Eternal Beauty
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Eternal Beauty

Eternal Beauty “What if there’s no such thing as happiness, only moments of not being depressed?” So asks Jane, Eternal Beauty the paranoid schizophrenic heroine of “Eternal Beauty,” and it’s one of the more thought-provoking lines in Craig Roberts’ earnest but ungainly sophomore feature — a film that itself stumbles upon moments of clarity without ever finding a happy or consistent groove. Making a comedy about mental illness is a tall enough order without the tricky tonal embellishments, filched from influences as disparate as Paul Thomas Anderson and Terry Gilliam, that Roberts has attempted on an otherwise slender script. With an assist from Sally Hawkins’ valiantly committed lead performance, the result occasionally summons the genuinely disoriented perspective of an unstable protagonist, but more often, it’s the filmmaking that seems to spiral out of control.

Despite an impressive best-of-British ensemble that, besides Hawkins’ go-for-broke star turn, includes support from David Thewlis, Billie Piper, Alice Lowe, Morfydd Clark and Penelope Wilton, “Eternal Beauty” has maintained a low profile since premiering quietly at last year’s London Film Festival: It finally gets a multiplatform release in the UK and North America this week. That low-key presence (for a distinctly high-key film) should be a clue that “Eternal Beauty” is an acquired taste, and one that not even fans of the ample talent involved can count on finding. Still, even bewildered viewers may appreciate its odd, empathetic attempt to engage with a condition too often simplified or vilified on screen.

Duration: 95 min

Release:

IMDb: 6.2