Home » blog » This Beautiful Fantastic (2017) – Imaginative Coming of Age Story Starring Jessica Brown Findlay

This Beautiful Fantastic (2017) – Imaginative Coming of Age Story Starring Jessica Brown Findlay

This Beautiful Fantastic

This Beautiful Fantastic Film Review

Sometimes you discover films without any preconceived notions. Other times you discover them thanks to a familiar face in the cast list. For me, the latter is how I happened upon This Beautiful Fantastic. An underrated film that’s as charming as its title would suggest.

Bella Brown’s life has been anything but easy. Orphaned as a child, she grew up to be something of an oddity without friends or family to love her in spite of this. As a young woman, Bella (Jessica Brown Findlay) is much the same person. She thrives on order and timely events (like waiting to eat her dinner until a specific time or obsessively check her door locks) and aspires to be an author. In contrast to the otherwise precise life she leads inside her small home, Bella’s dreamy imagination is often the cause of her tardiness to her job at the library which threatens her position.

RELATED |  Carrie Pilby (2017) – Genius, Literary Heroine Finds Happiness in New York Streets

Unexpectedly, a trio of men enters Bella’s life. The first is her opinionated neighbor, Mr. Stephenson (Tom Wilkinson). Following him is his employee, Vernon (Andrew Scott), a struggling single father who becomes loyal to Bella. Then there is Billy (Jeremy Irvine), an eccentric inventor. All three men come to mean something different to Bella, and all three will teach her something she never expected.

This Beautiful Fantastic

There are some films that creep up on you in unexpected ways and places. This is one such film. Though I expected to enjoy it for its whimsical nature, what I didn’t anticipate was the way it so fully embedded itself into my heart. So much so it makes me sad this gem isn’t receiving greater notoriety.

Primary among the reasons I wanted to see this was Jessica Brown Findlay, who period drama fans will recognize as Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey. As usual, Jessica’s screen presence is stunning. She has a quiet grace I admire, and her portrayal of Bella results in a beautiful characterization. Apart from Jessica, the rest of this cast is flipping amazing! Of course. Wilkinson proves he’s a veteran talent for a reason. Happy (surprise) additions to the cast are Anna Chancellor (A&E’s Pride and Prejudice) and Andrew Scott. In particular, it’s hilarious to see Scott play this type of role (that of caregiver) after his creepy turn in BBC’s Sherlock.

RELATED | Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – An Offbeat Comedic Romance with Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor

Tossing around words like “whimsy,” and “creative” fit this film like a glove. At the surface, it’s a typical British comedy complete with invitations to tea that blossoms in a gentle way, with its quirky brand of humor. And I love this. The script works well in its slower, almost relaxing pace. As I watched this, I found myself drawn into the story and the lives of these characters. Whether it’s Bella’s life at the library or the ways she’s slowly drawn out of her shell (through Billy, the garden or Vernon’s unexpected care of her), I adore the progression.

This Beautiful Fantastic

By means of comparison, for those who like films such as Not Another Happy Ending, Carrie Pilby, or Table 19, this too is something you may enjoy. Bittersweet though this story is, it’s also perfect. I appreciated its originality and vision. One is the lessons it teaches Bella often through the wisdom of her neighbor. She learns how to be a part of the world (one that’s wide, far and amazing) without losing herself. She’s unique and that’s what makes up the pieces of who she is. To end, I’ll say this; let its sweet nature (with a bent towards magical realism) sweep you up in its story. It’s a journey that’s as fantastic as its title suggests.

Where to Watch: Rent or buy This Beautiful Fantastic on Amazon Video or iTunes. It’s also available on DVD and arrives on Netflix July 18.

Content Note: Apart from one or two commonplace profanities, this film contains nothing offensive. It’s rated PG.

Photos: Samuel Goldwyn Films


Five Corset Rating Lower Byte Size

“The stuff that dreams are made of.”


three heart rating

“Happiness in marriage is entirely a

matter of chance.”

*Lowered simply because romance, sadly, plays a limited role

Silver Petticoat Review Logo Our romance-themed entertainment site is on a mission to help you find the best period dramas, romance movies, TV shows, and books. Other topics include Jane Austen, Classic Hollywood, TV Couples, Fairy Tales, Romantic Living, Romanticism, and more. We’re damsels not in distress fighting for the all-new optimistic Romantic Revolution. Join us and subscribe. For more information, see our About, Old-Fashioned Romance 101, Modern Romanticism 101, and Romantic Living 101.
Pin this article to read later! And make sure to follow us on Pinterest.


By on June 27th, 2017

About Rissi JC

Rissi is a self-diagnosed Bookaholic and TV fandom addict. She’s currently an avid blogger and reader who enjoys interacting with readers, and often dreams about finishing her first novel. When not writing or reading, she can be found working as an INSPYs advisory board member or contributing to e-zines. Her scribbles are housed on her blog Finding Wonderland (https://www.rissiwrites.com).

More posts by this author.

8 thoughts on “This Beautiful Fantastic (2017) – Imaginative Coming of Age Story Starring Jessica Brown Findlay”

  1. I really enjoyed This Beautiful Fantastic too! Jessica Brown Findlay definitely impressed me in the role of Bella. I haven’t seen her in much besides Downton Abbey and Jamaica Inn, but this made me want to track down more of her film roles. I’m also adding Carrie Pilby and Table 19 to my to-watch list now!

    • YAY! Glad you enjoyed this one, Melissa. It’s quirky, but lots of fun. I adore ‘Downton,’ but haven’t seen “Jamaica Inn.” Yet. Hope to see it soon, and like you, I’d like to see Jessica in more roles too! Enjoy “Carrie Pilby” and “Table 19,” both are fun comedies! 🙂

  2. I really want to see this film but for some reason it’s not available in the UK. Seems exactly the sort I like. Lovely Review!

    • Huh, how strange. Especially since it’s an international drama! Hope it arrives to the UK soon, Elinor as it is indeed a lovely film. 🙂 Let me know what you think when you have a chance to see it.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.