Beautiful Thing (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes

Beautiful Thing (1996)



Critic Consensus: An engaging slice of life drama that happens to double as a gay coming-of-age story, Beautiful Thing captures its place and time with deceptive depth and skill.

Movie Info

In this alternately somber and witty coming-of-age drama, a pair of teenage boys growing up in a working-class neighborhood become aware of their homosexuality. Introspective Jamie (Glen Berry) is the son of Sandra (Linda Henry), a tough but warm-hearted barmaid who lives in a public housing block in a rough-and-tumble section of South London. Living a few doors away is Jamie's classmate Ste (Scott Neal), an athletic type who often has to take a beating from his hard-drinking father and hard-headed brother. One night, Jamie and Sandra discover that Ste has been kicked out of the apartment and has nowhere to spend the night; Jamie lets him stay at his place, and a casual closeness eventually stirs sexual feelings. While both were vaguely aware they might be gay, neither had ever acted on their impulses, and once Jamie and Ste decide that they're attracted to each other, neither is sure just what to do. Tony (Ben Daniels), Sandra's boyfriend, doesn't know what to think about Jamie's new lifestyle. Meanwhile, Jamie and Ste are themselves a bit puzzled by their neighbor Leah (Tameka Empson), a teenager obsessed with the life and music of Mama Cass Elliott. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Linda Henry
as Sandra Gangel
Glen Berry
as Jamie Gangel
Scott Neal
as Ste Pearce
Daniel Bowers
as Trevor Pearce
Beth Goddard
as Brewery Official
Anna Karen
as Marlene
Liane Ware
as Claire
Dave Lynn
as Drag Performer
Jonathan Harvey
as Wheelchair Queen
Meera Syal
as Miss Chauhan
Martin Walsh
as Mr Bennett
Steven M. Martin
as Ryan McBride
Garry Cooper
as Ronnie Pearce
John Benfield
as Rodney Barr
Davyd Harries
as Brewery Official
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Critic Reviews for Beautiful Thing

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (11)

Beautiful Thing might be the most beloved of all the gay-youth movies released in the late 90s

April 27, 2003 | Full Review…

Because the film is so effective for its first two-thirds and because it has its heart in the right place throughout, audiences may be willing to forgive its final third.

February 14, 2001 | Full Review…

Represents a keen, personal look at the difficulties of growing up gay in a heterosexual world.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Reminds me of some of Jonathan Demme's early movies, where ordinary people are celebrated for their eccentricities but not condescended to.

January 1, 2000

In portraying romance, the film transcends its homosexual themes, while at the same time celebrating them.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

If Beautiful Thing were any more sensitive, it would faint.

January 1, 2000

Audience Reviews for Beautiful Thing

I'm going to hold off on providing a higher rating for this film which probably deserves it solely for the touching nature of the two leads and how they interact with one another. What loses the film points is unlikelihood of the eventual acceptance of the couple and a plodding side story that adds nothing to the central picture other than minutes.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Touching film with quite capable actors. As an American, however, I must say that it was often difficult to follow the dialogue due to the thick accents and use of unfamiliar British slang. Despite this difficulty, I would recommend this movie highly to an American looking for a well-done, meaningful LGBT film.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer

It's a sweet coming of age tale. Set in 1995 it was great to see in the background some Batman Forever candy holders. I used to have these and they were coooool. Anyway the film deals with its subject splendidly and avoids cliche, however as a byproduct of this it also seems to avoid any real conflict. Though it is good to see a guy bullied who isn't bothered by it. Ben Daniels is brilliant as the caring but clueless Tony but the real stand out is Tameka Empson as the Mama Cass obsessed youth. She lights up the screen and steals every moment she's in. A nice script that fashions its scenarios via realistic set-ups although the end dance is a BIT much.

Luke Baldock
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

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