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The Beast (2023) Movie Review : A Sci-Fi Romance Odyssey

Last Updated on November 27, 2023 by SPN Editor

“The Beast,” a French-Canadian science fiction romantic drama directed by Bertrand Bonello, is a captivating cinematic journey freely inspired by Henry James’ 1903 novella “The Beast in the Jungle.” The film, co-written by Bonello with Guillaume Bréaud and Benjamin Charbit, stars Léa Seydoux and George MacKay in the lead roles, with supporting performances by Guslagie Malanda and Dasha Nekrasova.

Set in the near future, the story explores a world where emotions have become a perceived danger. In this society, Gabrielle makes a bold decision to undergo a procedure that will delve into her past lives, eliminating all strong emotions from her being. As she embarks on this profound journey, she crosses paths with Louis, and an inexplicable connection forms between them, as if they have known each other for lifetimes.

In the movie “The Beast,” viewers are taken on a captivating journey through the life of Gabrielle, portrayed by the talented Léa Seydoux. The story revolves around a unique procedure that Gabrielle is on the brink of undergoing—a process that will erase the memories of her past lives, making her free from the weight of her past experiences and emotions. However, before she can move forward with this extraordinary procedure, she must first relive those memories, plunging deep into her own history.

This cinematic experience is not your typical time-travel narrative. It starts with an intriguing behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of filmmaking. This prologue sets the stage for the abstract ideas and complex emotions that will permeate the rest of the movie.

As the story unfolds, we follow Gabrielle’s journey across three distinct lifetimes. The film seamlessly weaves these timelines together, creating a narrative that touches upon various genres, including romance, thriller, and dystopian science fiction. It’s a unique approach, combining these seemingly disparate elements into a cohesive and emotionally charged narrative.

The narrative of “The Beast” unfolds across three distinct time periods: 1910, 2014, and 2044. These timelines offer a rich tapestry of experiences, emotions, and human connections, all against the backdrop of a future where feelings are considered a threat. The film is a unique exploration of love, destiny, and the enduring power of human connection.

What’s remarkable about “The Beast” is that it doesn’t get bogged down in the technicalities of time travel or reincarnation. Instead, it delves into the shared emotions and experiences that bind us across different lifetimes. It explores the universal themes of love, loss, and the passage of time. The film doesn’t just tell a story; it evokes feelings and reflections on the human experience.

The three timelines within the movie each offer a distinct genre, creating a multi-layered cinematic experience. There’s the elegance of a period romance, the suspense of a thriller, and the unsettling vision of a dystopian future. While these genres might appear disconnected, director Bertrand Bonello masterfully unites them emotionally. Through intimate close-up shots of the characters, the film conveys a sense of longing and isolation that transcends time.

“The Beast” is not just a movie; it’s a thought-provoking journey that invites us to reflect on our own experiences and emotions. It combines different genres to explore the depths of what it means to be human, offering a unique and profound cinematic adventure that lingers in the heart and mind.

“The Beast” had its world premiere in the official competition at the 2023 Venice International Film Festival, and it is set to be theatrically released in France by Ad Vitam on February 28, 2024.

Title (French)La Bête
Title (English)The Beast
DirectorBertrand Bonello
ScreenplayBertrand Bonello, Guillaume Bréaud, Benjamin Charbit
Based onThe Beast in the Jungle by Henry James
ProducersJustin Taurand, Bertrand Bonello
CastLéa Seydoux, George MacKay, Guslagie Malanda, Dasha Nekrasova
CinematographyJosée Deshaies
EditingAnita Roth
MusicBertrand Bonello, Anna Bonello
Production CompaniesArte France Cinéma, Les Films du Bélier, My New Picture, Sons of Manual
Distributor (France)Ad Vitam

Signpost Movie Reviewer gives 4 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: 4 out of 5.