This Beautiful Fantastic  just made its rounds on the film festival circuit, and continually captivated audiences with its infectious charm. The romantic drama centers on orderly librarian Bella Brown (Jessica Brown Findlay) who, with the help of a cantankerous neighbor (Tom Wilkinson), attempts to restore her bedraggled garden at the threat of eviction from her landlord.
A Colorful Bouquet of Characters: The making of a fascinating story, especially when set in limited locations, is very dependent on acquiring a strong cast, and the personalities displayed in this film are exceptionally noteworthy. Bella’s assortment of odd quirks—including her innate fear of foliage, her acquired kinship toward ducks, and her strict OCD—elevate the journey her character takes from the start of the movie to its resolution. Tom Wilkinson excels in his role as the stubborn and equally smart-mouthed Alfie, often stealing scenes with his clever one-liners and rapport with the talented Andrew Scott as Vernon the cook. Even Jeremy Irvine, who plays the protagonist’s love interest, Billy, emanates a refreshing eccentricity in his role as an inventor. Each individual adds their own unique flair to the spectacle, and the result is nothing short of alluringly brilliant.
Planting Seeds of Magic: What adds a surprising element of wonder is the touches of fantasy sprinkled throughout the film. This Beautiful Fantastic blurs the lines between a routine reality and a whimsical fairytale with the use of subtle practical effects and minimal CGI. While it is an independent picture with a limited budget, the production value always glistens with an air of mysterious ingenuity. Whether it be moving shadows on a piece of paper swept away by a storm or an illustriously intricate mechanical bird named Luna, these sporadic bits of wonder make a narrative set in a little English town completely out of the ordinary. The color palette in the movie also lends to its stylish atmosphere, prominently through sun-drenched shots of vibrant floral backgrounds.
Storybook with No End: One of the primary focuses of the movie is that Bella wants to publish her own children’s book. Unfortunately, the daily drudgery of life and her personal plot line get in the way of her creating an ending for it. Director Simon Aboud made it a point to invent a timeless atmosphere for the film without the influence of contemporary technology to detract from the story. The viewer is completely submerged in a fable of secret gardens and hidden love, which also coincides with Bella’s tale of Luna the flightless bird. It is through the use of powerful symbols and strong parallels between the relationships we grow together as people and the flowers that bloom because of Mother Nature’s care that ties together the entire film. After all, sometimes the root of desire is worth the effort that comes with it.
Like a budding rose, This Beautiful Fantastic unfolds before curious eyes with a stirring of unrivaled color and radiance.
Related: What's the story behind This Beautiful Fantastic? Check out our interview with This Beautiful Fantastic's Director Simon Aboud for behind the scenes information on the film's production.