apparently has been dreaming of her for months. He wakes up to the first day of his junior year, and there is a new girl in town. Negative rumors have been swirling about this new girl, who’s the niece of the town recluse, who is rumored to be a devil worshiper. Upon entering Ethan’s life, Ethan is smitten, and utterly drawn to her. This attraction is to the dismay and contempt of some of his classmates and the new girl’s family.

The girl Lena’s car breaks down, and Ethan gives her a ride. After that encounter, Ethan return to Lena’s house to see her. He then meets Lena’s uncle Macon (Jeremy Irons). He then urges Lena to never again see Ethan. This warning falls on deaf hears, as they continue to see each other. Ethan soon learns why Macon doesn’t want them to be together. Lena has a dark secret; she is a “Caster” (a person who can use magic; a spellcaster) or witch, and on her 16th birthday her powers will be claimed for the light or the dark. Not to mention, a curse is looming over her that is destined to push her to the dark side.

This film took a risk in casting to unknowns (Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert) in the leading roles, and I don’t think it paid off. While the acting of the accomplished actors (Jeremy Irons, Emmy Rossum, Emma Thompson, Viola Davis) was ideal. They played their roles, but ultimately couldn’t carry the film. The plot is so incohesive, I didn’t know what was going on sometimes, to be honest; confusion was my backdrop, which I feel was intentional. I can’t say for sure that having better known actors would have helped, but it would not have hurt. There are some eye-catching visuals that really work, but they couldn’t save this picture.

Where to begin with the offensive material? I’ll start with the outright mockery of Christians and the Christian faith. Christians are portrayed as stupid, bigoted, book banning, uneducated hillbillies. God is denied, Satan is ignored. This film went out of its way to mock Christians, God’s Will and His role in the lives of human beings. A line from the film, “This town has 12 churches and 1 library,” stuck out. The witch casters are shown to be enlightened, smart, better than mere mortals. There are quite a number of swear words 10 a**, s***. Not surprising there are a instances of the Lord’s name being taken in vain. Teenagers are shown deep kissing, and the film alludes to (without showing) teen sexual activity. Also, there is a Dark Caster shown in a very sexually suggestive outfit.

This film is dark—very dark. I was uncomfortable with the witchcraft and anti-Christian themes. There is a running motif of light and darkness, and being claimed for either the light or dark. This theme is empty, since it denies the God of the Bible. Kyle B.M.A. said it best,

“Morals could only have been placed in mankind by a Being who understood, even to a greater degree than men, the difference between right and wrong. This knowledge should lead us to follow the directive Jesus gave in Matthew 5:48: ‘Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect’.”

In other words, we can only know evil because God is the ultimate standard for good. There is a line from Emma (Viola Davis) that states “God created everything, man decides which mistakes are.” This could not be more of a falsehood. Christians does not decide what is right or wrong, God laid that down for us in His Word.

The term sacrifice is also used, but, in the realm of this film and the scope to which it’s used, words like sacrifice, good, evil, light, dark are hollow. Only in the light of the Gospel do we truly understand what those words really mean. John 3:16 says,

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him does not perish but will have everlasting life.”

I strongly urge avoidance of this film. It attempts to play itself as a boy in love, boy meets girl story, but the love story is completely overshadowed by the anti-Christian, witchcraft practicing and eerie, dark storyline.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Heavy—“G*d-damn,” “God” (2), OMG (2), “hell” (3) / Sex/Nudity: Moderate to heavy

Teen Qs—Christian Answers for teenagersTeens—Have questions? Find answers in our popular TeenQs section. Get answers to your questions about life, dating and much more.

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I believe the reviewer of this film completely missed the point of the movie. The movie does not mock those with faith, in fact, it’s perhaps one of the most faith-driven films I’ve seen in a long time. On the contrary, it respects God and treats those who follow Love with the utmost respect. The people who are mocked within the film are those types of Christians who hold their own judgment and definition of right and wrong so close to their heart that they lean unto their own understanding. They’re unwilling to give grace to others. Sadly, that’s what a lot of Christians are like today. We believe that our opinions are God’s, and we’re unwilling to leave judgment and the concept of right and wrong in the Holy Spirit’s hands. Instead, we continually eat from the tree of Good and Evil, wanting to become God’s ourselves. This path leads towards judgment, and I believe that this film was attempting to deliver that truth. In terms of moviemaking quality, the film is good, all around. However, the acting could use some work, especially in the first half of the film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Aaron, age 24 (USA)
Positive—The people who have left negative comments have completely missed the point, and are rather like the image of the Christians portrayed in the film. They see evil everywhere, when in-fact it was a very clever parable for Christianity. (As is Harry Potter, which if you look more into it, you will see that JK Rowling is a Christian).

I have watched this film over and over again and have been very affected by it, namely when Emma says “God does not give us more than we can handle, even if we don’t believe it ourselves.” God is a loving God, and I believe, in this difficult period of my life, God has shown himself to me through this film. Not only this, but also the theme of sacrifice. Makin died for people he loved more than himself, in order to save those people, is that not what Jesus did for us? more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Jessica, age 19 (United Kingdom)
Positive—I feel that the negative comments about this movie are completely wrong. It is not an attack on Christians or Christianity itself. Instead it is an indictment of a Southern subculture of arrogance, bigotry and head-hiding that is incredibly un-Christian and hides behind a facade of “better-than-thous” holiness. I grew up in the deep South and have experienced this first hand. The townspeople treat Lena poorly from the moment they meet her, they judge and condemn and torture her in myriad ways that are unjustified.

