On a council-flat estate in the London suburbs two teenage boys are falling in love with each other. One is awkward and picked on at school while the other is popular but regularly beaten by his father and older brother. Together the boys explore their emerging sexuality and feelings for each other in an environment that at first glance may not exactly seem very supportive.
On the surface Beautiful Thing pretty much sounds like an English kitchen-sink drama combined with gay coming-out plot – and it is both these things – but it is also a very funny, sweet and tender love story. Far from being an English Miserablist film in the style of so many Ken Loach and Mike Leigh films, Beautiful Thing contains a lot of warmth and happiness.
Based on the play of the same name Beautiful Thing was originally made for English television in 1996, it secured a cinema release in Australia in 1998 and has only now arrived on DVD in this country. Filled with music by Cass Elliot and The Mamas & the Papas, Beautiful Thing is a truly joyous Queer Cinema film with universal appeal.
Originally appeared in The Big Issue, No. 340, 2009