ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  john stockwell

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  drama

LENGTH  -  99 minutes

RELEASED  -  1 july 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  touchstone pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  crazy/beautiful

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $14,000,000
crazy/beautiful - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from crazy/beautiful at

buy the dvd from crazy/beautiful at

kirsten dunst stars with jay hernandez in this teen drama about a romance between two teenagers at an l.a. high school.

some footage had to be cut in order to get a "pg-13" rating instead of the original "r."


picture from crazy/beautiful

picture from crazy/beautiful


three out of four possible stars

The hair wasn't so bothersome, really, it wasn't! (Okay, maybe it was a little bit) The only thing most critics have said about this movie is to complain about Kirsten Dunst's hair. So it was a little greasy . . . okay, it was very greasy. I wonder if she refrained from washing it throughout the movie or if that's all just movie magic. In any case, what some people fail to realize is that kirsten's hair-do was completely supported by the attitude of her character.

Kirsten plays a very troubled teen whose place in her family has been usurped by a step-mother and a new step-brother. Kirsten gives an outstanding performance as rich girl "Nicole" opposite Jay Hernandez, who plays a "kid from the wrong side of the tracks just trying to make good" named "Carlos." The two have good chemistry although sometimes it's hard to understand what Carlos sees in nicole, given that she's very unkempt and drinks constantly.

But is is an intelligent, subtle twist the filmmakers have put on this classic story of two lovers coming together from opposite ends of the social spectrum. Although Jay's character comes from somewhere in the poor neighborhoods of central Los Angeles, he does not play the usual trouble-maker and bad boy. and Dunst's character, as the daughter of a senator who lives in a huge house somewhere in Pacific Palisades is not the requisite "good girl" who gets pulled to the wrong side of the tracks by Jay's character.

In Crazy/Beautiful the standard roles are actually reversed: Carlos is normal, and dunst is troubled. This twisting of a familiar plot gives dunst a chance to really stretch her acting legs with some very emotional scenes. She gives Hernandez a great character to work opposite. The other minor characters in the film are very interesting as well. Almost everyone has two sides and is not necessarily the person they appear.

For example, Nicole's father, played by Bruce Davison, seems like the usual over-lord father who'd be immediately opposed to his daughter having a relationship with the Latino boy. But throughout the film, his character goes through ups and downs similar to his daughter's (although not quite as frantic). His character is multi-dimensional in the fact that the audience isn't always rooting for him, but sometimes his character becomes very sympathetic. This is the same with Carlos's family, with his brother played by Rolando Molina, are all sympathetic characters as well.

But they are not always likeable, just like Nicole's father. Every character in this film has shades of gray in their characters that allow them to connect emotionally with the audience and also become more interesting than the standard "good guy/bad guy" regime. A last thing that seemed out of the ordinary was how the writers had Carlos's family speaking Spanish during some of the scenes and how the filmmakers did not bother to translate into subtitles. Now I don't speak Spanish, but in watching the characters on the screen, I was able to understand the emotions that the characters were going through simply by their acting. Sub-titles probably would have gotten in the way anyhow.

Possibly the only thing that I did not like in this movie was the length. it clocks in at over two hours and by the one hour and forty-five minute mark, it begins to drag somewhat. It slows down and seems to keep going for about fifteen minutes too long. The emotional journeys each character has been put through in the story have completed themselves or should have been completed by the 105 minute mark. But don't let this complaint steer you away from the movie. Dunst's poor hygiene aside (which it really fits her character, anyway), this film is an interesting multi-dimensional story that has fascinating characters and solid acting.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content 2000 - - ninth symphony films - photographs touchstone pictures 2001
home | archive | ratings | links | photographs | about | contact