This Beautiful Fantastic {2017}

You know how occasionally you'll find a trailer and it just looks so good and you get super psyched for it and then finally you get to see the movie, and even though it had the potential to be a letdown, like any movie you're excited about does, it isn't -- it's actually just as amazing as you thought and hoped it'd be and so afterward you're just like 

Basically, that.

Set against the backdrop of a beautiful London garden, this contemporary fairy tale stars Jessica Brown Findlay and Tom Wilkinson.  Facing eviction in a month if she can't resurrect the dying garden in her backyard, reclusive librarian Bella Brown (Findlay) meets her grumpy next-door neighbor (Wilkinson), who happens to be a talented horticulturist.  As the two form an unlikely friendship, Bella begins to wonder if she can revive both the garden -- and her dreams of becoming a children's book author -- in this magical, witty film about life and love, also starring Andrew Scott and Jeremy Irvine.  {synopsis from the back cover}

This movie is very much "a yes from me."  I loved it.  I know I throw that word around pretty flippantly, but I really can see this one becoming a favorite.  It had a way of nestling quietly, placidly, and contentedly into my heart.  Everyone connects with different movies, and I definitely connected with this one.  It has a soothing, gentle presence, even though (in my opinion) it's a fully well-rounded movie with depth and humor and happiness by turns.  It's not always sunshine and roses, but then again, it is, too -- that's sort of the whole point.  I felt peaceful after watching it.  It completely (or almost completely) satisfied my story sense, and it's just what one needs now and again.

In style, it reminds me of Penelope; it's similar in color palette, quirkiness of characters, and uniqueness of theme.  That isn't to say that on the surface it's the most original thing ever, but some of the themes underlying it aren't ones you see every day in a movie.

It gives a sweet, sympathetic, non-victimizing look at some struggles such as OCD (I think?) and phobias.  

It recognizes and celebrates the fact that most of us have a bit of oddball in us, and (as a dear friend was recently telling me) there's nothing wrong with that -- there are people who will love us in a multitude of ways just as we are.

It's a love letter to plants and the people who care about them.  That first scene in Alfred's garden makes you feel that vibrant, impressionistic energy flowers have; it makes you remember greenhouses and the moist, sweet air inside them, and the buzzing, humming, happy activity that seems to permeate a plant-filled space, even while there's an equally coexistent hush and stillness.

The characters are infiltrative little things, grabbing your heart so quickly you're surprised.  And it's not just the primary characters -- there's one secondary who really touched me, too.

All of the actors nail their roles.  Jessica Brown Findlay does a flawless Bella Brown.  Tom Wilkinson is excellent as always.  Billy is what you might call precious, and the way Jeremy Irvine was able to portray his nervous energy and occasional stammer was really good.  AND AND Andrew Scott's Vernon is probably my favorite.  (But I don't know.  'Cause I love Bella and Alfred too.  I can't really have any of those three without the other two, ya feel me?  They needs each other, sweet little trio that they are. <3)

Seriously, I loved Vernon!!!  Andrew Scott maaayy have had some rather biased brownie points awarded him because of you-know-what *ahem*, but he just played Vernon so well, man.  Someone fangirl with me about Vernon, okay?  Pretty-please?

[Because for real like the scene below when he and Alfred are interrogating Billy ("Yeah, I know, I'm trying to test him out") . . . and his first scene . . . and his relationship with Bella, and how he tried to make her answer when she had locked herself in her room by threatening to spill crumbs . . . and . .  ]

There are so many little things about this movie that I loved.  Here's a list: 

* I like how it takes its time depicting the garden's transformation -- it doesn't magically become a bower in the space of a few three-minute montages.

* The librarian lady.  Am I right or am I right.  (I'm right.)


* I like how some of the film quality isn't 100% pristine.  It makes it seem more real.  Like, during that one scene in Bella's bedroom when she's been crying and Alfred's talking with her, the lighting isn't perfect and the image is a little grainier and dust mite-y.  AND THAT'S COOL.  Because it was probably that time of day when the blinds would be partially drawn and the light would be creating a very specific sort of "aura" in the room, and they captured it.  So I think that's pretty neat. :)

* The lovely, completely perfect soundtrack.

* The ending was perfect (except for one thing which I'll talk about below).

And now we come to my one dissatisfaction with the movie, but it involves spoilers, so use caution, eh, what!

*SPOILERS!*  I shipped Bella with Vernon more than with Billy.  So I was actually sort of on-board when Bella thought she saw him with someone else.   As I said before, Billy is precious and I do love him, but I did want Bella to end up with Vernon more.  So, that's rather disappointing. :-/  But the rest of the movie is so beautifully done, and at least Billy is a good "second choice," so I don't think it'll affect my love for the movie that much.  (But then again it IS quite disappointing . . . )  So, anyway, while I wish that had turned out differently, I'm willing to let it slide. ;)  *END OF SPOILERS*

I could ramble on about all my favorite parts of the movie and the myriad reasons why I loved it, but I think you'll have to watch it for yourself.  And I hope you do, because it's wonderful. <333

Here's to Bella Brown "and future generations of spectacularly dysfunctional artists."




