5th March 2018 (VOD)
A young woman who dreams of being a children's author makes an unlikely friendship with a cantankerous, rich old widower.
Jessica Brown Findlay, Andrew Scott, Tom Wilkinson
Jessica Brown Findlay stars as Bella Brown, an author who dreams of writing children’s books. She hates plants, but the lease on her house demands the maintenance of her garden. Her grouchy neighbour Alfie (Tom Wilkinson) initially acts cold towards her when she becomes friends with his cook Vernon (Andrew Scott), but eventually, they form an unlikely friendship themselves while discovering that it’s never too late to learn to start living – or to clean up the backyard.
This Beautiful Fantastic is a thoroughly British affair as it deals with overgrown gardens, cantankerous old men and adopted ducks. It means no harm to anyone nor causes any itself. It’s all very ‘nice’, with absolute minimal conflict. Brown Findlay is utterly charming as Bella, the author who is in a position that any creative person has found themselves – hitting a wall with their work, knowing what they want to say but not finding the right words to say it. Predictably but not at all disappointingly, the bonds she makes with the few other characters involved are all integral to her own success.
Tom Wilkinson is a joy to watch as Alfie, spitting sarcastic and cynical remarks with the utmost ease. His words are never hurtful though, and right from his introduction, it’s clear there’s more to him than his irritable, hardened exterior. As Bella and Alfie grow closer, he begins to open up; but fortunately doesn’t let up with his attitude. Andrew Scott brings most of the light comedy as Vernon, Alfie’s long-suffering cook. His knowledge of rules, regulations, and laws get him out (and occasionally into) sticky situations and the friendly chemistry between himself and Bella is entirely believable. Their relationship is platonic though, as Bella finds a love interest in Jeremy Irvine’s Billy. Her awkwardness towards him raises a few smiles and their story arc contains the height of the film’s troubles. One of my favourite aspects of This Beautiful Fantastic is Anne Nikitin’s score. The upbeat piano pieces perfectly compliment the film and would make for a relaxing listen on their own away from the film.
This Beautiful Fantastic is a soft breeze on a summers day. It’s a good book while sitting by a roaring fire in the winter. It is a blooming bunch of daffodils in springtime. It’s the sound of crunching leaves underfoot in Autumn. Simply put, it’s a crowd-pleasing, inoffensive film for all seasons and a welcome respite from the barrage of big budget blockbusters.
This Beautiful Fantastic is available on to watch on Digital Download from 5th March and can be bought here.
Strong performances from Wilkinson and Findlay
Great chemistry between the small cast
Anne Nikitin's wonderful score
Some may find it a little TOO sweet and innocent
Rather predictable narrative