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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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerfully realistic, like looking into a mirror, January 7, 2011
This review is from: Beautiful Girls (Widescreen) (DVD)
Set amidst a realistic ten-year reunion, Beautiful Girls inhales a slice of apple pie on its way towards sublime Americana. Complete underrated in every way, the movie focuses on a group of friends from the upper-northeast who have all approached crossroads or midlife crisis moments in which they must all embrace a decision and stick with it.

Perhaps the best I've ever seen, the ensemble cast nails each and every role seamlessly, creating realistically poignant situations in which every viewer can find similarity. Played by Timothy Hutton, the lead character is a bar pianist named Willie who returns home to a strained relationship with his successful girlfriend, an awkward familiarity with his father and younger brother (David Arquette), and a next door neighbor who soon complicates Willie's life. Natalie Portman's performance as a 13-year old with an "old soul" is utterly convincing; it is perhaps the best performance of her career to date. While the nearly 15 year age gap may put off some viewers, the skill of both actors makes the situation believable and, more importantly, understandable. Male viewers can easily empathize with the hint of doubt in Willie's mind telling him to simply wait 5 years for the perfect girl.

Among Willie's friends is Paul (Michael Rappaport) and Tommy "Birdy" Rowland (Matt Dillon), neither of which are typically favorites of mine. But, once again, the casting is perfection. Paul's infatuation with models - named his dog Elle McPherson - and refusal to grasp his colossal mediocrity is the very definition of Rappaport. Birdy, on the other hand, is the big man on campus, star quarterback who parties hard and gets to choose between girls like Mira Sorvino (Sharon) and Lauren Holly (Darian). Ten years later, however, they are not so keen to compete, particularly when Darian is married with children and Birdy has parlayed his high school stardom into a dead-end snowplow operation gig. If that isn't the definition of Matt Dillons across America, then I don't know what is.

The power of this movie is in the casting and the realism. Among other familiar Hollywood faces is Rosie O'Donnell, who predictably plays a bitter fat chick who can't take the fact that men dream of supermodels, and Uma Thurman, who plays an integral role as the film's pseudo-muse, a visitor whose beauty is overhyped but whose wisdom is enough to provide directions, if not answers. Linked to the characters' believability is the sharp, witty dialogue written by Scott Rosenberg. In each conversation there is a hint of each viewer's past, present, and future; they are discussions we have all had. A very powerful screenplay makes this movie really sink in.

Ultimately, this film balances the precarious chick flick tightrope, managing to create acceptable date movie content while engaging male viewers. Easily one of my favorites, Beautiful Girls is film about friends and relationships, a film in which we can all see ourselves.

Jason Elin
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Girls, Beautiful Movie., January 31, 2006
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This review is from: Beautiful Girls (Widescreen) (DVD)
Excellent ensemble performances by all the actors, especially Natalie Portman, a

plausible plot, and well-written dialogue make this film a gem. One leaves it

understanding human nature a little bit better, and feeling a little more compassion