Even if casters are evil (which is obviously challenged in the movie), it is not the place of the townspeople to punish or condemn Lena or her family. That is God’s rightful place. From the moment Lena sets foot in what passes for a school, the other students start casting stones at her. The Bible tells us to only cast stones if we have never sinned. It’s pretty obvious that is not true of the students. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—David, age 32 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—I saw this movie with my sister yesterday. I was initially offended by the portrayal of Christians, but then I began to see it as the way some of us do act. I do not believe it was meant to generalize all Christians. I did not care for the acting, specifically, the Southern accents done by the younger actors. Emma Thompson and Viola Davis were great as expected, but I expected more from their characters.

The writing left much to be desired in the action and suspense department. Some of the acting wasn’t appropriately dramatic enough. I am curious to read the book soon, since I do love to read. I like Emma Thompson’s “Sarafine”; her conversation in the church with Macon struck me as sobering when she stated that people “pray with no faith and get upset when their ‘spells’ don’t work”. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Jacquetta, age 35 (USA)
Negative
Negative—I saw “Beautiful Creatures” today with my husband and was very disappointed. I knew a little about the movie before hand, like the fact that is was a supernatural movie. I didn’t, however, like the fact that is so creepy and disturbing. This movie makes Harry Potter look better, in comparison. There are bodies that are possessed, lots of cussing, and the film makes Christians look very bad. I do not recommend this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Rebecca, age 21 (USA)
Negative—My friend and I went to this movie and walked out. There is more offensive material than I thought imaginable in the short time we sat through it. Christians are protrayed as small-minded and bigoted. They are essentially mocked. Witchcraft is elevated. I don’t like paranormal films, so ordinarily wouldn't have gone, but my friend does. Even she was offended by this move. As a side note, due to the nature of this movie, the previews were all of dark, paranormal movies coming out. Most of them were quite disturbing. I shutter to think this is being fed to our young people.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1
—Kathleen, age 61 (USA)
Negative—Beautiful Creatures is a mix of Twilight and Harry Potter. The basic story is that of a forbidden romance with a supernatural theme. From an entertainment perspective I thought the movie was average. I didn’t feel the leads had any real chemistry and the romance between the two felt rushed and progressed too quickly. And don’t get me started on the southern accents.

From a Christian perspective I found the movie offensive, Christians are portrayed as simple and naive. They are so stereotypical and over the top that one wonders if the authors have ever met any real Christians in all there lives. On the other hand the witches, or casters as there called in the movie, are portrayed as smart and enlightened. While Christianity is ridiculed and mocked, humanism is elevated. Ethan said of his mother that the library was her church. Because of it’s negative portrayal of Christianity and occultic themes I would not recommend this movie to another Christian.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Kevin A., age 38 (USA)
Negative—I am reading through the book Beautiful Creatures, and I find that the movie is a terrible adaptation with poor acting and huge plot defining chunks missing from the story. The original person reviewing this movie had it right when he said the movie was confusing—I don’t know how I could have gotten as far as I did into the movie before I finally turned it off (because of how poorly it was constructed, not because of the confusion) without having first gotten as far as I did with the book.

I have not read through the book completely and determined that having this intriguing story further spoiled (one major turning point for the book was revealed out of sequence in the movie and spoiled what would have been a suspenseful development).

The movie goes out of its way more than the book did to make spiteful comments against Christians and God—this coupled with the poor acting and even poorer story development in comparison to the author’s masterful way of presenting this story earned this movie an offensive rating for a lot more foul language than the book ever used and ½ for movie making quality.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: ½
—Matthew, age 29 (USA)
Comments from young people
Negative—What is formerly titled so mystically under “Beautiful Creatures” will be forever known as what seems to be yet another Twilight-like piece of romance. If the movie mocks Christians as stated by the reviewer above, and has a dark witchcraft theme, I won’t be viewing it anytime soon. Just like I won’t be watching “Twilight.”
My Ratings: Moral rating: / Moviemaking quality:
—Claire, age 15 (USA)
Neutral—Viola said “God created all things. It’s only men that go and decide which ones are mistakes.” I think this means that men try to take things in their own hands and decide which ones are mistakes. How can something God created be a mistake?
My Ratings: Moral rating: none / Moviemaking quality: none
—Kambrisha, age 17 (USA)
Positive—This movie deserves better credit then what the reviewer gave it. I am a Christian, and I am not offended by this movie at all. It is a very cute love story with magic involved. In some cases the way that the Christians are portrayed in the movie are the same ways some act now. I have met mothers who have banned or attempted to ban books such as To Kill A Mockingbird, just like in this movie. So even though I am a Christian I must say that the people in that town are Jesus freaks. So what if people have special magic powers, they still are the same people. Besides they do not even worship Satan, at all. I think that the church should just accept that witchcraft is out there and get over it, seriously.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Connor, age 15 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—I have no problems with a “Romeo and Juliet” type of love story, in and of itself. I have no problems with a movie where a repentant character leaves and/or defies an evil and unrepentant family (like Madilyn Murray O'Hair’s son rightfully did to her). But “Beautiful Creatures” looks like it glorifies witchcraft and evil. It is SO sad. They turned the two epic plot elements above into something God hates. Pray for our society and youth.
—Peter, age 22 (USA)

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