I watched this one because of the great cast: Jessica Brown Findlay from Downton Abbey fame, fantastic actor Tom Wilkinson, and Andrew Scott, who is wonderful as Moriarty in the BBC Sherlock series. Aside from that, I had no expectations about this film and had read/heard nothing about it.
Right from the start, I realized I had stumbled into a gem of a movie. Its almost melodic pacing grabbed me right away and Findlay’s quirky librarian character made me want to not only keep watching, but to pay more attention.
Very few movies today can be characterized as sweet and the even more dreaded word of wholesome. But, this film is one of sweetest, most charming and very wholesome films I have seen in ages. Not that I don’t enjoy a good R rated film, but sometimes, I just want something quiet and subdued to watch…like a laid-back beach read. Well, This Beautiful Fantastic is the equivalent of a “beach flick.”
At the start of the film, we are introduced to Findlay’s character, Bella Brown, through narration by Wilkinson, who we find out is her curmudgeon neighbor. Bella is OCD and highly fearful of anything outside of her routine. She goes to work, comes home and pretty much lives her life in her cottage trying to become the writer she wants so much to become. When her landlord requires her to begin doing landscaping in her very over-grown garden, her interaction with Wilkinson and his chef (played by Andrew Scott) becomes much more involved.
It’s the small films like this one that I find myself going back to over and over again. Very few “blockbusters” have left a lasting impact on me, but the unsung movies with heart and soul are the ones I remember and the ones I find myself craving to re-watch. This film is now among those.
The Niles-Maine District Library owns this title on DVD. The film was not released on Blu-ray at the time of this writing.