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Beastly, a 2011 film penned and directed by Daniel Barnz, weaves an urban contemporary take on a classic fairy tale -- "Beauty and the Beast". The story is set against the modern, bustling backdrop of New York City, lending the age-old tale a fresh and vibrant essence. It packs romance and mystique into a compelling narrative that explores themes of beauty, love, transformation, and redemption.

The film features a talented ensemble cast that includes Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Hudgens, and Mary-Kate Olsen. Pettyfer takes on the role of Kyle Kingston, a wealthy, conceited, and shallow young man attending a private high school in New York. His character portrays the pinnacle of narcissism, with an obsession with physical appearance and popularity, mostly due to his influential news anchor father who encourages these materialistic values.

Mary-Kate Olsen plays the role of Kendra Hilferty, a seemingly inconspicuous classmate who, beyond appearances, is so much more. An ostracized outsider with a penchant for the gothic aesthetic, Kendra’s character takes the role of the enchantress seriously, dealing with the supernatural to deliver the story’s significant life lessons. Her character and her actions become the pivotal point around which the plot revolves.

Vanessa Hudgens delivers a heartwarming portrayal of Lindy Taylor, a kind-hearted and down-to-earth classmate. With her bright personality and compassionate demeanor, Lindy stands in stark contrast to the superficial world which Kyle is accustomed to. She becomes an integral part of the story, embodying the adage that beauty is more than just skin deep.

Beastly starts with high school heartthrob, Kyle, publicly humiliating Kendra, dissatisfied with her unconventional aesthetics. Little did he know that Kendra would retaliate in a way that would change his life forever – casting a spell that transforms him into everything he detests, disfigured and unrecognizable. She gives him one year to find someone who could love him despite his hideous appearance or remain in his dreadfully altered state forever.

The journey that Kyle embarks upon following his transformation forms the crux of the story. Isolated and disowned by his shallow father, Kyle is forced to ponder upon the person he was, facing cruel reflections of his insensitivity and conceit. As months pass within his solitary confinement, the viewers witness his transformation from a superficial narcissist into a thoughtful individual who yearns for genuine human connection, not based on physical appearance but rooted in emotions and understanding.

As his path intertwines with Lindy's, a series of events unfolds that shape the heart of the narrative. Their relationship develops in a setting that is far from the glamorous lifestyle that Kyle once knew, yet it feels more genuine and heartfelt than anything he had ever experienced before. In Lindy, Kyle sees a beacon of hope and an opportunity for achieving the impossible - a chance to break the spell and rediscover himself.

This film breaks away from the typical teen-drama stereotypes and dives into deeper societal issues. It circles around looking beneath the surface and warns against judging a book by its cover, a message that resonates particularly in our generation so focused on outward appearances.

The fantasy elements inherent in Beastly are balanced well with a sense of reality due to the stellar performances by the cast. Alex Pettyfer skillfully portrays the transformation of an arrogant youth to a compassionate individual dealing with his inner demons. Vanessa Hudgens beautifully illustrates the sensitivity, strength, and survival skills of a young woman navigating the complexities of life. Mary-Kate Olsen delivers an impressive performance as the witch, showcasing a character that at once, is intimidating yet unimaginably lonely.

The cinematography beautifully captures the contrasting worlds – the superficial glamour of prep school life and the loneliness and desperation of a cursed existence, and the gently blooming romance. The visuals are compelling, making the fantastical elements in the dense urban landscape both believable and engaging.

Beastly is a movie that intrigues, moves, and engages, providing viewers with a unique take on the classic "Beauty and the Beast" tale as it subtly weaves in powerful themes of transformation and redemption beneath its dramatic narrative. The 2011 rendition of this timeless story draws viewers in with its complex characters, superb performances, and a narrative that is as enchanting as it is thought-provoking.

Beastly is a Drama, Fantasy, Romance movie released in 2011. It has a runtime of 86 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 5.5. It also holds a MetaScore of 40.

How to Watch Beastly

Where can I stream Beastly movie online? Beastly is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Amazon Prime, Pluto TV, Kanopy, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Beastly for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

Daniel Barnz
Vanessa Hudgens, Alex Pettyfer, Mary-Kate Olsen, Neil Patrick Harris, Lisa Gay Hamilton
Also directed by Daniel Barnz
Beastly is available on .