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"Beautiful Thing" (1996) - Gay Movie Review

"Beautiful Thing (1996)" is a heartfelt gem of a movie that delves into the tender, awkward moments of first love with such authenticity, it’ll capture your heart without even trying. This British coming-of-age story explores the lives of two teenage boys, Jamie and Ste, as they discover the beauty of love against a backdrop of everyday challenges.

"Beautiful Thing" (1996) Trailer

The screenplay, penned by Jonathan Harvey, treats its characters with incredible respect and realism, tackling the theme of young love between two boys in a way that feels entirely genuine and devoid of clichés. The complexity of the characters really stands out—here, people aren’t just good or bad; they’re beautifully human. Good characters make mistakes, and those who seem less favorable show redeeming qualities, adding depth to every interaction.

What really sets this film apart is its brilliant balance of moods—there’s an exceptional blend of humor and seriousness that mirrors real life. The director, Hettie MacDonald, injects just the right amount of lightness to lift the mood without undermining the gravity of Jamie and Ste’s struggles. It’s this balance that helps the film navigate the harsh realities of their world, acknowledging the presence of hatred without letting it overshadow their story.

The setting is another character in itself—a typical British summer that perfectly encapsulates the feeling of those rare, sunny days when everyone seems to come alive. The atmosphere is so relatable and well-crafted, from the chill of cold beer cans to the community’s rush to bask in the fleeting sun, enhancing the film’s authentic vibe.

Why You Should Watch

"Beautiful Thing (1996)" offers more than just a story about coming out; it's a universal declaration of first love’s awkward, exhilarating leap into the unknown. The film is both encouraging and profoundly moving, leaving you with a hopeful heart and perhaps a tear or two. The tentative romance between Jamie and Ste is handled with such care and sensitivity that you can’t help but root for them, feeling every high and low of their journey.

Aside from our main duo, the film is rich with memorable characters like Sandra, Jamie’s mom, who dreams of owning her own pub—a subplot that adds layers and a touch of ambition to the narrative. Each character contributes to the film’s story, making their mark and enriching the central story.

This movie is special not just for its narrative but for its ability to balance its tones so well. It doesn't ignore the darkness in the world—like the abuse Ste faces at home—but it also doesn’t let this darkness dominate. Instead, it offers a story of resilience, acceptance, and the undeniable power of finding someone who understands you.

"Beautiful Thing (1996)" is a masterpiece in gay storytelling, not just for its depiction of a gay relationship, but for allowing its protagonists to live fully and visibly as themselves by the film’s end. It’s a touching, funny, and utterly beautiful film that doesn’t just entertain; it resonates and uplifts. If you’re in the mood for a movie that combines authenticity with a powerful message of hope and acceptance, this is the one for you. Truly, a beautiful thing indeed.

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