Beastly directed by Daniel Barnz (movie)

Barnes, D. (Director). (2011). Beastly. [Motion Picture]. United States: Sony Pictures.

Genre: Romance, Self-image

Reading level/ interest age: 13+ movie rating, 15+ interest age

Plot summary:

Kyle is a typical, arrogant, and popular snob who gets off on treating people badly. One day, Kyle gets the brilliant idea of pulling a prank on a classmate named Kendra. She turns out to be a witch and curses him. Kyle’s outward appearance now reflects his inner self. No doctor is able to cure Kyle and he shuts himself up in his apartment with a blind tutor to help him keep up with school. Another classmate named Lindy passes by his window some weeks later. Lindy is attacked by a drug dealer and Kyle steps in to save her. He decides to keep her in his apartment in an attempt to have her fall in love with him. If Kyle cannot break his curse in the next few days, he will remain outwardly ugly for the rest of his life. Even with Lindy there to tame Kyle’s previous bad behavior, is there enough time to save him from the curse?

Reader’s annotation:

A new spin on the traditional story of Beauty and the Beast, Beastly will delight viewers. Follow the story of Kyle, the hottest boy in school, as he falls from popularity and into love with Lindy.

Information about the author:

“A veteran of Ivy League Yale University and the University of Southern California Film School, writer-cum-director Daniel Barnz spent almost a decade circulating his original scripts among the studios. [He] culled interest from a substantial roster of A-list talent including Jodie Foster and Mel Gibson, but could never actually cross the line and get one of the scripts produced. Barnz's fortunes shifted in late 2006, when his Phoebe in Wonderland -- an offbeat drama about a troubled young girl drifting ever more deeply into a fantasy world of her own design -- received a greenlight from executive producers Chris Finazzo and Doug Dey, with Barnz himself attached to direct. Released in 2008, it featured Elle Fanning, Felicity Huffman, and Patricia Clarkson in the cast” (Southern, 2014).

Curriculum ties: N/A

Booktalking ideas:

1.       Do you think the Kyle might be too overprotective?
2.       Do you think Lindy should have had a different reaction to Kyle’s protectiveness towards her?

Critical evaluation:

The design chosen for Kyle’s transformation is interesting. Instead of taking the traditional route of simply making him a beast, Kyle is depicted as disfigured. The black lines that snake across his body act almost like branches that move and grow depending on his inner ugliness. Viewers will pity Kyle because though he is mean to others, his curse and the consequences because of it are a brutal punishment. Perhaps the movie takes a stab at humanity’s distain for unbeautiful things.

Overall, the tone of the movie is hard to pin down. Neither overly dark nor light, viewers are left somewhere in the gray. Kyle and Lindy’s romance is unremarkable and the movie comes off as somewhat dull. The director seemed to try too hard to get a badly written screenplay off the ground. Beastly is an interesting take on the traditional story but viewers would probably be more impressed with the Disney version.

Why included:

Though not the best representation of this timeless classic, teens might still enjoy this version. I wanted to include it in the blog because different versions can be entertaining.

Southern, N. (2014). Full Biography. Retrieved August 25, 2014 from

No comments:

Post a Comment