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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 4.69%
Just Average: 3.13%
Pretty Crappy: 6.25%
Sucks: 1.56%

4 reviews, 40 user ratings

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Beautiful Girls
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by iF Magazine

"One of the most honest films I've seen in some time."
5 stars

Every once in awhile a little character-driven film comes around and really gets it right and reminds me what movie-making is all about. Special effects, super heroes, and star treks are all well and good, but movies can also be about real people and real situations, and BEAUTIFUL GIRLS is one such film.

Timothy Hutton stars as Willie, an unsuccessful New York City musician who returns to his sleepy hometown of Knightsbridge, Massachusetts for his 10-year high school reunion. Using this time home to ponder his life decisions and his developing relationship with his girlfriend back in the city, he observes the lives of his friends who never left Knightsbridge, all of whom are going through various relationship and life issues themselves.

There's Tommy (Matt Dillon), the former high school hero who now works in "sub-zero water removal" (he plows snow); he's having an affair with his now-married high school sweetheart Darian (Lauren Holly), and he's also dating the devoted Sharon (Mira Sorvino), who suffers from poor self-esteem as a result of her boyfriend's philandering.

Tommy's roommate Paul (Michael Rapaport) is so obsessed with "beautiful girls" that he's named his dog "Elle MacPherson." Paul recently lost his girlfriend Jan (Martha Plimpton) to "Victor the meat cutter," partially as a result of his obsession with beauty but also because of his inability to commit to marriage. He tries to make up for this loss by pursuing Andera (Uma Thurman), a beautiful girl who's visiting town and is as unattainable to Paul as the real Elle MacPherson.

Amid these and other mini-melodramas, Willie finds himself strangely drawn to Marty (Natalie Portman), a precocious 13-year-old neighbor. Wise beyond her years, Marty has a girlish crush on Willie, who of course realizes that his interest in the girl is an impossible avenue to explore. As he says, "It's not a sexual thing… she's smart, she's funny… this girl is going to be amazing." The years separate the two, yet they are kindred spirits. This plot thread is an important part of the film, and it could have been easily botched in the wrong hands. But all concerned handle it with grace and intelligence, and particular kudos must go to Hutton and Portman for their subtle portrayals of Willie and Marty. The chemistry between the two is one of the highlights of the film.

While the sub-plots all have the potential to add up to a melodramatic mess, the creative talents at work here are sure to avoid all the typical pitfalls. Scott Rosenberg's script is smart and hilarious; it's an accurate reflection of real life situations, albeit a bit more witty and amusing than life always is. Ted Demme's direction is smooth and sure, depicting the lives of the characters and the feel of this working-class town perfectly.

The film is well cast indeed. All the players clearly know their characters and find their own niche in this ensemble piece. While Hutton is ostensibly the lead of the film, everyone else is given a chance to do their thing, and not a single performer misses a beat. Special mention must be made of young Portman, who is just phenomenal in the role of the mature, yet childish Marty. This is no Lolita role - Marty is an extremely well realized character, thanks in no small part to Portman's vast talent. I suggest naysayers of her performance in THE PHANTOM MENACE sit down and watch her carefully in BEAUTIFUL GIRLS.

The film also features a very cool rock and retro soundtrack, with music from the likes of Roland Gift, Chris Isaak, The Rolling Stones and Neil Diamond (yes, Neil Diamond, and it's cool!).

Even the end of BEAUTIFUL GIRLS is pure real life. As Willie rediscovers his true ambition and his decision is supported by his girlfriend Tracy, the two drive away from Knightsbridge together. As they leave town they pass Willie's buddy Kev in his truck, who wishes them a quick goodbye and reminds Willie to "stay cool… stay cool forever." There's no doubt that he'll do just that, as will BEAUTIFUL GIRLS, which happens to be one of the most honest films I've seen in some time.

The DVD presents the film in widescreen format, and includes chapter selections and English captions for the hearing impaired. No other extra features are to be found here, though the theatrical trailer at the very least would have been nice (and has almost become expected at this point in the DVD arena). - SCOTT COLLURA - iF Magazine (http://ifmagazine.ifctv.com)

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=514&reviewer=119
originally posted: 06/29/99 02:45:37
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User Comments

2/27/15 harry potter the tittle is beautiful B*TCH 1 stars
6/15/07 dls Ted Demme Rules! 5 stars
4/28/07 Double M Beautiful, realistic, honest drama/romance with some hilarious moments and fine acting. 5 stars
3/29/06 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
3/20/04 eirik absolutely fantastic - my favourite film 5 stars
9/20/03 Chuck This movie surprised me with how good it was, especially the dialogue. 5 stars
7/06/03 Adani I can't stop putting the movie in and fast-forwarding to all of Natalie's parts. So amazing 5 stars
1/16/03 Don Adams Natalie Portman's early promise 5 stars
11/27/02 Kelli Nat Portman is awesome 5 stars
7/01/02 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
2/08/01 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
1/18/01 Marty Plum A GREAT movie. It made me look at my own life and my friends in a different way. 5 stars
1/02/01 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
4/11/00 Chartsy I can watch this movie a hundred times and find something new to like each time. 5 stars
2/13/00 hello Awesome movie, Natalie Portman is the cutest, most intelligent actress there is. 5 stars
10/24/99 The Bomb 69 Natalie Portman is wise beyond her years and looks great too 5 stars
10/19/99 Aleksi Reenpää Best movie I've seen. 5 stars
6/30/99 John N One of my favorite movies of all time. 5 stars
4/17/99 jimmy jam rapaport is GREAT!!!"You let her behind the curtain didn't ya" 5 stars
3/01/99 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
11/26/98 G how could anyone not like this movie. The acting and dialogue are outstanding. For real. 5 stars
11/12/98 Shawna I thought that young girl was cool, but the rest of it sucked. 2 stars
10/22/98 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
10/12/98 joseph portman outshines the rest---matt dillon i cant stand 2 stars
9/29/98 cheryl_ann natalie was good, but thats about all i can say. i didnt like it. 3 stars
9/15/98 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
8/22/98 {{{OZ}}} Say what you will, but I loved this movie. Portman is phenomonal. 5 stars
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  09-Feb-1996 (R)
  DVD: 20-Apr-1999



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