Beautiful Creatures | Movie Review

Beautiful Creatures  PG-13
Released: 14 February 2013
Directed by: Richard LaGravenese
Screenplay by: Richard LaGravenese
Starring: Alice Englert, Viola Davis, Emma Thompson
Based on: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
When newcomer Lena Duchannes arrives in the small town of Gatlin, she quickly captures the attention of Ethan Wate, who only wants to escape what he views as a boring and dead-end town. He quickly gets more than he bargained for, as Lena possesses strange powers that have long kept her at a distance from others in her life. Lena and Ethan are drawn together, but their budding romance is threatened by the dangers posed by Lena's being a Caster and her family's Dark powers, for upon her sixteenth birthday Lena must undergo the Claiming, a process that will decide her fate forever: Light or Dark. (synopsis link)

I had the opportunity to attend a press screening of Beautiful Creatures last week, thanks to the amazing Marissa from Rae Gun Ramblings (you can see her preparations for, and experience at, the movie). I meant to re-read the book before I watched it, but I didn't end up getting to it before it was time. So here's my full disclosure that I read Beautiful Creatures exactly three years ago, and am fuzzy on the finer details of the book's story.

When the movie began, I had to laugh at Ethan Wate's (played by Alden Ehrenreich) horrible accent. He narrates a bit at the beginning, and his voice not only sounds squeaky, but the accent is noticeably fake. I'm not sure if it got better, or I just got used to it, but I did stop noticing it pretty soon after his narration ended.

I was skeptical at first, but I did enjoy the casting choices all around. I found myself in love with Emma Thompson's performance, as she played a woman possessed by the spirit of an evil caster, easily switching back and forth between the roles of the two characters as needed. I was also amazed at the fact that for once, teenagers are played by actors and actresses who actually pass for teenagers. And boy, did they have me sold on their love story.

The chemistry between Lena Duchannes (played by Alice Engert) and Ethan is strong...and sweet. While there are definitely some cheesy moments, I found it easy to root for them. Their cute, slightly awkward personalities led to interactions that had me smiling, and sometimes laughing. And while I say 'awkward,' it's worth noting that on the scale of awkward cheesiness, which goes from zero to Twilight, Beautiful Creatures falls nowhere near the awkwardly uncomfortable scenes in found in Twilight.

Hey, it had to be said.


This is the part where the movie loses some of its merit. It does manage to capture the characters' personalities from the book very well. It also captures the tone of the book, and gives off a sense of foreboding with just the right amount of humor.

BUT...they changed a lot. More than just little things that only fans would know of. Even without remembering the finer details, there are big plot points that I know they changed, leading me to believe there is no way the sequels can follow the same story line. There's an entire character left out of the movie--a character I have been told plays a pivotal role in the third book (which I have not read yet). And although I really liked the last few minutes of the movie, the ending leading up to that part takes the movie in a very different direction than the book. I'm actually anxious to read the book again so I can remember the exact differences, and see if there is anything else I missed.

In conclusion, I think it's a cute movie that satisfied me with the right amount of humor, darkness, and falling in love. I will definitely watch it again. I'll just keep it very separate from the book in my mind.

Temp. Guide
Watch this if:
...you're a sucker for love stories, and you don't mind if the movie walks a different road than the book.

Content Warning
*This section may contain some spoilers about content!*
Highlight between the brackets to reveal the text.
{Minor swearing, kissing, magic, a very short scene with implied voodoo, and murder.}

Beautiful Creatures on  
Goodreads  |  IMDB


  1. Thanks for the awesome review. If the accent bugged you it would probably drive me mad.

    1. Haha, yep it probably will. I was sitting next to someone from the South, and she just broke out into laughter as soon as he began talking. :D

  2. I haven't read the book yet but I don't think I will. I'll probably enjoy the movie better if I have nothing to compare it to. I do get frustrated when movies are so different from the books, though.

    1. You probably will. I honestly think I liked it so much BECAUSE there wasn't a lot that I remembered about the book. Also, my brother just watched it (he never has, and never will, read the book) and said it was surprisingly good.

  3. How great that you got to see the press screening! Exciting :D I haven't read the books yet, but I want to read it before I see it. I always hate it when they change huge parts of the book, especially when it's something so crucial..


    1. I'm usually okay with changes, but I'm totally with you on the crucial changes thing. You can't change big stuff like that and get away with it!! (Rant over)

  4. I saw a pre-screening too. I was in the VIP section even! But the lady who invited me said I couldn't post my review until the movie comes out.... BOO!!! Only a few more days and I will post mine!!

    1. Really? We weren't told anything like that (uhhh, that I remember--hope I didn't just forget or something). I wonder why. *stumped* Anyway, I'll be looking for your review! I'm interested to see how you liked it. :)

  5. I'm so glad you got to come with us. I so agree that they got the romance right but I'm still sitting here bummed and confused at all the major changes they made. Oh well. I honestly wonder if they are even going to try for sequels

    1. Hm, good point. It ended in a way that just be the end. I wouldn't mind a sequel though. I want to see how they pull it off with that change!

  6. I definitely want to see this movie but I think I should read the video first.

    1. I'm a fan of reading the book first. :) BUT it is one that you can enjoy without having read it.


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