Monday, October 12th, 2020

Eternal Beauty : is often on the inside


In 2010 at the age of 19 years old Welsh Actor  Craig Roberts had a breakthrough role in  Richard Ayoade‘s Submarine one of the most delightful and unexpected hits at Sundance Film Festival that year. He played Oliver Tate who had two objectives in life. To lose his virginity before his next birthday, and to extinguish the flame between his mother (played by Sally Hawkins) and an ex-lover who has resurfaced in her life.

Since the Roberts never seemed to stop working, and Hawkins played his mother again in Cary Joji Fukunaga’s take on Emma.

Now the pair are back together again with Roberts writing and directing his sophomore feature film Eternal Beauty starring the two-time Oscar Nominee Hawkins is  a very meaty role as a woman with paranoid schizophrenia.  It’s a dark comedy that both Roberts and Hawkins strive to portray this mental illness sympathetically, but still with a very fine sense of humor.

Hawkins plays Jane who was stood up at the altar in her early 20’s  which triggered her diagnosis a decade or two later.  Now she lives alone and wears oversized baggy clothes in a dreary small apartment on a concrete council estate.  Everything in her life is very beige.

She lives close by to her very dysfunctional family led by controlling passive/aggressive  matriarch (the wonderful Penelope Wilton taking a break from Downtown Abbey and playing ‘common’ for a change.)  Father is never allowed to speak but Jane’s sultry blond self-absrbed sister Nicola (Billie Piper) cannot hide her disdain for Jane and the rest of the family.

There is wonderful scene at the beginning of the film with Jane visiting the family on Christmas day carrying a pile of beautifully wrapped gifts.  She’s given up on her family ever buying her a present so this time she has bought some expensive gifts for herself.   As she opens them feigning surprise she demands that that they pay her back for the money she has laid out on their behalf.

It’s a slow moving plot and just as we think it is going nowhere,  Jane meets an old friend Mike (David Thewlis) in the doctor’s waiting room, and the two, equally paranoid, hit it off.  When they are both taking their medications life seems somewhat normal but  the moment they choose to stop taking them, back come the voices and noises at night and seeing giant spiders everywhere. 

Jane’s happiness may be reliant on the medication but in Robert’s finely nuanced story, it certainly cannot be on her family as each of them have different types of demons on their own.

You feel that only Hawkins could embody Jane as perfect as this.  In her sublime performance  she captures both  the vulnerability  of her but also her undying strength that no-one will recognize and acknowledge.  It is also her delivery of Jane’s very subtle humor that makes us both understand and love her even more.

What baffles us slightly is how someone as young as Roberts can so accurately  comprehend all the complications of paranoid to create this drama that we find we continue to absorb long after we have viewed it.

(Eternal Beauty is currently streaming on Amazon Prime, You Tube and Google Play )

Posted by queerguru  at  14:10

Genres:  dramedy

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