Top positive review
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`I can resist anything except temptation'
on 11 October 2012
This is a South African story about a middle aged, family man Francois (Deon Lotz). He has a wife and two daughters and a successful lumber firm, at one of his daughter's weddings he is reunited with an old friend and business acquaintance who has brought his 23 year old son along. This is Christian (Charlie Keegan -`The Sinking of the Laconia') and he has charm, wit and matinee idol good looks `to die for'.
The thin veneer of familial bliss is soon seen to be cracking with casual racism, homophobia, an unfaithful wife and children who lie. Also daddy isn't exactly what he seems to be as he goes to bear type all men swingers groups. Needles to say he is not gay, but he soon becomes smitten with Christian. But Christian lives in Cape Town and Francois is in Bloemfontein which is a fair old drive. Undeterred he invents an excuse to go to Cape Town where he will orchestrate a meeting to go to the next level. Well as Oscar Wilde famously said, `there is only one thing worse than unrequited love.....and that is when it is requited'.
Beauty or `Skoonheid' to give it its original title is an art house film in many ways. It is both cleverly and artistically shot, the acting is outstanding and the music is understated but works almost subliminally. The pace will be a bit slow for some, but that reflects the narrative which is hardly planned from the players perspective either.
There are some bedroom action bits but not in the least frequent but there are some scenes that will be upsetting to some, this is most definitely not a feel good movie. It was South Africa's best foreign language film entry to the 84th Academy awards, so by all accounts there is a lot to merit attention here. I found it slow, brooding and initially unsatisfying; however, on reflection this is a film that will stay with you. The only reason I felt a bit let down is it did not play out how I was expecting and that is in actual fact a very good thing, hence my rating. In Afrikaans and English with a run time of 105 minutes not your run of the mill film and more power to director Oliver Hermanus for that.