In general the acting was good, but... Emma Thompson? What was she thinking to take on a role so one-dimensional? Serafine is pure hatred on a stick and while she has some good lines, she's very much a one-note character.

I can't leave off without mentioning the theologically suspect, extremely offensive, Christian-bashing aspects of this picture. The so-called Christians in the film are all caricatures, a choice that does nothing for the story and much to offend. These bigoted, hate-filled, ugly-to-the-bone church people have more in common with the KKK than with Christ. They turn prayer into mockery, using it to attack Lena in the classroom and snarling it at her family’s home. The witches, in their turn, mock God and his creations at every opportunity. But the straw that broke this reviewer’s back was when Serafine—while possessing the body of the town’s least Christ-like church lady—sashayed around the altar of a church, flipping the cover of the Bible with disdain and dabbing water from the baptismal font behind her ears like perfume, all the while ranting about humans "inventing ideas like God and love…"

Beautiful Creatures is muddled and lacking in coherence. As a Southerner, I found it stereotyped and frequently stupid. As a Christian, I found it insulting and offensive. With all due respect to the lady who "loved it" and the multitude of the novel’s fans, I cannot recommend it.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol: Wine and beer both consumed at different times by teens/adults; references to hangover.
  • Language/Profanity: The f-word is absent, but other common profanities appear. The Lord’s name is taken in vain.
  • Sex/Nudity:  Kissing and fairly heavy (though not always believable) make-out scenes. Teen sex suggested but not shown. Bare back of woman shown during séance. Suggestive lingerie worn as clothing by a “siren” who has the power to make men do whatever she wants. Some cleavage.
  • Violence: Boy mimes suicide by shooting himself with finger. Jokes about going to hell. New girl in school mocked by classmates. Vines/tree roots attack various characters. “Caster” causes violent car wreck; unclear if driver survives. Boy lured to death by siren, hit by train. Several characters die, some in prolonged death scenes. Some beg for their lives before death. Boys shoot each other. Repeated battle scenes with casualties; some by gunshot, some by witchcraft.
  • Spiritual Concerns: A boy is shown in enforced prayer and later asks, “How does love and Jesus make a woman go crazy?” Girl admits to being witch although "we prefer the term ‘casters’." Boy asks "Satan has nothing to do with y’all, right?" but doesn’t get a clear answer. Woman calls herself a "seer" and conducts séance at gravesite. Ethan calls the library his church, saying his mother took him there to “celebrate what’s holy: books.” After reading philosophy tome he refers to the author, exclaiming “This man is a god!” Girls obnoxiously “pray” as a form of bullying. Man puts boy under spell, forcing him to spout words clearly not his own. A mob of self-righteous, hate-filled, so-called “Christians” attempt to cast out demons. A witch brings her dead lover back to life via a forbidden spell, resulting in a generational curse. Halloween is celebrated with the usual decorations. Boy is placed under spell that leaves him unable to speak. A book of spells is called “alive” (a mockery of the living Word of God). One character declares that “God created all things—only man decides which ones are mistakes” but another says fate is “predetermined by the three elements.” Possessed woman sashays around the altar of a church, disrespecting the setting, the Bible, and the baptismal font while ranting about humans "inventing ideas like God and love…"

Publication date: February 14, 2013