Beauty (Skoonheid)

2011

Beauty (Skoonheid)

Critics Consensus

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84%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 19

59%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 276

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Movie Info

A man leading a double life finds his obsessions leading him in a dark, troubling direction in this drama from South African filmmaker Oliver Hermanus. Francois (Deon Lotz) is a South African businessman in his mid-forties who on the surface seems to be an ordinary, happily married, and respectable citizen. But beneath the surface Francois seethes with resentment; as an Afrikaner, he distrusts and dislikes the blacks who have risen to political power since the end of apartheid, and while he's openly homophobic, he's sexually attracted to men and takes part in periodic group sex sessions with other white, married men. While attending his daughter's wedding, Francois sees Christian (Charlie Keegan), the handsome twenty-something son of a longtime family friend, and he quickly becomes obsessed. Francois pays a visit to Christian's parents to find out more about him, and begins following the younger man as he struggles with his desires. Francois is attracted to Christian, but he also sees in him a man who is comfortable with himself and the world around him, and his lust eventually gives way to a hatred that seems poised to explode into violence. Deon Lotz's performance in Skoonheid (aka Beauty) earned him the Golden Eye Award as Best Actor at the 2011 Zurich Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Beauty (Skoonheid)

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (3)

  • Few more truthful-seeming dramas about sexual repression have appeared in recent years than this one from Oliver Hermanus.

    April 20, 2012 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Lotz gives the story a tragic dimension.

    April 19, 2012 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • This queered state of a nation is tense, quietly sad and yes, beautiful.

    April 19, 2012 | Rating: 4/5
  • A skilfully-made romantic tragedy which weighs far more heavily towards the darker side-effects of physical attraction than it does towards the comfortable love stories we're so often presented with.

    January 8, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Arguably one of South Africa's greatest films, this is a work so emotionally wrenching that it will dwell with you for years to come.

    November 6, 2018 | Rating: 5/5
  • Beauty frustrates and disturbs in equal measures.

    July 19, 2017 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Beauty (Skoonheid)

  • Sep 23, 2011
    <i>Beauty</i> (aka <i>Skoonheid</i>) is a beguiling, disturbing masterpiece made with utmost skill and acted with sincerity. It concerns Francois - a man leading a double life; his workaholic, married parental life, and his compartmentalised, separate life as a man who is attracted to other men. The opening sequence, a one-take, bravura shot at a wedding party that focuses gradually through the crowd until it fixes on that of a young man (which is revealed to be the point of view of Francois), fantastically gives you all the pre-knowledge you need. We learn that the young man is Christian - Francois' nephew by marriage, and the literal object of his suppressed affection. The film details Francois' struggle to deny his impulses and how he ghettoises his life to try and get by, and how this ultimately fails him. For reasons that would spoil the plot, <i>Beauty</i> is definitely a disturbing film but our sympathy is always with Francois, even when he is making questionable and downright shocking decisions. Very much a political film that indirectly deals with South Africa's sometimes appallingly homophobic culture, <i>Beauty</i> takes its time and somehow concurrently does *so much* within its reasonably short running time. The camerawork and photography is superb, with obscured shots speaking volumes about character and enhancing silences (there's a spectacular sequence at a beach that is dark, tense and engrossing), the performances from Deon Lotz and Charlie Keegan (surely one to watch) are breathtaking. Refreshingly, we aren't given full reasons nor see full consequences of actions - for example we don't hear both sides of phone conversations, or hear what is not within Francois' earshot, and much of the concluding 15 minutes are left for the audience to pick apart if they so wish. The ending shot, following Francois' POV as he leaves a downward-spiralling road, speaks volumes about all the things left unsaid. Despite the depressing and downbeat content, <i>Beauty</i> is massively important and, appropriately, brilliant cinema.
    Daniel P Super Reviewer

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