When Jane (Sally Hawkins) is dumped at the altar she has a breakdown and spirals into a chaotic world, where love (both real and imagined) and family relationships collide with both touching and humorous consequences.
The cast of Eternal Beauty is a dream. The script is magic. Living somewhere between reality and the imagination, Jane exists in a constant state of determined anguish. Her solitary exacerbated by family members who treat her like a second class citizen. She is eccentric and lovable but most notably, mentally ill. She has a need to control her environment, it is her coping mechanism. Always waging war with herself on whether or not her medication is helping or hindering her stability. This is a film about family dynamics, self-discovery, honesty, and more specifically, one woman’s journey to understand herself.
David Thewlis is always a charmer, playing Mike as manic and uneven as we need him to be to match Hawkin’s energy. They have lovely chemistry. Doctor Who fans will be delighted to see both Billie Piper and Penelope Wilton as one of Jane’s sisters and her mother. Piper is the favorite daughter, having grown up to be a maneater who is terrible with money. Wilton is a cruel, domineering matriarch. It is clear that Jane’s affliction is hereditary. Bravo to both Piper and Wilton, they are quite a loathsome pair. Prevenge star, Alice Lowe is Jane’s only minute piece of saving grace. Lowe is sympathetic and worrisome with something but good intentions. She is the breath of relief the audience needs. This predominantly female cast is truly a character study.
Sally Hawkins is superb. She has such care for the physicality of each character she embodies. Truly becoming whomever she portrays. She is a pure joy to watch as she navigates the highs and lows. It would be no surprise if she were nominated for this role. She takes this rapid-fire dialogue and pounces on it. At times she is wickedly funny but never letting us forget that Jane’s world is something we will never fully grasp for better or for worse. This feels like the closest we’ll come to viscerally experiencing the mind of someone who is mentally ill. It is truly captivating.
Eternal Beauty is a complex and nuanced look at depression, self-worth, mental illness, and the meaning of happiness all in one quirky film. Writer/director Craig Roberts has delivered a meticulously crafted dramedy. Eternal Beauty is available today on VOD and digital.
Release Date: On VOD/digital October 2, 2020
Directed by: Craig Roberts
Cast: Sally Hawkins, David Thewlis, Alice Lowe, Billie Piper, Penelope Wilton
Specs: 94 min
Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films