This week on DVD and Digital HD from writer/director Simon Aboud is a lovely tale of growth in many ways in THIS BEAUTIFUL FANTASTIC.
Bella Brown (Jessica Brown Findlay) isn’t your ordinary young woman. Obsessively neat, precise in every way and a bit of a shut in, she works at the local book store. Staying to herself, an unexpected storm brings an accident that puts her face to face with cranky neighbor Alfie (Tom Wilkinson).
Not wanting to do any more than is necessary to help; Bella also meets Vernon (Andrew Scott), Alfie’s cook who is berated constantly by the elderly gentleman. When Vernon decides to cook for Bella, Alfie goes ballistic and fires him. Not that Vernon minds especially when Bella hires him.
Bella tells the young cook that she can’t pay him; Vernon is fine with that considering Alfie still has to pay him for a few months. Well, Alfie isn’t about to let it all go without a fight and Bella is introduced to it when her landlord shows up for an inspection and dismayed at the condition of the back yard.
Giving her thirty days to restore it, Vernon can’t help due to hay fever and Bella hates the outdoors! Yet the prospect of being homeless brings her gloves and shovel out of retirement. Frustrated and to the point of giving up, Alfie makes a deal that will keep him fed by Vernon’s deliciousness and put Bella on good terms with her landlord.
Then she meets Billy (Jeremy Irvine), a young man who captures her imagination with his creations. Believing she had found something special, is devastated when both her heart and her garden are ravaged by an emotional and literal storm.
Soon she learns that her world is about to become more beautiful than she could have ever imagined.
Findlay as Bella is so lovely as a young woman who clearly has kept herself to herself. She has the potential to be so much more but doesn’t realize it until three of the most different men come into her life to show support, friendship, loyalty and love. In that she blossoms beautifully.
Wilkinson as Alfie is as amazing as he always is. A gentleman who lives by himself and sees little in life but his garden, he isn’t all that different than Bella. When the two get past their differences, they see their differences aren’t different at all.
Scott as Vernon is funny with his hay fever and pretty amazing chef. Although constantly irritated by Alfie, there is a bond between the two that Vernon nourishes and even appreciates even if he doesn’t show it.
Irvine as Billy is a young man who sees something in Bella and it is the thing she doesn’t see in herself. Seeking her out at every moment, he wants to know more about her and loves the story her mind has created.
Other cast include Anna Chancellor as Bramble, Sheila Hancock as Mother Superior, and Eileen Davies as Milly.
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THIS BEAUTIFUL FANTASTIC gets four sunflowers out of five for beautiful storytelling if nothing else. Just an ethereal look at a young woman who may be different in the eyes of many with her OCD compulsions and outlook on life but truly is as easy to love.
The characters are complex yet drawn to each other in the most amusing way filled with insecurities and a great capacity of love and understanding. Something those rough edges can be smoothed with a little bit of time and a good gardening tool.
Every one in the cast brings so much to the story and I am in awe of them all. I absolutely love this film and everything about it with an ending that is heartfelt and giving.
In the end – grow your own happiness!