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78 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOTS TO LIKE
I saw this film once before but, unawares, rented it again and, even though I realized I had seen the movie previously after it started, I enjoyed even more the second time. This is quality movie-making: good production values, a good script, good acting. I even ordered a Neil Diamond album after watching the "impromtu" singing of Sweet Caroline in a fun bar...
Published on June 29, 2004 by Michael W. Kennedy

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bottled promise....
Ahh...beautiful girls. Beautiful girls. As one character (played by the ever-annoying Michael Rapaport) theorizes, a beautiful girl is "nothing but bottled promise-the promise of a new tomorrow!" Oddly enough Ted Demme's BEAUTIFUL GIRLS revolves little around the subject of beautiful women, but focuses on the promise of a new tomorrow-and does so to a...
Published on August 18, 2000 by Seth T. Hahne


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78 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOTS TO LIKE, June 29, 2004
This review is from: Beautiful Girls (Widescreen) (DVD)
I saw this film once before but, unawares, rented it again and, even though I realized I had seen the movie previously after it started, I enjoyed even more the second time. This is quality movie-making: good production values, a good script, good acting. I even ordered a Neil Diamond album after watching the "impromtu" singing of Sweet Caroline in a fun bar scene. Ensemble acting at its best, we have Rose O'Donnell, Uma Thurman and Matt Dillon featured along witn talented others. Timothy Hutton is perhaps the most interesting character in the film as a lost soul and his 30-something character's "romance" with thirteen-year-old Marty played by Natalie Portman is truly remarkable. I don't know what federal laws I was breaking but I was in love with Marty and I secretly hoped that Hutton's character returned to get her when she turned eighteen. What an amazing adult woman in a thirteen-year-old's body! They had a fascinating and strange relationship. Uma Thurman is good as the unavailable spirit who visits and then disappears. Her line about looking for a man who can say (and supposedly mean) just four words ("Good night, sweet girl") was memorable. Rosie O'Donnell's rant about men and their attraction for the false and superficial beauty of media images of women was hilarious and almost show-stopping. Lots to like here.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like Going To My Own Reunion, May 6, 2002
By 
TheHighlander (Richfield, PA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beautiful Girls [VHS] (VHS Tape)
The story line of this movie is set at the ten year high school reunion. Listening to the characters was like going to my own reunion. I saw myself and my buddies in these characters. What a classic this is! With an all-star cast including Timothy Hutton, Matt Dillon, Lauren Holly, rosie O'Donnell, natalie Portman, Michael Rapaport, Martha Plimpton, Uma Thurman and Mira Sorvino and a wonderfully matched soundtrack this movie is hard to top.
Will (Timothy Hutton) is trying to figure out the path his life will take, should he get married or not. But he is intrigued by the little girl next door and starts to think that his future wife may be a bit ordinary. Add to the mix Uma Thurman's out of town character that is beautiful and witty and Will is getting more muddled all the time. The local boys plow snow, drink beer and have affairs with married women, date women for nine years without proposing and raise kid with not clue how to do it. All real life things that we see everyday with ordinary people.
A movie that should not be missed, that an be watched over and over and will make you laugh and ponder the relationships that people get into.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Featuring the Future Padme Amidala..., July 13, 2002
This review is from: Beautiful Girls (Widescreen) (DVD)
A terrific ensemble cast brings this film to life, which focuses on the difficulties some face in making that final, "mental" leap from adolescence to adulthood, and spend way too many years trying to sort it all out. As one of the characters so tellingly puts it at one point, "I'm not anywhere close to being the man I thought I'd be--" and the denial, that failure to accept the fact that time stands still for no man, and the inability to choose which path to take when you hit that inevitable fork in the road, forms the basis for director Ted Demme's examination of how human nature affects the process of maturating, in "Beautiful Girls," a drama featuring Timothy Hutton, Matt Dillon and a young Natalie Portman.
