Beautiful Girls

February 9th, 1996


Beautiful Girls

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Still of Ted Demme in Beautiful GirlsStill of Michael Rapaport and Scott Rosenberg in Beautiful GirlsJim Carrey and Lauren Holly at event of Beautiful GirlsWillie & TracyMatt Dillon co-stars as Tommy 'Birdman' RowlandUma Thurman co-stars as Andera

A piano player at a crossroads in his life returns home to his friends and their own problems with life and love.

Release Year: 1996

Rating: 7.1/10 (18,024 voted)

Critic's Score: 64/100

Director: Ted Demme

Stars: Matt Dillon, Timothy Hutton, Noah Emmerich

New York based jazz pianist Willie Conway heads back to his small hometown of Knights Ridge, Massachusetts for a high school reunion. The trip is as much to go to the reunion and see his old friends - none of whom left Knights Ridge after graduation - as it is to get away from his current life, at which he is at a crossroads both personally and professionally. He is just eking out a living with his piano playing gigs, and as such he is thinking about taking a sales job. He's also not sure if he's ready to marry his long time girlfriend, lawyer Tracy Stover. Most of Willie's Knights Ridge blue collar friends' best days were in high school, they still having that "trophy" mentality of girlfriends and wives. Only Michael "Mo" Morris is happily married with a family. Paul Kirkwood, whose room is plastered with magazine pictures of models, wants his waitress ex-girlfriend Jan back only because he knows now that he can't have her...

Matt Dillon - Tommy 'Birdman' Rowland
Noah Emmerich - Michael 'Mo' Morris
Annabeth Gish - Tracy Stover
Lauren Holly - Darian Smalls
Timothy Hutton - Willie Conway
Rosie O'Donnell - Gina Barrisano
Max Perlich - Kev
Martha Plimpton - Jan
Natalie Portman - Marty
Michael Rapaport - Paul Kirkwood
Mira Sorvino - Sharon Cassidy
Uma Thurman - Andera
Pruitt Taylor Vince - Stanley 'Stinky' Womack
Anne Bobby - Sarah Morris
Richard Bright - Dick Conway

Taglines: good times never seemed so good

Release Date: 9 February 1996

Filming Locations: Bryant-Lake Bowl - 810 W. Lake Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Gross: $20,837,000 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Ted Demme told Timothy Hutton to kiss Natalie Portman on the cheek. She did not know it so her reaction in the film is spontaneous.

Continuity: Paul's windshield wipers while plowing Jan's driveway the first time.

Willie Conway: What are you doing?
Marty: Another exciting Saturday night.
Willie Conway: You got many exciting Saturday nights in your future.
Marty: Yeah, yeah. So your lady's here, huh?
Willie Conway: Yeah, yeah.
Marty: I saw her. She- she's really pretty.
Willie Conway: She's OK. She's not as pretty as you, though.
Marty: Kinda got that boob-thing going for her .

User Review

Captures the imagination and heart

Rating: 10/10

It is very rare to encounter a film so devoted to character and this is the greatest strength of Beautiful Girls. Each character has their own personal turmoil and lightness which shines through in a film which from start to finish very little movement of plot is actually achieved, but then again it doesn't need to.

Small-town sensibilities and community spirit are intertwined with the notions of enigmatic strangers posing in an almost prophetic manner delivering advice upon the populous. Events such as brutal fighting, unashamed drunkenness and references to sex are handled as items which are not derogatory but necessary in a rites of passage kind of way. Each character develops through the film into better individuals of what they once were but not to such an extent as to impose sickly sweet values on the audience.

Every character is natural and rounded despite some major personality flaws. Timothy Hutton's excellent Willy is at odds with himself over the next stage of growing up, Rappaport plays the goofy yet loveable fool for love, Dillon the lost soul and Emmerich the doting yet somewhat incapable father. But it is in the Beautiful Women themselves where the real essence of the film lies. Uma Thurman is every blonde inch the mysterious and elegant Andera crossing paths with everyone and influencing their lives for the better. Rosie O'Donnell as the brash 'matron' of the group is the perfect foil for Sorvino's insecure personality. The ace of the bunch however is a mesmerising Natalie Portman who even despite being the cast's youngest member is compelling to the point that you can understand Willy's fascination with her character Marty.

For anyone wishing for comfort on a cold winter afternoon there are very few films with such a strong heart, Demme excels himself by never laying on the sentimentality rather poking gingerly at our own innermost feelings, and coming out with a winner.


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