Coming of Age in South East London
Jamie (Glen Berry) lives in a flat on a South-East London housing estate with his mum Sandra (Linda Henry) who has fought and scraped by to bring him up by herself. Whilst Jamie struggles to fit in at school and regularly bunks off of sports his best friend Ste (Scott Neal) lives in the flat next door where he is bullied and beaten by both his single dad and his brother. It is how many nights Ste ends up in with Jamie in his bed as he has nowhere else to go. But it leads to Ste and Jamie to start having feelings for each other which leads to conflict and pain as they come to terms with their sexuality as well as the repercussions as others, especially Sandra, learn about them.
First things first and "Beautiful Thing" is this tender but also occasionally over the top romantic drama surrounding teenage boys dealing with their sexuality and their feelings for each other. I say that because here is a movie which one minute shows Jamie dealing with his feelings towards his best friend before acting on them, struggling with what will happen. But then the next you have them heading to a gay bar, mucking about with a drag queen and then running through a park at night where they kiss passionately, so passionately that I've seen people dumped for that sort of sloppy mouth play. The strange thing is that this mix of being sensitive and then over the top works because we have the South-East London setting, some blunt language and larger than life characters.
That brings me to the second thing and "Beautiful Thing" is a movie which features an entertaining collection of characters who certainly give it some comedy such as Ben Daniels who plays Tony, Sandra's fellow who is posh and educated but tries to act like some sort of hippy. And then there is the "Eastenders" cast because alongside Linda Henry there is Anna Karen, Tameka Empson and also Sophie Stanton whilst there are also several actors who appeared in "The Bill" many of which are playing eccentric characters. On the subject of which Tameka Empson is over the top and wonderful as neighbour Leah who is completely obsessed with "Mama" Cass. "Beautiful Thing" is simply a movie which whilst having this story about teenage boys dealing with their sexuality entertains as much because of the humorous nature of the characters.
What this all boils down to is that "Beautiful Thing" ends up telling a touching story but done in a not so much comical way but with a variety of characters who make you smile and who say what they think which means that this is a movie with the sort of blunt language which might offend.