Starring: Sally Hawkins, David Thewlis, Billie Piper
Director: Craig Roberts
Running Time: 95 mins
Eternal Beauty is a British film about a woman living with a mental illness, putting her on a rollercoaster as she encounters despair and bliss from day to day.
There are few films out there with such a perfect and wonderful view of the world, but Eternal Beauty is without doubt one of them. A unique joy from start to finish, the film is indeed a gripping and often challenging perspective on mental illness, but more a liberating, soaring story of independence and distinctiveness.
With stunning performances across the board, particularly from lead actress Sally Hawkins, as well as gorgeous directing from Craig Roberts, Eternal Beauty is a hypnotic delight that will grab you from the first moment and never let you go. It’s not always an easy watch, and there are times when it does briefly drag, but it’s all part of a truly beautiful story.
There’s so much to love about this film, but its humour is without doubt the best of all. From the very beginning, Eternal Beauty is full of sharp humour that had me laughing my socks off again and again. In tandem with the film’s subject matter, the comedy is in perfect taste, and fits in wonderfully with the story’s central message of never being solely defined by one thing in your life.
The comedy can be dark at times, it can be awkward at others, and it can be completely ridiculous at others, but the consistent thread is that it’s always fantastically funny. Sally Hawkins is so lovable in the lead role that it’s impossible not to laugh along with her as she deconstructs the world of ‘normal’ people, challenging depression as she blossoms in her own unique way.
It would be so easy to make a film about mental illness and stay completely serious, only focusing on the devastation that it can cause without even a glimmer of light. Eternal Beauty isn’t like that, however, and its commitment to always showing a positive turn as well as the harsh realities of its subject matter is absolutely commendable, and an example of why we should always take the time to turn around and laugh at ourselves.
Craig Roberts’ screenplay is so genuine and so heartfelt, much like Hawkins’ spellbinding performance. From its use of humour to its candid approach to mental illness, Roberts and Hawkins are able to bring the film’s core message about being independent – no matter how – to life in utterly gorgeous fashion.
The film may be a bit of a rollercoaster at times, but it’s first and foremost a story that will make you laugh and smile. That’s not to say it avoids the harder truths of life, but it also looks at those truths, accepts them, and then looks ahead to a brighter moment in time.
Right to the last moment of the film, Eternal Beauty is so passionate about its message, concluding on a note of soaring joy the likes of which I haven’t seen in a very long time.
It’s funny, emotional and achingly beautiful from start to finish, and a gorgeous and memorable example of why humour, eccentricity and personal independence are the keys to a life that’s as happy as can be. And that’s why I’m giving Eternal Beauty an 8.5 overall.