Iceland has been producing some of the best films recently and Beautiful Beings, the latest International Feature submission for the country, is no exception. The film is focused on a group of boys, Addi, Konni and Siggi who bring a new member into their gang.
The film begins with a 14 year old Baldur who is different from most boys. He comes from a rundown home, where his father drowned while being on drugs, his stepfather beats him and is currently in jail, and his mother is absent most of the time. On top of that, Baldur is beaten and bullied repeatedly by his classmates.
When Baldur gets assaulted so severely one day after school, he ends up in the news. The violence amongst the youth in Iceland is increasing, and this attracts the attention of a group of boys: Addi, Konni and Siggi. The three boys all come from detached households as well, where each one of them is dealing with absent, abusive fathers in their lives. Slowly and steadily the trio bring Baldur into their group.
As their violent lives escalate towards a breaking point, the bonds between these four young men will be tested to the fullest. Director Guomundur Arnar Guomundsson has created a sad, raw portrayal of tough masculinity set in a tough environment. It’s a brutal, tender, honest, emotional film about male affection and male bonds in a cruel neighbourhood where all of these boys are carrying the burden of their unfortunate upbringings. Beautiful Beings is loaded with violence but the most striking moments of the film are the small moments of complete delicacy and beauty between male friendships. Especially in a world that is cruel and dark.
The four talented actors who play Baldur, Addi, Konni and Siggi make this film truly special. They’re all beautiful beings set in a world that isn’t always so beautiful. The film is one of the gentlest and at the same time one of the most violent films to be screened this year. It is utterly and completely heartbreaking, yet strangely optimistic. And our hopes for these four men is that they’re all able to break free and find peace.