Review: Beauty Queen

Written and directed by Nicholas Goodwin, Christina (Christina Goursky), an adolescent insecure girl, is on her quest to be labelled “beautiful”. After her failed attempt at modelling, she finally finds a photographer, Sebastian Schultz (James Jelkin), to make her look and feel the way that a young girl longs for. Also starring: Timothy J. Cox, Thea McCartan, Sally Eidman and Jordan Gaches

The film explores the rampant unrealistic expectations that are put on young women, especially in this age of photoshop and Instagram, Christina has fallen prey to thinking that’s what a girl her age should be, not striving for achievements and goals, but simply to look beautiful. However, the film struggles to deal with this issue in a way that’s positive, it leaves that until the very last minute and though Timothy J. Cox does a fantastic job of giving a very, Michael Stuhlbarg in Call Me By Your Name esque speech, it strangely ends on a moment that implicates she hasn’t learnt from it. It displays a similar issue as to Goodwin’s previous short film Shadow.

There’s also other issues that seem to have persisted from his previous film, including audio problems, the dialogue is ridiculously quiet and the score has a very commercial vibe and is ill fitting to the story. This problem gets even worse in its final scenes as not only is it difficult to hear what they’re saying, the lighting is lacking enough that it’s difficult to see them. The story also spends too much time on conversations that didn’t really need to be included, they push the film more into mundane territory which leaves you very little concerned by how it’s going to end. Christina’s character is rather poorly constructed, she’s excessively naïve and despite discussing her going to decent universities, there’s nothing included to give any other indication that she’s intelligent, in fact the implication feels like the opposite. An extended scene where all she does is make a duck face while taking selfies is difficult to watch.

Overall, Beauty Queen struggles with the message it’s try to get across and isn’t helped by poor choices in editing and direction or that Goursky isn’t really strong enough to take on a roll with a more emotional side to it. It’s rather predictable and doesn’t use the time it has in a constructive way, leaving the only highlight amongst the confusion to be Timothy J. Cox, he’s ever dependable and does a fantastic job as the classic ‘dad’, he’s supportive, caring and the perfect amount of awkward that any father of a teenage daughter would be.

Verdict: ✯

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