Few gay films are as richly affirming or powerfully uplifting as this coming-of-age, coming-to-terms romance between two London boys. Based on a play by Johnathan Harvey and directed with sensitivity and supple grace by Hettie Mcdonald, Beautiful Thing ultimately pumps your heart full of joy. But getting to that joy is a bumpy road for the quiet, shy Jamie and his schoolmate Ste, an abused, wounded pup who finds safe haven in Jamie’s home, and eventually responds to the tenderness shown to him by his new friend. The ancillary characters — Jamie’s tough-as-nails mother (Linda Henry) and a troubled, Mama Cass-infatuated neighbor (Tameka Empson) — are every bit as integral to the film’s narrative fabric. Yet at the center lies the simple, glorious tale of two emerging gay youths who find their heart’s desire: each other.
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