Brave, empathetic study of schizophrenia
- Eternal Beauty review by PD
This brave, meticulously crafted piece is for the most part very successful at giving us an empathetic portrayal of schizophrenia. Most films about mental illness tend to use “normal” characters to provide an outside perspective on the subject’s illness, but instead Roberts lets Jane herself (superbly played by Sally Hawkins) be our guide, which has the result we are unable to differentiate between reality and delusion since she herself cannot do the same.
There's some dark humour en route, notably a Christmas present-giving scene involving thoroughly bemused relations, but on the whole it's a heartbreaking film, for Roberts doesn't attempt to shy away from the fact that Jane is a lost soul, trapped inside a mind walled off into sections between her present and past self / selves.
Sometimes the script isn't quite strong enough to cope with the sheer complexity of what's being shown, and the sections involving Jane's relationship with fellow psychiatric patient Mike are a bit awkward, but generally speaking this is strong stuff, and is all the better for not giving us a neat and tiny narrative arc or any sort of cathartic conclusion.
7 out of 8 members found this review helpful.
Quirky and well acted
- Eternal Beauty review by TH
First thing this is really well low budget film. The script is decent and the subject matter dealt with in a very quirky way. The acting from Sally Hawkins is fantastic and makes you really feel for her.
The reason for giving this 2 stars is for me the film isnt a film I would choose to watch again. The story is quite quirky and nothing stands out.
So overall it's a well made and decently acted film but not sure I would say an instant classic.
4 out of 7 members found this review helpful.
Thoughtful and moving
- Eternal Beauty review by JB
The wonderful Sally Hawkins plays Jane, a woman living with schizophrenia in this movie from Welsh actor turned writer-director Craig Roberts.
Its an empathetic and thoughtful portrait - Hawkins' character is not a victim: she has agency, intelligence and the ability to live a full life in spite of her condition. If anything, it's her family who are more of an impediment for her life although they are drawn very broadly - her deceiving sister (a sour Billie Piper) and her controlling mother (Penelope Wilton) in particular. Her other sister, played by Alice Lowe, is a shining beacon of love although is arguably also quite a two-dimensional character. Jane also suffers heartbreak from a man who jilted her at the alter.
Roberts borrows heavily from the visual styles of Wes Anderson and Michel Gondry here, which mostly works when depicting Jane's inner world although occasionally comes across as gilding the lily. But it does create a suitably jarring visual language to depict Jane's illness.
Although the shining star is Sally Hawkins, this flawed, offbeat look at mental illness is definitely worth a watch because of its thoughtfulness.
3 out of 5 members found this review helpful.