Films love to showcase the power of something seemingly ordinary or innocuous. Metaphors are a powerful tool to teach us lessons and of life - so what better way to do it than a lesson about life in the form of a garden? From brown dirt can bloom life, colour and happiness. ‘This Beautiful Fantastic’ is a quaint new British romance that’s almost the adult version of ‘The Secret Garden’ - a sickly, cantankerous male, the often overlooked, underappreciated help, and the lonely, empathetic outsider that ties them all together - and then of course there’s the garden.
Bella Brown (Jessica Brown Findlay, ‘Downton Abbey’) is an aspiring writer who lives a solitary life, wrapped up in her books and her OCD. She’s impeccably clean, has a toothbrush for every day of the week, her foods don’t tough each other on the plate, she’s perpetually late for work at the library ,and due to an unusual introduction to the world she has a fear slash loathing of nature. When her pathological neglect of her garden leads to a visit from her landlord, she’s given one month to turn things around or faces eviction. Her bitter neighbour and avid horticulturalist Mr Stevenson (Tom Wilkinson, ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’) reluctantly agrees to help Bella provided she return his in-house cook Vernon (Andrew Scott, BBC’s ‘Sherlock’) who has set himself up in Bella’s “employ” after an argument with Mr Stevenson. In addition to her gardening woes, Bella has a grumpy boss who’s itching to fire her and a budding romance with a local inventor (Jeremy Irvine, ‘War Horse’). All of these elements of friendship, love and a newfound appreciation for flora come together to free Bella from her shell, give light to new inspiration and a family she never knew she always wanted.
'THIS BEAUTIFUL FANTASTIC' TRAILER
Filled with a ubiquitous British cast of likeables, it is of course Andrew Scott who stands out as the boundaryless Vernon. The fact that he “feeds” everyone, on top of our protagonists’ name Bella Brown (i.e. - Beautiful Brown... i.e. - Ugly Duckling etc) should give you a hint as to the asinine nature of this film. And yet...
Sweet, charming and very British, ‘This Beautiful Fantastic’ makes light, easy and all-too-convenient work of its relationships and poor excuses for roadblocks. It’s predictable and clichéd, but at the end of the day that doesn’t stop it from being a mildly enjoyable effort you can watch with a nice cup of tea and a Hobnob.