    I was gonna review this movie and you beat me to it!!

    Just kidding, I don't mind ;) But I was most excited to hear your thoughts on it!

    I AM SO GLAD YOU LIKED IT. I LOOOOOOVED THIS MOVIE SOOOO MUCH.It was just such absolute sweetness, and cuteness and just GAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!

    VERNON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *Jumps up and down and squeals and claps and jumps some more* Never fear, I will fangirl with you over him ALL DAY!!! He's just... I mean he's... *clutches heart* <3 <3 <3

    ALL THOSE SCENES YOU MENTIONED. YES. YES. AND YES. I did a post recently where I talked about him and Bella, and I plan to do a post entirely devoted to him when I can manage to get my inner- fangirl under control ;)

    The Billy Interrogation!! Hahaha LOVED THAT PART. And that quote. "I know, I'm trying to test him out, see if he changes his story." <3 <3

    And Alfred was awesome as well!!

    Vernon: Gently does it now.
    Alfred: Of course.
    Also Alfred: BELLA!! Open the door!!

    The Librarian Lady!! She was awesome!! The Luna story, Yeeeees. And the ending was wonderful! <3

    I AM SO GLAD I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO SHIPS HER AND VERNON!!! Like you said, Billy WAS a sweetheart and I really like him, but there was still a part of me that really wanted Bella and Vernon to happen. This is the topic I talked about in the post I mentioned above. (Plus, Vernon's absolutely adorable daughters needed a new mom, and Bella woulda been perfect...)

    I loved reading this review Olivia!! This was such a sweet movie <3 :D

    1. Miss Woodhouse, aaaaahhhhh, your comment made me so happy! <3 I'M SO GLAD TO HAVE SOMEONE ELSE WITH WHOM TO FANGIRL ABOUT THIS LITTLE CONFECTION OF A MOVIE. <3333

      ABSOLUTELY AGREED ON VERNON. HE IS A LOVE. And yes, I definitely wish he and Bella had ended up together. *gasp* You wrote a post about him and Bella?!?! *reads it and agrees with everything* I know what you mean about the scene where he wakes Bella up and she's talking about Billy and there's that brief glimpse of sadness in his eyes. And, strangely, I kind of like it that it's there? 'Cause I find it sort of validating for shipping Vernon and Bella -- I think he WOULD have wanted a relationship with her at some point; we're not just "seeing things." You know what I mean?


      Hahaha, he and Alfred were perfect together. "Oh-ho, quite the Celtic Braveheart, aren't we, when we've got an audience."


      Basically, yes. Yes to all. :D

      Thank you so much! Your comment was fantastic (hehe ;))! <3

  2. OKAY SO I AM PUMPED TO SEE THIS MOVIE. Jeremy Irvine seems like the most adorable man ever. XD And I DIDN'T KNOW ANDREW SCOTT WAS IN IT! That makes me even more excited to see it. :)

    1. Evangeline, YAAASSS SEE IT!!! They're all adorable, precious cinnamon rolls. <3

    2. I JUST SAW IT AND HAD TO COMMENT AGAIN. I agree 100% about wishing Bella had ended up with Vernon. They could have been a little family!!!

    3. Super late reply but I KNOW RIGHT IT IS A DREADFUL ARTISTIC INJUSTICE. And I'm still a little smad about it, much as I love the film. :-P

  3. There's nothing like finding that movie that just clicks with you! It's just everything you love somehow wrapped up in a delightful package!

    This movie looks darling and I definitely need to check it out. Just the picture of Bella in the garden. SOOOO pretty!!

    1. Exactly! It's wonderful to think about. <3

      Yes, definitely! It really is darling. And yes, the look of it is so beautiful, too. :D

  4. Okay, I need to see this. It looks utterly gorgeous and whimsical and perfect for me. Plus, Andrew Scott. ;)

    1. Eva, YES! Do try it! It's basically everything you said. <3 "Plus, Andrew Scott," indeed. ;D

    2. I did watch it and was thoroughly charmed. ANDREW SCOTT WAS SO GOOD.

  5. Okay! Now I need to watch this movie. It sounds amazing.

  6. Oh!!! This sounds 'fantastic'!!!! :D

    Nice review!! :D

  7. Oh, this looks so good! (And I want to watch it so much I was a good girl and didn't read the spoilers. :D)

    It all sounds so appealing, but honestly, as soon as Andrew Scott's name was mentioned, you had me. ;D

    1. Gabby, I'm proud of you! Haha ;D

      I KNOW RIGHT. But yes. All of it is wonderful and you must try it and see what you think. :)

  8. This sounds like such a fantastic movie!:) It's so great to find those "ahhh" *sigh of delight* go-to movies that just make you happy inside.:D

    1. Christina, it really is! 'Tis one of my favorite things. <3 :D

  9. I wish to watch. *nods emphatically*

    I love all the pretty colors here. I've recently come to conclude that color, more than almost any other factor, is what influences how I feel about a movie--and the colors here look FANTASTIC. So much purple. I love purple. Definitely going to check this one out.