Willie Conway (Hutton) is back home in the Midwest for his high school reunion, but more than that, to try and make some decisions about his future. He finds that nothing much has changed-- the town, or his old friends, most of whom seem to be exerting more time and energy attempting to cling to what was, rather than moving on with their lives. Tommy Rowland (Dillon), for instance, the high school "hero," as it were, now drives a snowplow; for all intents and purposes, his life "peaked" in high school, and he can't seem to get past it. Then there's Paul (Michael Rapaport), who just doesn't seem to want to grow up; after a seven year relationship with Jan (Martha Plimpton), he refuses to make that final commitment-- after all, "What's the rush?"
All of which does nothing to help Willie with his own dilemma; the only words of wisdom he gets from anyone, in fact, come from the precocious thirteen-year-old, Marty (Natalie Portman), who lives next door. But in a couple of days, Tracy (Annabeth Gish), the girl Willie "thinks" he wants to marry, is due to arrive from Chicago, so it's time to move beyond the crossroads; for Willie, it's decision time.
Demme delivers a story that just about everyone in the audience is going to connect with on some level, because everyone's gone through (or will go through) these kinds of things at one time or another. Who hasn't experienced, if only for a moment, that sense of either wanting to stay as they are or going back to what they were, when life was better, or at least simpler. Or more fun. Working from a screenplay by Scott Rosenberg, Demme examines the relationships between this eclectic group of individuals in a way that offers some insights into human nature that will no doubt elicit some reflection on the part of the viewer. It all points up that, no matter what it may look like on the surface, underneath it all we're not so different from one another; we all share that common bond of learning life's lessons one day at a time, albeit in our own particular way, which corresponds to who we are as individuals. And Demme succeeds in telling his story with warmth and humor; by tapping into the humanity at the heart of it all.
The story may focus on Willie, but the film is a true ensemble piece, realized as it is through the sum of it's many and varied parts. It's a talented cast of actors bringing a unique bunch of characters to life that makes this film what it is, beginning with Hutton, who anchors it with his solid portrayal of Willie, a challenging role in that Willie has to be an average guy who is unique in his own right. The same can be said of Dillon's Tommy, in whom traces of Dallas Winston from "The Outsiders" can be found; Tommy is, perhaps, just Dallas a few years later.
Mira Sorvino gives a memorable performance by creating the most sympathetic character in the film, Tommy's girlfriend, Sharon. This is the girl who was never going to be prom queen, and who up until now has lacked the self-confidence necessary to create a positive environment for herself. Lauren Holly, meanwhile, succeeds with her portrayal of Darian Smalls, the absolute opposite of Sharon, a young woman who is probably too positive for her own good and who lives the life of a perpetual prom queen, an individual who-- as another character succinctly puts it-- was "Mean as a snake," back in the day. Good performances that add a balanced perspective to the film.
There are two performances here that really steal the show, however. The first being that of Michael Rapaport, who as Paul so completely and convincingly captures the very essence of an average Joe with not too much on the ball, no prospects for the future to speak of, but who is, at heart, a good guy. There's humor and pathos in his portrayal, which personifies that particular state of being the film is seeking to depict. Excellent work by Rapaport, and decidedly one of the strengths of the film.
The most memorable performance of all, however, is turned in by Natalie Portman, who at fifteen is playing the thirteen-year-old Marty, the girl mature and wise beyond her years ("I'm an old soul," as she puts it), with whom Willie forms a kind of bond as she, in her own way, helps him to sort out his feelings and find his focus. Portman's performance here-- some three years before she would forever become Padme Amidala-- exhibits that spark and charismatic screen presence that has served her so well since, in films like "Anywhere But Here," and "Where the Heart Is." She has for some time been, and continues to be, one of the finest and most promising young actors in the business.
