Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The ugly consequences of repressed sexuality, with half-baked subtitles, March 2, 2013
This review is from: Beauty (DVD)
Beauty is a generally well-made movie about the ugly consequences of sexual repression in an intensely, violently homophobic society in South Africa (although it could just as well have been set in the United States or most other countries). The movie's few serious flaws—Deon Lotz is not believable as a gay man, even as a severely closeted and homophobic gay man; and Charlie Keegan is nowhere near the beauty the movie makes him out to be—in a way aren't really flaws at all, because those incongruities reinforce the fundamental impossibility of anything approaching health and sanity in such a perverted society. The true perverts are the homophobes, and this movie exposes them and portrays the hypocrisy, depravity and violence of their lives with great power and clarity.

The characters are bilingual; the movie's dialog is about 30% English and 70% Afrikaans, often switching back and forth several times within a single sentence. That would be okay if either both languages were subtitled (the best solution) or if the English were not spoken with a pronounced South African accent—but instead they chose to subtitle ONLY the words in Afrikaans.

Often I found myself wondering why the subtitles suddenly stopped in the middle of a sentence only to realize too late that they were speaking English now and I was supposed to know what they were saying. That's a big mistake. It would have cost them practically nothing to subtitle the English too, but they didn't. It became less of problem later in the movie just because I got used to it, but it never ceased to be a distraction. That's the main reason I deducted one star.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 7, 2013 11:10:11 AM PDT
Marcus Itoga says:
There is much more going on here than repressed sexuality. I do not believe that the main character is a closeted homosexual at all. What he lives out in his 'homosexuality' has very little to do with sex and all to do with domination and victimization. The sex he has within the group of his peers already shows that domination is what he's into and not engaging in mutual pleasure with another human of his own gender. Rape is about power and not sexuality. Once this painful realization sinks in, sexuality, or in this case homosexuality moves into the background. This is a film about a traumatized individual, who seeks others to live out his repressed trauma, most likely of rape, if you ask me. This has nothing to do with sexual desire. The main character, with his often frozen emotional expression, reminds of a psychopath, or better yet, sociopath. What has been repressed here by the main character is a traumatic event X, most likely a rape he has experienced himself at some point in his life. He relives this in various forms, and is apparently willing to give up everything in his life for it. Again, this has very little to do with sexuality, or homosexuality, and all to do with repeating a traumatic event from the past in the present moment. If something is half-baked here, it is the shallow psychology of the script writers.
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3.5 out of 5 stars (26 customer reviews)
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J. Martin
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Location: New York

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