    Yes, indeed. You are precious just as you are--and so am I, and so is everyone. Oddities, quirks, and all. <3 <3 <3

    1. Jessica, I wish you to watch, too. *nods emphatically with you*

      That's so interesting! I guess I don't notice color as much -- at least, not consciously -- but maybe I should start to pay more attention? ;D I do know that there are certain color palettes that I DON'T like in a movie, because they just depress me right off the bat. Yesh, purple is lovely. <3

      <3333 Our email conversation was what I was referring to in the post, as you may have surmised. ;D Yes!!

  10. I was already thinking of watching this sometime after hearing about it from Natalie, but now I want to see it even more! This was a lovely review, my dear. :)

    1. Miss March, you must! Having received the glowing recommendations of two such friends, you can have no excuse for not trying it. ;D Haha. I hope you like it!

      Awww, thank you. :)

  11. "It had a way of nestling quietly, placidly, and contentedly into my heart. " << SAME.

    I love how this movie really makes you (the viewer) feel special. Because the characters are all unique and quirky and odd and imperfect--and yet they're beautiful human beings. I guess what I'm trying to say is that this movie makes you feel okay to be odd and different--because what makes you odd and different is what makes you special. <3

    Anyhow, not sure if I worded that correctly...but your review basically said everything I was thinking, anyways. :D I LOVE what you said about it all.

    VERNON AND BELLA YUUUUSSS. I feel exactly as you did. Billy was adorable and Bella and Billy were adorable together but....Vernon. :( He was so sweet and special and THE WAY HE TOOK CARE OF BELLA AND ENCOURAGED HER AND LOVED HER. I just...agh. He deserves someone special and I'm just sorry Bella wasn't the one for him. *sniff*

    "It's a love letter to plants and the people who care about them." Awwww. Yes. I love the quiet, garden atmosphere of this movie. IT JUST MADE ME SO HAPPY. And it inspires me to someday make my own garden. Very much so.

    Lovely lovely review, my friend. :)

    1. Way to finally decide to reply to a year-old comment, Olivia. Wow. Sorry about that, old friend. :-P

      "I love how this movie really makes you (the viewer) feel special. Because the characters are all unique and quirky and odd and imperfect--and yet they're beautiful human beings. I guess what I'm trying to say is that this movie makes you feel okay to be odd and different--because what makes you odd and different is what makes you special. <3" << Oh my gosh! Yes! <3 <3 <3 You DEFINITELY worded that correctly. I don't think I had even consciously thought of it that way, but I think that's probably definitely a part of why it was so happy and almost . . . almost therapeutic, you know?

      YES YES YES EXACTLY. "He deserves someone special and I'm just sorry Bella wasn't the one for him." << YES. Except that I think Bella WAS the one for him but the MAKERS JUST MESSED IT UP!! *huffs a bit (but gently because I still loved the movie)*

      Definitely! "The quiet, garden atmosphere" -- that's a great way to put it. And I knooooowwww, IT JUST MADE ME SO HAPPY, TOO. :D :D :D

      Thank you very much, m'dear. :) <3

  12. So you know you wrote this ages ago and diligently I dotted it down on my to-see list, hoping for the day when I'd have access to it and enjoy this movie... well last week I was FINALLY (haha, 2 years later! :P) able to watch it! (My sister got Stan temporarily, so I had access to her account. This was the first movie I found and watched. ;))

    I agree so much with what you said! It was quite daydreamy, this movie. Perfect when you feel like something soft and gentle, and beautiful to behold. Also, I love Andrew Scott and his character in this was SO DARLIN'.

    I really wish he and Bella had gotten together!! :( Although I did like Billy, but I just felt like it would've been so sweet if it was Vernon instead. *sigh* Also Jessica is such an amazing actress, I'm very impressed. (I was even more impressed in the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, too.)

    My favourite parts in this were Vernon and Alfred interrogating Billy (haha... xD), and basically any seen with all three of them, and when Billy said "I've just been talking to your father and grand-father" and Vernon and Alfred are like "??!" XD (I laughed aloud. :D)

    I'm glad I watched this movie! It was lovely. I'd definitely re-watch it. :)


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