The cast also includes Noah Emmerich (Mo), Rosie O'Donnell (Gina), Max Perlich (Kev), Uma Thurman (Andrea), Anne Bobby (Sarah) and Pruitt Taylor Vince (Stanley), all of whom help to make "Beautiful Girls" a memorable and satisfying cinematic experience. And that's the magic of the movies.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Natalie Portman is Beautiful�, March 14, 2001
By 
Joecool (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beautiful Girls (Widescreen) (DVD)
Why isn't Natalie's picture on the cover instead of Rosie's? .... Too many people refuse to see this movie because of Rosie. For those, she's not in the movie that much and when she is she's really funny. However, the real reason to see this movie is for the Precocious Portman. There hasn't been a tragedy of this magnitude since Romeo and Juliet. Lines like, 'I just want something beautiful,' are so sad, and then Moe responds, 'We all do,' but unfortunately poor Moe just doesn't get it, as is the case for many men. Most of the reviews give good appreciation to Willie and Marty's relationship- so I won't dwell on what could have been perfection. One addition I think most people miss is when Willie's girl friend arrives: Based on his brother bummer and daddy downer's reactions, Willie thinks he's pretty lucky. Suddenly a solid 7.5 looks a lot better than a 0.0 that his bro and dad are stuck with. Listen to the song as the brother and dad have excited smiles saying 'she was superb' and waving bye as Willie drives away looking at her like 'this was meant to be.' The lyrics go 'It's so easy, to be stupid,' which perfectly describes what's going on. Don't settle for someone who doesn't excite you! The DVD has a great picture pretty good sound and the best reply value, so it's worth owning. I just wish they included some extras. On the back of the box is a picture of Natalie and Timothy sitting together talking. That scene is not in the movie, but it must be somewhere out there. Please include it in a special edition.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most underrated films of the 90's, December 9, 1999
By 
James Dill (Lansing, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Beautiful Girls [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Movie after movie is released, filled with upper class people living well with no visible means of support in some American city. But most of us grew up in some other place - villages, towns, suburbs. Some of us left, many of us stayed; where we wrestle with relationships, sex, identity, friendship, livelihood, family. Want to see a movie filled with wonderful young actors, with memorable performance after memorable performance as their characters graple with their lives in a small town in New England. Portman's performance has been characterized as one of the revelatory performances of the decade. Great sound track. Buy it and enjoy it again and again
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and Overlooked, June 29, 2004
This review is from: Beautiful Girls (Widescreen) (DVD)
Humphrey Bogart would say the Beautiful Girls in this film are the "stuff dreams are made of." They stand for the idealized version of women that men seek and never find, the constant promise of a better woman just around the corner that keeps men from being able to commit to the real women in their lives.
The principle men with that "beautiful girls" hang-up are Willie (Hutton), Birdy (Dillon) and Paul (Rappaport). They hold on to that dream of a better life with a better woman and thus sabotage (consciously or not) all their relationships. Birdy clings to the memories of his high school flame, Paul papers his walls with supermodels and names his dog Elle McPherson, and Willie just wants something beautiful in his life. Although in a relationship with a nice-looking attorney, Willie grudgingly acknowledges she would only score a 7.5 on a 1-10 scale.
While not actively looking to replace his "above-average-but-not-great" girlfriend, Willie stumbles into the most charming and memorable sub-plot of the film: his relationship with his thirteen year old neighbor Marty (a totally engaging Natalie Portman). Willie sees in her all the possibilities he dreams about: she is kind, sensitive and dazzles him with her knowledge of psychology and Shakespeare. When she develops a teenage crush on him, Willie must consider the possibility of waiting for this great girl to become an even greater woman. Even though parallels are drawn to the pedophilic exploits of Roman Rolanski and Jerry Lee Lewis, there is nothing creepy or sexual about Willie's feelings for the young girl.
The stories play out in a picturesque New England town, deep into a frozen winter. All the guys are re-uniting for their ten-year high school reunion and are forced to deal with the personal revelations accompanying that important moment. Presented with a karaoke bar's dream soundtrack and told with a thoughtful narrative that is poignant and touching without being sappy and sentimental, Beautiful Girls is a wonderful exploration into the love lives of 20-something males.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bottled promise...., August 18, 2000
This review is from: Beautiful Girls [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Ahh...beautiful girls. Beautiful girls. As one character (played by the ever-annoying Michael Rapaport) theorizes, a beautiful girl is "nothing but bottled promise-the promise of a new tomorrow!" Oddly enough Ted Demme's BEAUTIFUL GIRLS revolves little around the subject of beautiful women, but focuses on the promise of a new tomorrow-and does so to a middling effect.
