Beautiful Creatures is based on a popular novel for the ‘YA’ (young adult) crowd. And while I pride myself on being hip to such trends (Twilight, The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, etc.), I’d never actually heard of it. So I went into the movie with zero expectations. And in the end – I thought it was okay. Nothing extraordinary. But it didn’t suck. I actually found it more interesting and romantically engaging than that other popular-novel-turned-movie released for Valentine’s Day, Safe Haven. Both movies feature a supernatural element, but Beautiful Creatures takes it to the max. If you hear pop culture rumblings about “being claimed” – Beautiful Creatures is to blame.

Alice Englert plays Lena, a teenage witch (a.k.a caster) with both a “light” and a “dark” side. In keeping with cultural tradition, she will be fully ‘claimed’ by the light or the dark on her upcoming 16th birthday. The question is: Does she have any control over her fate? And how will it impact her budding romance with mortal teenager Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich), a good kid with some twisted family history of his own?

The movie is sort of Twilight meets Harry Potter meets Mean Girls meets Beetlejuice. Lena has some crazy scary relatives – including a mysterious uncle played by Jeremy Irons and a psycho momma played by Emma Thompson (in a dual role). They are both particularly fun to watch. Viola Davis also adds star-power to the cast as Amma, Ethan’s pseudo-godmother. She’s also a librarian who happens to maintain a secret collection of ‘caster’ literature. Shhhhhh.

Bottom line: Beautiful Creatures is a coming-of-age fantasy flick that is definitely strange but also kinda sweet and moderately entertaining. For the YAs among ya.

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