for one's fellow human beings.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This movie is one great flick, July 22, 2001
By 
This review is from: Beautiful Girls (Widescreen) (DVD)
I came across this movie at the exact time I attended my 10 year highschool reunion. Timing could not be more perfect. I guess this is why this movie touched me especially because the movie is about a bunch of friends who meet again for there 10 year highschool reunion. Alot of the questions that were asked by Timothy Hutton at the crossroads of his life I have personally asked myself.
The plot is about a bunch of highschool friends, with emphpasis on the guys, that reach that infamous crossroad of their life - the late 20 year olds who have to make a decision on whether or not to take a more permenant path in life or continue to chase childhood dreams and past glories. They see some of their friends who have settled down and have raised a family and live in utter bliss and they ask themselves what to do next in their life.
One especially touching conversation for me was a conversation between Timothy Hutton and Uma Thurman when they went Ice fishing. Timothy Hutton has for sometime been in a relationship with a woman that he could certainly settle down with. However he meets Natalie Portman and the feeling of new love starts to overcome him. Timothy Hutton and Uma Thurman discuss the issue of settling down with a stable relationship or living life continously experiencing new love. After all, nothing feels like the feeling of new love. A discussion that many of us have asked at one time in our life when we reached that age when we realized that we weren't getting any younger.
I dont want to spoil the movie by revealing too much so I suggest that you watch it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, December 22, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Beautiful Girls (Widescreen) (DVD)
This movie has a lot of things going on, and stands up to repeated viewings. It's the kind of thing you can't help thinking about for weeks after you see it -- little scenes will lodge in your mind and constantly crop up in your consciousness in unexpected ways.
One thing I wanted to say -- I think the little subplot of the near-love interest between Timothy Hutton and Natalie Portman was the best part of the movie. Especially given the thematic context of the movie in general, it seems to me that Marty represents the siren song of Timothy Hutton's own innocence, his own irresponsible childishness, which moor him to his past and prevent him from moving on. Not that he necessarily should move on... I myself had an experience, a very powerful experience, which was basically the same as the unrealized flirtation portrayed here. I can absolutely attest to the reality of such human connections, and to their power to undo otherwise rational people.
Beyond that, all the characters here seem pretty dead-on to me, and I think of this as a sort of a sweet-spirited "Jerry McGuire," suitable as a "chick flick," a movie for guys to see with their buddies, and also as a very adult meditation on a number of resonant themes... The "you can't go home again" theme also reminds me of "Local Hero" for some reason, which is another little-known flick that I think more people should see. Anyway, two thumbs up. Absolutely worth it.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Twenty-Something Fun, Guy Style, April 27, 2002
By 
Kenn Lehto (Monmouth, OR USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beautiful Girls [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is one of the most fun and interesting films I've seen in recent years. Fun, yet not without its serious side. The cast is great, with Timothy Hutton, Matt Dillon, Lauren Holly, Annabeth Gish, and Uma Thurman portraying classic characters in their late twenties. Natalie Portman nearly steals the show as a precotious 13-year-old, who sets her heart on Timothy Hutton.
We all know people (friends) like these characters. They ring true to our life experience. I think all guys struggle with the issues these guys are struggling with. (Maybe its true for women and the female characters as well?)
Do you look back to your past with longing for what could have been, or forge ahead into the future with whatever it brings?
Do you cling to the wild and independent spirit of your youth, or settle down into "commited" and maturing relationships?
Throw in a bar fight, some car crashes (all excused as raging male hormones), and you have a mix that could result in disaster (movie-wise), but director Ted Demme keeps it all together, and with just the right level of finese, comes up with a film that works, and works well!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked gem, March 14, 2003
By 
templecola (Long Beach, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beautiful Girls (Widescreen) (DVD)
I really prefer the big screen, and I've purchased few DVDs but I bought Beautiful Girls because it's the kind of movie that stands up to multiple viewings. The reasons are simple: the conflicts in the story -- and there are several -- are complex and don't resolve easily or completely; the cast is very good, with Mira Sorvino and Natalie Portman shining as Beautiful Girls who have yet to be fully discovered; the pace is crisp and the dialog is not overwritten ( the clever parts are not self-consciously so ); and again, there's Natalie Portman.
I find it difficult to imagine that she will ever surpass this performance. Marty was written for a bright and alluring girl of around 13, who, in her own words, has "an old soul". She is more than a match for the drifting pianist, Will, whose girlfriend is rated "seven and a half", in a revelatory scene where three nearly grown up highschool buddies give girls they know points for looks, personality, and other qualities.
Matt Dillon shows himself to have some range as Mira Sorvino's husband, carrying on an affair with his highschool sweetheart, played shamelessly by Lauren Holly. Uma Thurman has a small but pivotal role as the sister of a local tavernmaster, but I've never seen her as particularly captivating, so all the fuss is lost on me.
What rings truest in this film is that the small town folks portrayed are real, dealing with life as it comes, and they grab at your sensibilities, carrying a poignant message, full of the grit that comes from their authenticity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch this movie., November 20, 2004
By 
Jone "jone70" (New York, New York) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beautiful Girls (Widescreen) (DVD)
This is my favorite movie of all time, hands down. The more you watch it the more layers you realize the film has. Michael Rappaport's model-obsessed character is great (his dog is named Elle MacPherson). Natalie Portman is fabulous as the 13 year old neighbor. If you are from a small town but moved away and have gone back to visit your HS friends that still live there you will appreciate this film. The title refers to the fact that all the girls in the film are beautiful (except maybe Darian, who is physically beautiful but ugly inside) but most of the guys don't realize it until it's too late. I cannot recommend this movie enough!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "...Let's Walk Through This World Together...", December 25, 2011
This review is from: Beautiful Girls (Widescreen) (DVD)
*** THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE 2011 'UK RELEASED BLU RAY' ***

A should-be-doing-more-than-this-with-his-life William 'Willie' Conway (Timothy Hutton) takes a wad of crumpled notes out of a beer glass - slurps down his last whiskey of the night - and closes the lid on the bar's battered upright piano. With his dollar tips firmly wedged in his pockets, he then trudges through the cold streets of New York heading for the Port Authority building on 6th Avenue. Onboard the Greyhound bus and bound for his hometown in Massachusetts, he looks out through the neon-reflected glass and ponders what lies ahead. First will be his slightly loony family (Robert Bright and David Arquette play his monosyllabic Dad and simpleton brother) and worse - a high-school reunion full of memories, achievers and awkward questions. The big city boy who left Hicksville in the dust finally returns triumphant...or maybe not...

