THE FILM: This Beautiful Fantastic
THE PAIRING: Bella Brown (Jessica Brown Findlay) and Billy (Jeremy Irvine)
THE MOMENT: Billy makes a plea for Bella to forgive him.
There are brilliant overlooked films out there and beautiful moments within these films that somehow slip past the public’s eye quietly. One such film is the BBC film, This Beautiful Fantastic. It’s a contemporary fairy tale that not only entered the race with little fanfare, it’s also a story full of poignant, simple moments. It’s often these types of films we like to spotlight because they’re not just underrated, they’re also worth talking about.
This Beautiful Fantastic is about a young woman without family whose solitary existence has made her extremely cautious. You see, there is “nothing normal about that girl” according to the narrator. In fact, she shouldn’t have survived. Nonetheless, she did survive. Now her life is simple and was it not for her aspirations to write, she’d live a lonely existence. Her imagination, however, is her best friend.
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Things begin to change when she starts to befriend her cranky next-door neighbor and his opinionated (and overworked!) cook, Vernon. Eventually, she also begins to talk with Billy, a patron at the library where she works.
The Lead In
Time passes and Bella slowly lets Billy see more of herself. She tells him her stories and he shows her his inventions. His creative creatures awe Bella. They inspire her own creative nature. The curious but introverted couple end up bonding over their respective creations, and spend many of their days together at the library. Another love they both share being research, and books in general.
Then one day everything changes. Billy finally asks Bella on a proper date. Though nervous at the prospect, Bella says yes. The trouble is, Billy never shows up, leaving Bella waiting at their agreed meeting place for hours on end. Finally, worried something may have kept him, she decides to go look for him at his home. Across the street, she sees a sight that shatters her world. With a crestfallen face, Bella sees him coming out of his door with another girl.
Heartbroken, Bella reverts to her usual self, locking herself away in her room. The only one who can get through to her is Alfie, the grumpy neighbor. And then, Billy shows up, heart in hand (and a crutch) with an explanation.
The Romantic Moment – Romantic Moment This Beautiful Fantastic, Bella and Billy
Though Bella’s still in something of a funk, this doesn’t stop Alfie and Vernon from looking out for her. They go about this by taking care of landlord troubles. Just as they squabble with each other over its resolution, a young man shows up at Bella’s door.
Noticing this person, Alfie looks him in the eye and bluntly asks, “Who are you?”
Having already spotted Bella through a window (and tried to state his case) before she quickly disappeared from his line of sight, Billy cautiously (and with a great deal of apprehension) replies, “I’m Billy. I’m looking for Bella.” He further states that she isn’t expecting him, and that he’s a “few days late.”
What follows is Alfie and Vernon grilling this boy in an endearing, protective manner.
They accuse him of being married. Married? He’s not married, says Billy.
They confront him with the truth of what Bella saw (Billy with another girl) and that he stood up their Bella. Alfie further demonstrates his dislike of this stranger by finishing with, “Yes, you stood her up, you weasel!”
(All the while, Bella listens to Billy’s words from afar, safely tucked away in the backyard shed.)
Still prepared to defend himself against this unusual jury, Billy sticks with the same story: there was no way he could meet Bella. You see, he was in an accident. He’s been in the hospital.
They further press him on why he didn’t call her. He didn’t have her number.
But wait! He managed to get her address? Billy has an explanation for this as well.
The press him harder: Alfie wants to know what Billy’s intentions are toward Bella.
Still not deterred from his mission to see Bella, Billy says, “I like her very much.” Furthermore, he continues, “I appreciate that you two are close family, but really, I think I’d rather tell Bella to her face before you two interrogate me any further.”
Satisfied, the men lead Billy to Bella, who happens to be hiding in a small building in her back yard.
Realizing Billy is coming towards her, Bella (in so many words) shouts at him to leave.
Alfie assures her they’ve had “a word” with Billy, and they believe his explanation.
Equally frustrated, but insistent, Billy tells Bella all this with a wall between them, “But Bella, I was hit by a bus that day.” Sincerely he continues to defend himself. “That’s why I wasn’t there,” he tells her.
Still convinced she saw what she saw, Billy finally realizes the truth. He tells her who she saw was his brother, one of three identical triplet siblings, and the brother who’s quite the ladies’ man. Softly and with hope coloring his voice, he declares, “You know, I would never lie to you, Bella.” As if to reinforce the truth and sincerity of his statement, he reemphasizes it with the following words. “You must believe me, Bella.”
Desperation tinges his voice and he moves into the small stone shed. Nothing if not persistent, he asks her out again. He has friends playing in the park, he says and he is “rather hoping you might be my guest.”
At this time, Bella is still keeping metaphorical and literal distance between herself and this boy she fell (hard) for. Once inside, all he sees is an empty room with a small curtain covering a window. “Bella…” he queries, “Bella are you there?” Reaching out he opens the curtain where Bella waits on the other side.
Appearing in the opening, she answers, “I’m here.”
Finally the pair is face to face for the first time in Billy’s speech. She continues with an obvious statement, “You’re a bit accident prone.”
Sweetly (*swoon*), he replies, “I do seem to be around you.” Tentatively (and still Bella has barely spoken a word), Billy questions, “So… the concert?” Instead of an answer, Bella just looks at him as Billy makes plans to come by and pick her up. He jokes that he’ll be “sure not to hit any buses on my way.”
Ever the slightest smile begins to form as she considers his words. Simply she asks, “Promise?”
Though this is nothing like the romantic moments from Austen or Gaskell, for this film and these characters, it’s beautiful, just like its title. To better understand the scene, it’s best to watch the entire film. There’s something unusually charming about this scene despite there being little face-to-face time let alone a brush of the hands or a walk along the beach. The scene packs brevity along with sincerity, and plenty of charm (because the characters are delightful). For me, what makes a scene romantic is more than a kiss or its setting. It’s about the characters, and who they are.
Have you seen This Beautiful Fantastic? Did you like it? What are some of your favorite underrated or simple romantic moments? Comment down below with your thoughts. I’d love to chat with you.
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