Beautiful Creatures, Pretty Messy: Teenage Witch Romance Tries to Catch the Magic of “Twilight”

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In the vein of “Twilight” (sorry for the pun), Beautiful Creatures is a teen, gothic fantasy, romance adapted from a popular book series.    Misfit teenager, Ethan, falls for the mysterious Lena, who turns out to be a witch, or a “caster” as her kind prefers to be called.  However, to complicate matters, casters are forbidden to love mortals, and when Lena turns 16, she will be “claimed” for either the Light or the Dark, becoming truly good or totally evil. Oh, and Lena is cursed, which makes this a pretty messy love affair.

The film also has some messy morality and themes. Many Christians struggle with depictions of magic in movies. To read the Catholic stance, see the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” section 2115-2117 or go to websites such as catholic.com and http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/witchcraft-101 .

“Beautiful” has other flaws as well. Though rated PG-13, the film contains swearing and implied extramarital sex among several characters including Ethan and Lena. In addition, the movie portrays many Christians as hypocritical, backward, and bigoted.

There are, however, many redeeming elements, such as strong messages regarding love and the importance of free will. For example, Ethan tries to convince Lena that she can choose between good and evil, regardless of her past. In addition, there’s a powerful statement that love is about staying with someone no matter what gets thrown at you – including evil spells. Also, true love is not about doing what’s best for you but for the one you love. Even more striking, the film has one of the best speeches I’ve heard on the merits of sacrifice, and it is delivered by a Christian Minister.

While “Beautiful Creatures” may not be appropriate viewing for the whole family, older discerning viewers may find some gems in this entertaining tale.