Thursday, June 1, 2023

A Beautiful Life: Movie Review

A simple story with lovely music.
A Beautiful Life is a leisurely and enjoyable Danish romantic drama about music and life in general. That’s really all it’s about. There are overall themes about loss and moving on in life, but it focuses on the music, which is lovely and is the exact right focus for a movie of this ilk. If you came for a predictably sweet, simple movie with some nice pop songs (which are in English), you’re in luck.   2023

Directed by: Mehdi Avaz

Screenplay by: Stefan Jaworski

Starring: Christopher, Inga Ibsdotter Lilleaas

Elliott (Christopher, apparently famous enough in Denmark to go by just his first name) is a down-on-his-luck fisherman with limited income, no support system and a friend who’s destined to get him into trouble. Or as Lilly calls him, “A drunk fisherman. No offense.” But the no-good friend invites Elliott to a gig where he sings one of his original songs, wins over a famous music producer, and is on his way to superstardom whether he likes it or not.

Yes, this is predictable, very. It’s also similar to A Star is Born but less tragic. The predictability doesn’t hurt the film because it embraces it. The film knows the feature is Elliott’s dynamic voice, the story is just the vehicle we need to get to the next original song. This does lead to some clunky storytelling and rushed editing. For instance, one scene where Elliott rushes out of the studio, pissed off and leaving, is then abruptly edited back to Elliott and Lilly calmly talking it over. We all know he’s going to get over his momentary anger, so the film literally just skips it. There’s a lot of amateur production happening behind the camera. For a movie that relies on the story this would be a problem, but this is an easy movie to just enjoy your time with the characters and the music. Ignore the incongruity in the editing.

The main characters are Elliott – a gruff, very handsome, very talented singer who’s in it for the money, but also because he’s a romantic at heart. His love interest is Lilly (Inga Ibsdotter Lilleaas) the daughter of Denmark’s most famous music producer (Christine Albeck Borge) and Denmark’s most famous recording artist, now passed away. Lilly is angry at her mother, unable to get past her father’s death, and hates Elliott. Her mother convinces her to produce Elliott’s first album, and boom, they’re in love. Told you it’s predictable, but would you want it any other way?

Eliiott’s songs are all sad love songs but upbeat and pop-py. The songs also foretell his relationship with Lilly before it unfolds. It really just makes you enjoy the songs that much more by the end. There is some criticism that there’s a lack of emotion in this film, but it’s honestly refreshing. It’s a lightweight drama that doesn’t get bogged down with heavy emotions and never gets dark or bleak or depressing which it otherwise would with the main themes.

Enjoy your time with A Beautiful Life. Sit back, listen to some nice music and don’t get caught up in the details of a predictable story.

Available on Netflix worldwide

Something Similar But Different:

  A Chance Encounter (2022) - A romantic drama between a poet and a musician that soaks in the beauty of love in Sicily.

  I Used to Be Famous (2022) - A tender tale of music with sadness and despair.

(P.S. If you liked what you read, please consider clicking on an ad. It will cost you nothing, but will force the advertisers to pay me something.)