Beautiful Creatures directed by ISBN: 9781622243037
Plot Summary: Everyone believes Lena, the newcomer to town, to be trouble. She is from the Duchannes family, which is rumored to be involved in dark magic. That doesn’t matter to Ethan. His town is boring enough, and she reminds him of a girl he’s been seeing in his dreams, a girl he believes he is supposed to find. The two realize that they can read each other’s minds and share the same visions when they touch of two star crossed lovers from the Civil War. It turns out the rumors are right; Lena is from a family of spell casters, and on her 16th birthday she will either turn Light or Dark. Most of her family would like to see her turn Light, but her mother and cousin have other plans, and have some tricks up their sleeves. Can Lena find a way to keep from turning dark? Can she save Ethan from dying as a result of her turning?
Critical Evaluation: This was not my kind of movie. I’m not generally interested in supernatural or paranormal love stories, though I will read some if they come highly recommended. I had heard mixed responses from my coworkers about this book, but since the movie just came out on DVD, I thought it would be a good representation of the kind of teen book adaptations that are currently being made. I struggled with the main characters’ innate attraction to each other. I need love (or friendship) to be proven to me, and find it hard to suspend disbelief when it comes to plots where the main characters just know that they are in love in their guts. So, from the start, I had an issue with that, which was somewhat difficult to look past.
I also felt like the dialogue was a little stilted. With storylines that involve love at first sight, I find that the way those lovers interact usually rings rather false. This movie incorporated a bit of small talk, getting to know conversation, but very quickly turned into serious, relationship conversations of the “But Daddy I love him!” variety. For someone who liked the book and this kind of story, I imagine that the movie is satisfying. Actors are talented and there is quite a bit of action throughout the movie, with scenes like Lena losing her temper and shattering the classroom windows pretty early on. The climax of the story was exciting and, as the books are sequels, left enough on the table to wonder about, while still resolving all the most pressing issues.
Reader’s Annotation: Everyone says Lena Duchannes is trouble; a witch. But Ethan knows she is the girl he has dreamt about, and that they are meant to be together, no matter the obstacles. And there are obstacles: dark witches, the uppity members of the town, and a curse that could kill Ethan.
Information about the director: Richard LaGavenese was born in 1959 in Brooklyn, New York. He is most well-known for his screenplays. He has been nominated for an Academy Award for his original screenplay of “The Fisher King.” He is currently married with one daughter.
Genre: Fantasy Movie
Curriculum ties, if any: It is an interesting portrayal of the south and the culture there. It also brings up the Civil War and has a reenactment, but I can’t really see this being related enough in that sense. Perhaps the history surrounding the spell casters is based in mythology, which could be explored in a history class or religious studies class.
Booktalking Ideas: The book has been compared to “Twilight,” so I might mention that. Otherwise, I would play the trailer.
Reading Level/Interest Age: Characters are sophomores in high school.
- Witch like characters
- Sexual Material
- First, I would want to be familiar with the movie. As I’ve seen this movie, I’d be aware of potential issues that could be challenged. In the case of an item I was not familiar with, I would want to have access to reviews.
- Then I would put together a rationale for why this movie is included in the collection. This rationale would include:
- Bibliographic Citation of the movie.
- A description of who the movie is best suited for.
- A summary of the movie and applicable other information, such as biographical information about the director.
- My justification for including the movie. This would include how it fits in with the selection policy and library mission statement, and include its educational significance if applicable or the impact it could have on readers.
- Copy of selection policy and library mission statement at my library.
- ALA Library Bill of Rights
- Good and bad reviews of the movie
- Alternative works a student could read or watch
- Reconsideration form if patron is not satisfied with rationale
- When talking to patron, I would listen to their concerns without getting on the defensive and attempt to sympathize with their concerns. In some cases, all an upset patron needs is to be able to vent and know that someone is listening to them.
- If needed, I would send the challenge up the chain of command.
This meets the recreational needs of teens and encourages teens to read the book.
Why did you include this movie? : The book was very popular, and I imagine that a lot of teens who read the book, and even some who did not were interested in this movie. The trailers were very exciting, which helps.
Richard LaGavenese biography. Film Reference. Retrieved from http://www.filmreference.com/film/15/Richard-Lagravenese.html