Cinema: Beautiful

Directed by Sally Field

The problem with this well-made fairy tale lies right at its center, in the person of Minnie Driver. She plays Mona Hubbard, a young woman willing to do anything--including hiding the fact that she's an unwed mother--in order to win beauty contests. Driver's an intelligent actress, but you don't quite believe that a smart woman would spend so much time on such a dumb mission. Still, the film captures the frenzy for cheap renown with nicely curdled expertise, and Joey Lauren Adams is wonderful as Mona's faithful, hard-pressed best friend.

--By Richard Schickel


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