"The freshness of Beautiful Thing, a charming, funny and often moving film comes naturally, for those concerned in its making are new to us and mostly to the movie making game.
Young writer Jonathan Harvey (he's still under 30) adapted his own play; Hetti Macdonald, who directed the successful stage production, is making her screen directing debut. The cast is made up of players unknown to us, and their very unfamiliarity makes it easy to accept them as real people, not as known actors doing a great job. The fact that they're all bursting with talent doesn't hurt either.
Set in a housing estate in South East London, it gives a new perspective on communal living; the estate is not the run-down graffiti-daubed slum we've seen so often-- it's green and bright, comfortable if not luxurious; what it lacks is privacy.
Though the film is a social documentary of a kind, its main concern is more personal. It's the story of the awakening to the joy and anguish of first love of two teenage boys living in adjoining flats.
Harvey treats the boys' story with the humour but never frivolously; there is no blame or disapproval, nor any hint of patronising superiority in the writer's attitude as the boys warily begin to accept their feeling of love, and to make others accept them as they are.
Just as important as the love story is the writers' treatment of the relationships of one of the boys and his mother, who is at first dismayed at the revelation of his homosexuality, then gradually comes to terms with it with her love for him unchanged.
Glen Barry and Scott Neal avoid any stagy gay posturing, giving instead a realistic and utterly convincing portrayal of two ordinary kids who are - as the movie joyfully points out - fortunate enough to find each other." Sydney "Sunday Telegraph"Australia
"Beautiful Thing is a film so good and so captivating that if you do not see it, you will find yourself unable to make intelligent dinner party conversation for at least the next six months." Victoria Stagg Elliott, GAY TIMES
"...it's resolutely cheery tone, could make it the biggest gay crossover success since My Beautiful Launderette." Stuart Husband, ARENA
".. a movie that is funny, poignant and charming enough to seduce audiences of all persuasions...The best film about adolescent romance since Gregory's Girl, it has effortlessly chalked up a hefty batch of foreign sales, and could prove to be the canny left hook to Trainspotting's full-on bare knuckle assault on the world's cinema audiences.
".. a no apologies, 100 per cent feel-good gay movie in which nobody dies, young love triumphs and you step out of the cinema with joy in your heart and a big grin on your face." Charles Gant, THE FACE
"Infectiously funny" Derek Elley, VARIETY
"Heartwarming...touching." Baz Bamingboye, DAILY MAIL
"A sympathetic and believable human story... also funny, touching and often very real portrait of working class life in general." Derek Malcom, THE GUARDIAN
"A tender account of a gay affair between working-class London teenagers" Philip French, THE OBSERVER
"Hettie MacDonald's first film is giddy with South London love... Jonathan Harvey's stage play sent audiences out with daft grins on their faces, and MacDonald's triumphant screen version will no doubt do the same." David Jeys, ATTITUDE
"...resolutely feel-good thanks to the persuasive and fresh performances" Alan Jones, FILM GUIDE
"90 minutes of pure celluloid joy" THE FACE
"The feelgood movie of the summer.." PREMIERE
"The sweetest movie you'll see all summer.." SKY
"Remarkable, funny, moving.." THE TIMES
"Even before it's Cannes debut in the Directors' Fortnight, Beautiful Thing, adapted by Jonathan Harvey from his play, was being hailed as the 'My Beautiful Laundrette of the Nineties'. It is charming, it is funny it is enticingly naive and vital. When I also tell you that it is about teenage homosexuals, is set on a south London housing estate and has a soundtrack featuring Mama Cass, you may also think a little light suicide in Jude might be preferable. Linda Henry as barmaid and single mother Sandra is just one reason why Beautiful Thing is joyous; Henry is the new Alison Steadman. The family is emotionally incompetent (not dysfunctional - there are no tabloid excuses in Harvey's scenario) and the neighbours demented: It's a sort of high-rise Southfork. Underpinning the film, which was directed by Hettie Macdonald, is s a real affection and jollity which makes it work as a fairy-tale." Victoria Mather, BIG SCREEN