The Beast Movie Review: Bertrand Bonello’s “The Beast,” which spans numerous timeframes and investigates destiny and love, challenges romance narratives. The film is based on Henry James’ story “The Beast in the Jungle.” Léa Seydoux plays Gabrielle, and George MacKay plays Louis. Seydoux’s versatility and MacKay’s intensity bring it to life as a thought-provoking investigation of fate, emotion, and choices. “The Beast”‘s study of love and fate across 1910, 2014, and 2044 is particularly impactful. Despite the contrasts in the settings, Bonello’s picture has a consistent narrative thanks to pigeons, dolls, fortune tellers, and Roy Orbison’s “Evergreen.” These elements ground the plot and torment Gabrielle as she makes emotional decisions.
Gabrielle is a married woman with the ‘Beast,’ a phobia of exceptional fear, who is drawn to Louis in the Belle Époque period. In 2014, Gabrielle is a Los Angeles model aspiring to become an actress, while Louis is a nasty, sexist vlogger. In 2044, AI governs, and humans are gears in the wheel. Gabrielle must undergo surgery to face her prior lives, which the AI claims are unstable. Seydoux cleverly distinguishes Gabrielle in all three timelines. Seydoux’s portrayal is captivating, whether she’s navigating early 20th-century social standards or a dystopian future’s emotional and existential obstacles. MacKay, who replaced Gaspard Ulliel, excels as Louis, an incel figure in 2014. His wrath ticks like a time bomb, bringing tension to the story.
The film’s high-concept notion never overshadows its emotional heart. Gabrielle’s journey through her former life shows how decisions, emotions, and fate create a person’s fate. The film claims that expressing emotions in a harmful society is a difficult but necessary choice. Bonello’s comedy adds intricacy to the plot and shows that love is never as simple as finding your soulmate.
Despite some pacing concerns, especially in its first 40 minutes set in the buttoned-up period, the film finds its rhythm as it explores its topics. The film ends with a QR code instead of credits to emphasize its themes of erasure and isolation. “The Beast” bravely explores love and fate across different timelines with great performances. Its themes of fate, emotions, and social constraints make it a memorable film. Bonello’s “The Beast” is a risky mix of drama, romance, and speculative fiction that pays well.