But while the seasons change in snowbound Knight's Ridge (his home town) - it seems little else does. Willie is met at the other end by his sorry-assed crew of former college buddies. Paul obsesses over his ex-vegetarian girlfriend Jan who is are now dating a meat-cutter (Michael Rapaport and Martha Plimpton) while his best buddy Tommy pushes a snow plough in suburban driveways which he quickly follows with some pushing of another man's wife (Matt Dillon and Lauren Holly). Watching all of this from the sidelines is Maz Perlich as the permanently squinting hat-wearing Kev who doesn't seem to want much from life except maybe a beer with his mates and a good hot meal - while the unexciting but steady Michael (Noah Emmerich) is a genuinely nice guy trying to hold down his job and keep his marriage together. Even Willie's 13-year neighbour (a cleverly cast Natalie Portman) acts weird towards him - developing an instant crush on the thirtysomething to the point where she asks him to wait 6 years until she's 18 and they can "...walk through the world together..." Willie is so confused about his place in life and women in general - at one point - it's an offer he seriously considers...

Then there are the other side of the relationship coin - the town's long-suffering women. Michael's wife is Sarah (a lovely Anne Bobby) - who is ever understanding and supportive. In fact most of the ladies of the town seem to exude stoical patience - they simply sigh and put up with their men's shortcomings and immaturity. Miro Sorvino's character Sharon loves Matt Dillon's character Tommy - but dies inside just once too often as he deposits his cockiness in someone else's bed. Michael Rapaport's character Paul festoons his walls with pictures of lingerie models because he is convinced they represent some kind of love nirvana - ladies who can do no wrong and bring only joy into your life simply because they're "...beautiful girls". The scene where Rosie O'Donnell bawls out the boys in a supermarket about obsessing over these fake fantasies in glossy magazines - is both brilliant and ball-breakingly funny. She makes a good point too. The boys do need to "...get a grip!"

And into this heady mix is thrown some genuine temptation - a visiting Uma Thurman who effortlessly knocks all the boys for six (even the faithful ones) as she wanders into their regular waterhole Stinky's bar (Pruitt Taylor Vince). The habitual womaniser Tommy and smooth musician Willie fancy their chances with her - while the less-attractive boys just fancy her but would never have the nerve to do anything about it. There later follows some delicious dialogue moments - Hutton's character half-heartedly wooing Thurman in the bar and ice-hut afterwards - and especially when Hutton is sparring with Natalie Portman about how she will grow up anyway and have a great life with her own memories to savour (even at 13 she showed extraordinary star quality and acting chops).

But when Willie's classy girlfriend Tracy finally flies in from New York to meet his family - she quietly wows them all. In fact they want to touch Willie to see how in God's name he got this lucky - she's a lawyer, she's warm-hearted, she's got the 'boob thing' going - Tracy is a catch and the clan Conway knows it (a lovely turn from Annabeth Gish). So Willie finally has to be mature now and decide...and on it goes to a wholly satisfying ending...

Directed by TED DEMME and written by SCOTT ROSENBERG - as you can see from the names above - this 1996 movie featured an extraordinarily good ensemble cast - and each of them given real meat to work with. The women's parts (even if they were merely a cameo) were so well written. It was popular at the time - effortlessly hip too - and is a smart choice for reissue on BR (UK released Oct 2011).

Transfer-wise - the BLU RAY picture is defaulted to fit the entire screen and is a vast improvement over the DVD (even if the opening credits to David A Stewart's score contain a few scratches and glitches). Once it gets to the snowbound town - day or night - the clarity is lovely and blemish free and really adds to the film's homely vibe. The outdoor sequences on the ice-rinks are particularly clear and eye-catching. It's a damn shame there's no extras though - a real let down.

To sum up - "Beautiful Girls" doesn't really seem to be about anything in particular - but nonetheless you enjoy its company immensely. It's like a good night out with the boys - or girls - or preferably both. "Beautiful Girls" is like life itself - enjoyable one moment - heartbreaking the next. It's just working out which one to side with.