BEAUTIFUL GIRLS is largely a slice-of-life tale detailing the means by which Willie (an able Timothy Hutton) transverses a sort of early-mid-life crossroads. He's come to a point of ambiguity in his life: his career as a bar-pianist hasn't quite panned out like he'd hoped and his successful lawyer/girlfriend of eleven months wants a commitment for which he's not certain he's ready. Just in the nick of time, comes Willie's ten-year high school reunion-a time to visit old friends and sort out the mess of his life.
The film becomes an ensemble piece soon after Willie's arrival home. We meet his old High School buddies (none of whom have had any motivation to leave their small town) and find they have problems of their own. Tommy (Matt Dillon)-much to the dismay of his present, long-suffering girlfriend (Mira Sorvino)-is hopelessly infatuated with Darian (Lauren Holly), his now-married, ex-High School sweetheart. Paul (Michael Rapaport) has just been dumped by his girlfriend of seven years (Martha Plimpton) for a meat-cutter because he refuses to commit. BEAUTIFUL GIRLS weaves in and out of these several stories sometimes with verve and sometimes without.
The most interesting of these stories is, of course, Willie's own. Upon arrival to the house of his youth (now marred by the death of his mother a few years prior), he meets Marty (a sublime role essayed by young Natalie Portman), the 13 year-old daughter of some neighbors who have moved in since his own departure. Through a series of conversations chock-full of literary references (to Shakespeare, Milne, Nabakov, etc.) Marty develops a crush on Willie who remains sixteen years her senior and Willie begins to seriously contemplate waiting for this young sweetheart. As "dirty-ol' man" as this might sound on paper, the audience, due to Portman's and Hutton's acting, is actually given a glimpse into what might drive such a fascination. The chemistry between Willie and Marty is undeniable and in fact, possibly stronger than that between Jennifer Lopez and George Clooney in OUT OF SIGHT.
Another aspect that added to the film's quality was the manner of resolutions: though many loose ends are tied up in the final moments, like real life, many things (to the movie's credit) remain unresolved. All told, BEAUTIFUL GIRLS hits in some aspects and misses in others, but shouldn't be missed if for no other reason than to catch Natalie Portman and Timothy Hutton in fine form.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'll be her Pooh, July 2, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Beautiful Girls [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Beautiful Girls has now made my list of top ten movies. This movie gives us a glimpse into the lives of people that we all know and relate to. The best romantic comedy I've seen in years, Michael Rappaport was excellent and a bright spot in an all-star cast. But it is Natalie Portman's performance that swept me off my feet. An extremely intelligent and convincing actress, "Precocious" Portman, carries the movie with her near-romance with Timothy Hutton. Please tell me that every guy was not envious of Hutton during the scene when Natalie was ice skating on the frozen pond. Your heart cries out for her in the dyslexic Romeo & Juliet episode. Her wit and charm is unrivaled beyond her years. Well worth the five year wait.... Natalie is THE Beautiful Girl.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Collectors Item, May 23, 2002
By 
Keith (Liverpool, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beautiful Girls [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is one of those movies that you can watch again and again. I came across it by accident on satellite TV about 3 years ago. I decided to tape it and ended up watching it as well, then watched it again the next day and again a couple of days later. I was gripped from the beginning. There are lots of memorable scenes like Rosie O'Donnells' lecture in the convenience store, and Natalie Portmans' discussions with Timothy Hutton about Shakespeare.
Just watch it and you'll know what I mean.
All the characters were fascinating including Richard Bright who played Willy's (Tim Hutton) father, and David Arquette who played his brother.
This is one of 5 films that I have permanently on video. The others being Godfather I,II,III, and Goodfellas.
Enough said?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beatiful Movie, April 17, 1999
By 
vision@theramp.net (the Illinois Valley) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beautiful Girls [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Beautiful Girls is one of the best films I've seen in a very long time. The storyline, dialogue, and direction were all exceptional, but the acting was utterly perfect. The characters were so well developed that when it was over I had a hard time convincing myself that what I just experienced was a movie. Their interactions made them not only completely believable, but made me feel like I knew each one of them as well as the other characters did. The chemistry between Timothy Hutton and Natalie Portman was especially amzing to watch. If only the Academy gave an award for an ensemble cast! But as impressive as the ensemble was, Natalie Portman's performance alone would have made this a five star movie. It was a true standout, a sight awesome to behold!
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