Story

Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert) is a new girl at school. She is immediately disliked by fellow classmates Emily (Zoey Deutch) and Savannah (Tiffany Boone). People know that Lena is staying with her rich uncle, Macon Ravenwood (Jeremy Irons). The townspeople fear Ravenwood because they think he is a Satanist. But Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich) is drawn to Lena and thinks she is the girl he often sees in his dreams.

Ethan follows the reluctant Lena home, where he meets Uncle Macon for the first time. Ethan isn’t welcome in the house, and he’s told to keep away from Lena. He eventually discovers that Lena is a ‘caster’ – a witch – and that she’s approaching her 16th birthday, which is a very important date for female casters. On this day she’ll be claimed by good or evil. Lena is sure she’ll be claimed by evil because it is her family’s curse, but Ethan and Macon are determined she’ll be claimed by good.

Themes

The supernatural; witchcraft

Violence

This movie has quite a lot of supernatural violence. For example:

  • Emily and Tiffany start praying in the classroom to protect them from ‘evil’ Lena. This upsets Lena. Her rage causes the classroom windows to shatter and explode over all the students.
  • Walking in the woods, Ethan gets trapped by black mesh that creeps over his body. It makes him collapse.
  • A policeman is chasing Lena’s cousin Ridley (Emmy Possum) in her car. Ridley causes the policeman’s eyes to turn red, and he crashes his car.
  • Ridley makes a boy walk towards her across the railway tracks, and a train hits him.
  • In a flashback to the American Civil War, a man is killed in battle. He is lying dead on the ground when his distraught wife appears and kisses him on the mouth, which makes him come back to life. She then realises she has broken the law of the casters and kills him again.
  • Macon throws Ethan across the room with a spell.
  • Someone uses witchcraft to get Ethan’s friend Link (Thomas Mann) to put a real bullet in his musket. This kills Ethan during a mock Civil War battle on Honey Hill.
  • Lena destroys Sarafine (Emma Thompson) with a spell that makes her disintegrate and turn into a tree.

Content that may disturb children

From 5-8

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under eight years. For example:

  • The overall setting of this movie is quite spooky. There are lots of lightning flashes, dark forests and ghost-like creatures. The casters’ eyes glow yellow and red.
  • The Ravenwood house is very spooky, with doors that open and close by themselves. The interior decoration often changes.
  • People change into other people.
  • Ethan gives Lena a trinket he found at Honey Hill. When he presses it into her hand, he sees a re-enactment of a Civil War battle scene at Honey Hill, in which a man is killed.
  • Ethan becomes a ghost-like creature who can walk through objects. He sees himself as if in a different time zone.
  • Amma (Viola Davis) is the town librarian and Ethan’s housekeeper after his Mum dies. She is a medium who often talks to spirits.
  • Mrs Lincoln changes from an old lady into the evil Sarafine.
  • The final scene when Lena is ‘claimed’ is quite dramatic. Lightning strikes everywhere, and there’s a whirlwind of destruction.

From 8-13

In addition to the violent and disturbing scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:

  • Mrs Lincoln (Link’s mother) is a typical narrow-minded, small-town person. She holds a rally at the church to stop Lena attending school. In a long outburst she condemns all sorts of people, including homosexuals.
  • Link imitates putting a gun in his mouth and pulling the trigger.
  • Townspeople ward off lightning by praying and holding up crosses against evil.
  • Emily and Tiffany hold hands in class and start praying aloud to protect them from Satanists (meaning Lena).
  • Uncle Macon persuades Ethan to tell his life story, which will become his future. In the life story he tells, he ends up hanging himself.

Over 13

Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.

Sexual references

This movie has some sexual references. For example, Ridley wears provocative clothing and can seduce any man she wants, including Ethan’s friend Link.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie shows some use of substances. For example:

  • Characters drink wine at dinner.
  • Some guys drink beer out of a bottle in the street.

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie has some sexual activity. For example:

  • Lena and Ethan kiss passionately several times. On one occasion, this causes a nearby sign to burst into flame.
  • Ridley and Link kiss passionately and seductively.
  • Link and a girl kiss and make out on a bed (with clothes on).

Product placement

None of concern

Coarse language

This movie has some coarse language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Beautiful Creatures is a fantasy romance based on the teenage novel of the same name. The frequent violence and some disturbing scenes make it unsuitable for children under 13 years. It’s more suited to an older teenage audience.

The main messages from this movie are to keep an open mind and to be tolerant of people who are different from you. The movie is also about making up your own mind and not being influenced by gossip.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include selflessness, sacrifice, kindness and tolerance. Another important value emphasised in the movie is judging people by who they really are and what they do, rather than by how they look.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues such as the following:

  • This movie portrays Christians, in particular, as being very narrow-minded. Is this portrayal fair?
  • The movie suggests that everyone can be good or evil. How do we choose one over the other, rather than leaving things to fate?