Beautiful Life

| March 1, 2011

Beautiful Life directed by Alejandro Chomski, follows a young runaway Susan (Debi Mazar, “Entourage,” Goodfellas) victimized by domestic abuse who finds friendship among a generous illegal immigrant David (Jesse Garcia, Quincenera) and the lovely Chinese pole-dancer Bai Ling from Love Ranch (2010). Adapted from the play by Wendy Hammond, Beautiful Life is dark, but hopeful. It’s a small drama with a lot to say and has an award winning cast of two-time Emmy winner Dana Delaney (“Desperate Housewives”, “China Beach”) as Susan’s petrified mother, Anne, and features memorable a return for Jesse Garcia.
Aspiring to be a famous singer, Ling befriends dirty johns to supplement her stripping income and goes from bad boyfriend to bad boyfriend . Where Ling tries to inspire Susan, she also represents false hope. Everyone seems to have a dream in Los Angeles, but not one good job. David treats Susan as an unwelcome burden to his dream of a “beautiful life” but they accidentally fall in love. An inconvenience turns into a distraction from the pain of being separate from his mother.
Cinematographer, Nancy Schreiber, risks alienating the audience with a documentary style, but pulls it off exquisitely for a small budget film boasting a talented young cast. Amidst bleak images of LA homelessness, there are some good souls willing to extend a hand. Films highlighting LA county’s underbelly aren’t new or uncommon, but they’re a reminder that there is nothing stylish about poverty and illegal immigration. Tarantino and Hollywood Je T’aime romance the city, but Chomski creates a tragically optimistic yet endearing underworld.

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