The Beach (2000)

The Beach



Critic Consensus: Critics say The Beach is unfocused and muddled, a shallow adaptation of the novel it is based on. Points go to the gorgeous cinematography, though.

Movie Info

For his first major project after the overwhelming success of Titanic, Leonardo Di Caprio took a risky path in this adaptation of Alex Garland's acclaimed novel, directed by Danny Boyle. Richard (Di Caprio) is an American backpacking through Asia with a handful of friends from Europe. While in Bangkok, he meets a mad Scotsman who calls himself Daffy Duck (Robert Carlyle). Shortly before Mr. Duck kills himself, he gives Richard a crude map to a place in Thailand that he claims is paradise on … More

Rating: R (for violence, some strong sexuality, language and drug content)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Romance
Directed By:
Written By: John Hodge
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 9, 2001
20th Century Fox - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for The Beach

All Critics (132) | Top Critics (36)

A narrative that tries to juggle thriller elements, tons of pop culture imagery, and way too much philosophical baggage.

Full Review… | April 6, 2010
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Ultimately, it seems more bland than bad.

Full Review… | March 22, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

The Beach, designed to provoke audiences, stops for too many Hollywood moments to get the job done.

May 11, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Leo is surprisingly masculine, charming and effective in this stylish, gorgeous, but clumsily structured Nintendo-generation update of Lord of the Flies.

January 1, 2000
New York Post
Top Critic

The Beach taps into something powerful that can't be overwhelmed by individual moments of silliness.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

A mad assemblage of earlier, better bungle-in-the-jungle stories.

Full Review… | July 23, 2007

Audience Reviews for The Beach

Excellent story with breathtaking scenery set in Thailand. Leo's character Richard is an American tourist who embarks on an adventure to find a paradise island. But at what price? My favourite scenes are when Francoise pretends to be eaten by a shark, when they debate how they are to get down from the waterfall and the scene where they are together in the water. Excellent cast and soundtrack. Directed by Danny Boyle.

Candy Rose

Super Reviewer

The film goes all over the place and in the end barely saves itself. The acting is good but nothing special and Boyle's directing wasn't exactly there. More of an exercise with a big budget, Boyle uses new techniques to grab our attention but ultimately leaves most viewers unsatisfied.

paul o.
paul oh

Super Reviewer


This is the film adaptation of a novel about an American (British in the novel) backpacker named Richard traveling through Thailand to see the world and experience new things. Richard is getting fed up with the way the world has become, and, as luck would have it, he gets word of an oft talked about secluded island paradise off the Thai coast that few people know about, especially how to get there. It's the stuff of legends, but one day Richard meets a disturbed Scotsman named Daffy who tells him the island and its beach are real, and gives him a map to it before committing suicide.

Intrigued, and with nothing better to do, Richard meets up with a French couple and the three of them set out to find the isalnd and its beach, to see if maybe it really is thing they've all been looking for. They do manage to find it, but quickly learn that dreams of reaching a paradise are best left as dreams.

As a concept and a novel (I'm guessing, since I haven't read it). the scenario here is wonderful and works quite amazingly. With how it is done in this film however, it falls short of greatness and could have used some work. It does have some good things going for it though, so, even though I wanted more, I liked this enough to give it a pass.

This film was a bit of a rough transition period of DiCaprio. He had yet to shed the image movies like Titanic and Romeo + Juliet had given him, and he doesn't quite suceed at disposing of it here. He does decent enough, though I think diertor Danny Boyle's go to guy Ewan McGregor would have been a better fit. It's just too bad he and Boyle got into a dispute and the studio basically forced DiCaprio into things. Like I said, he's okay though, even though I think this character seems a little "typical" or obvious for someone like him. Tilda Swinton does a good job as the bigwig in paradise though, and Robert Carlyle does his thing as Daffy.

This film skirts around elements of subtext and deeper themes and messages, but mroe often than not, the focus is on hedonsim and half baked idealism. I know Boyle is a smart and talented filmmaker, so I'm not sure if he just didn't give a shit here, wanted to lighten it up, or if the studio was responsible. At least the film touches upon thigns even if it doesn't totally expound upon or focus on them like I hoped for.

Look, this film is flawed, and I am being pretty kind to it, but it isn't boring, and the music is nice too. The best things going for it, as you might have guessed, are the location shooting and the cinematography. This film picked a great place to shoot at, and the results don't disappoint. The landscapes look awesome, and even the scenes on the mainland really come alive. It just kinda sucks that the film sirals out of focus now and then. I'm okay with showing descents into madness, and bringing odd hallucinations to life, but the madness thign has been done far better, and I was easily reminded me of that since this film not so subtly features Apocalypse Now. Also I get why they have the video game sequence, but it just comes off as silly.

So yeah, I'm letting myself get won over against my better judgment, but look, I did address the issues I have, and I think I gave a pretty balanced account of things. I like this kind of movie, and it at least put forth some effort to be good, even if it didn't totally succeed.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

The Beach Quotes

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