8 January 2007 | ms_woo
Love A Beautifully Brutal Thing
At that Black Man Film Festival in Atlanta, 2006, this movie was billed as a documentary it isn't, but that's how real it feels.
It's an involving tale of two people trying to make sense of their lives and, whilst struggling with fledgling creative careers, trying to find validation through their relationship with each other, as so many of us tend to do.
It's interesting and well observed how the female lead, Schola, needs more and more from her relationship as her world outside of it fails to offer her the validation she craves as an actress, as a black woman, as a success
While the male lead, Gabe, gradually extricates himself emotionally from the relationship in order to focus and try to make strides in his elusive film-making career. What they end up with is a strained sexual relationship and a gradual refusal of the very thing they both sought of each other in the beginning of their relationship affection, admiration, adulation... Affirmation.
It's refreshing to see black actors in roles that don't require playing "up" being black. The characters are not overly funny, overly cool, overly rhythmic, overly "black..." They're simply human, with all the beauty and flaws that being human entails.
It's also a refreshingly realistic look at love and its pitfalls and, like the director's use of New York as a backdrop, does not rely on glossy images and hackneyed ideas of romance and idealism where everything inevitably ends up happily ever after.
Instead, "Beautiful Things" reflects the anxieties, the joys, the fears, and the uncertainties that we generally encounter in our romantic liaisons and is a perfect example of art imitating life to the extent that, despite it's naïve beauty, it makes you forget that it's art at all.