My advice - go with this small movie with a big heart - and enjoy...

PS: Blink and you'll miss it 'cameo' is by JOHN SCURTI as a Greyhound Bus Ticket Dispenser at the beginning of the movie (barely gets 2 lines). He later became the leading character Kenny Shea in Denis Leary's superlative "Rescue Me" TV series about New York firemen post 9/11.

PPS: for other recent reissues on BLU RAY - see also reviews for:
"Amelie", "The Cider House Rules", "American Graffiti", "Bright Star", "Shakespeare In Love", "Love Actually", "A.I - Artificial Intelligence", "Bubba Ho-Tep", "Gone Baby Gone", "Michael Clayton" and "The Jane Austen Book Club" (Euro Issue)
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece of Movie-Making, April 22, 2002
This review is from: Beautiful Girls (Widescreen) (DVD)
"Beautiful Girls" is a movie that might have escaped your eyes, and unfortunately, that's a shame. For those of you who haven't seen it, you're missing one of the best films ever to be released in the 1990s, and with an ensemble -- yet not mega -- cast, the basic plot is rendered beautifully.
Revolving around a bunch of twentysomething friends awaiting their 10-year high school reunion, Beautiful Girls never makes us feel pity. Taking place in a small New England town during the winter, the characters never offer apologies for sticking around their bleak city streets. To them, it doesn't matter that they're plowing snow, cutting hair, or tending bar. The fact remains that the town is their home, and only Willy, Tim Hutton's character, is the "outsider" now. He's a piano-player who has returned from his big-city "life" to attend the reunion with his old pals.
But it's the title of the movie that gives it its life. When Uma Therman comes walking into the picture, everything changes. You see, each man has a "beautiful girl" in his life that affects him. For Matt Dillon's "Birdie," it's Mira Sirvino (Sharon, girlfriend) AND the delicious (but married) former high school girlfriend Lauren Holly (Darien). For Michael Rapaport (Paul), Martha Plimpton (Jan) is his main squeeze, but he's enamored with supermodels, as evidenced by his collection of centerfolds on his wall and his dog, "Elle MacPherson." To him, beautiful girls not only represent life -- they give it. In Mo's case (Noah Emmerich), he's the married one, dedicated to his wife and kids. As for Kev (Max Perlich), well, he's got his own issues. But Willie presents the most entertaining dialogue with his "girls." He's got his steady lawyer girlfriend Tracy (Annabeth Gish) coming into town, much to the dismay of the next-door neighbor, Marty, played with unabashed gusto by the beautiful Natalie Portman. Marty's age difference presents the real challenge to Willie, but the relationship is almost adult. Their dialogue is perhaps the best thing about the movie, and the viewer will actually come to realize why Willie is so infatuated with this 13-year-old "beautiful girl." Portman's character has a way of connecting with the male audience that needs to be seen.
But Uma Therman's Andera is actually the girl that comes and makes sense of each man's life. A big-city advertising exec, Andera can drink whiskey with the best of 'em, turn on the charm, and offer up wisdom and a helping hand to each of the guys. Her presence awakens the realization of every man in the movie that the best thing about their beautiful girls is the simple things. Although she seems to be "the perfect girl," she makes the guys come to realize that other men see their women in exactly the same light. She represents all the things that the men simply can't see in their beautiful girls. If they look more closely, it's all there.
Rosie O'Donnell makes a wonderful appearance in the movie as well, but Natalie Portman's Marty is the real reason to watch this one. She is simply sensational.
A great story with witty one-liners and some stuff that can make you shed a tear, "Beautiful Girls" won't easily be forgotten.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Middle-class life in suburban, February 5, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Beautiful Girls (Widescreen) (DVD)
Scott Rosenberg(screenplay writer of the movie) accomplishes something really amazing in this movie. You wont find heroes or heroines. You wont find an amazing story or spectacular scenary in this movie. You will actually find yourself. At least, I found myself. I found myself laughing, not because the jokes played in the movie and the characters are funny (although they really are). I found myself laughing at myself, because I see myself in the very same situations and quandaries that the characters go through. this movie very frankly describes middle class suburban life. I bet millions of people in the states live more or less the same life portrayed in the movie. What makes this movie great is not so much for its surprises, entertainments, or comedic elements. the thing that makes this movie really a great movie is the realism of the portrayal. What makes me really like this movie is the fact that this movie makes me feel comfortable, as if I am back at home.
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Beautiful Girls
Beautiful Girls by Natalie Portman (DVD - 2011)
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