Customer Review

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The ugly consequences of repressed sexuality, with half-baked subtitles, 3 Mar. 2013
This review is from: Beauty (Skoonheid) DVD (DVD)
Beauty is a generally well-made movie about the ugly consequences of sexual repression in an intensely, violently homophobic society in South Africa (although it could just as well have been set in the United States or most other countries). The movie's few serious flaws--Deon Lotz is not believable as a gay man, even as a severely closeted and homophobic gay man; and Charlie Keegan is nowhere near the beauty the movie makes him out to be--in a way aren't really flaws at all, because those incongruities reinforce the fundamental impossibility of anything approaching health and sanity in such a perverted society. The true perverts are the homophobes, and this movie exposes them and portrays the hypocrisy, depravity and violence of their lives with great power and clarity.

The characters are bilingual; the movie's dialog is about 30% English and 70% Afrikaans, often switching back and forth several times within a single multi-person conversation. That would be okay if either both languages were subtitled (the best solution) or if the English were not spoken with a pronounced South African accent--but instead they chose to subtitle ONLY the words spoken in Afrikaans.

Often I found myself wondering why the subtitles suddenly stopped in the middle of a conversation only to realize too late that they were speaking English now so I was supposed to know what they were saying; then they would switch without warning back to Afrikaans and the subtitles resumed.

That's a big mistake, it would have been easy to avoid, and it's unacceptably and unnecessarily distracting. When the same voice alternates between Afrikaans and Afrikaans-accented English, a non-bilingual listener can't make the instantaneous adjustments required to understand every word. It would have cost them practically nothing to subtitle the English too, but they didn't. It became slightly less a problem later in the movie just because I got used to it, but it never ceased to be a distraction. That's the main reason I deducted a star.
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Initial post: 29 Mar 2013 16:46:47 GMT
Last edited by the author on 29 Mar 2013 16:46:59 GMT
I too found the switching off of subtitles when English was spoken, quite strange and rather irritating.
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3.9 out of 5 stars (17 customer reviews)
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J. Martin
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Location: New York

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