Review-Lite: Eternal Beauty (2020)

Sally Hawkins in Eternal Beauty

There is a moment early on in Craig Roberts’ Eternal Beauty where the loneliness that permeates every frame of this wonderfully unique and personal picture transitions from comical to tragic as the main story comes into focus. Jane (Sally Hawkins) is the black sheep of the family, whose spent her life on the outside looking in because she isn’t typical. Jane’s life is murky, colourful, adventurous and boring all at once and it all comes at her at a pace most would find nauseating. That is to say that Eternal Beauty is a constant mist of indecipherable thoughts and feelings all meshed into one. It is the visual embodiment of a cluttered mind and Roberts understands just like Jane does, the seductive nature of constant excitement. Be it the comedy that comes from situations you don’t understand or the joy of a new story/adventure, the more Jane embraces the unusual, the far-fetched, the more lingering thoughts of the peace of normality seep in and the isolation of her story infects the colour palette of Jane’s world. Featuring a career high from Hawkins and telling a story of constantly shifting familial bonds as Jane spars with her sisters, the worried Alice (Alice Lowe) and the self-absorbed Nicola (Billie Piper) while bowing to their strong willed but spiteful mother Vivian (Penelope Wilton), this develops into a discussion of what normal really is as Jane envies the ones around her that seemingly are conventional. Everyone has their issues, Jane’s are just brighter and less visible, an ironic statement for a film chock full of visual comedy, colour and blue skies mixed in among the grey clouds. That is to say that Eternal Beauty is a film about hidden wonders and darkness all wrapped into one and while it all feels very surreal when watching it, full of shifting sets, jumpy editing and conflicting voices, Jane’s mind isn’t a bad place to spend an evening and honestly, being normal isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.


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