• Golden Globe Awards

Beautiful Beings (Iceland)

Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson’s Beautiful Beings is a portrayal of how hard and turbulent life can be for a teenager developing into adulthood in a world where there is a lack of either support or role models.
The film follows the teenage boy Addi (Birgir Dagur Bjarkason) as he befriends Balli (Áskell Einar Pálmason) after having seen him on national television. Balli is in the news as a victim of teen violence.
“After I had done Heartstone, I was thinking about my next projects and decided not to do another coming-of-age film,” says the Icelandic director Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson in a Zoom interview. “But then I had these quite violent dreams, which were connected to my childhood in the suburbs of Reykjavik, and I decided to start writing a little about this period of my life. I realized that there was a great story to be found here.”
When young Addi’s clairvoyant mother Guðrún (Anita Briem) sympathizes with Balli’s story, Addi is also moved it. He becomes protective of the other boy in their violent environment, where Balli is often brutally bullied and treated like a misfit. Balli is often on his own: his abusive stepdad Svenni (Olafur Darri Olafsson) is in prison, and his mother frequently spends the night away from home. Like so many of the other teenage boys depicted in the film, he is a neglected child, and the friendship between the boys is what keeps them going through some very tough situations.
“It was very important to find the balance between the violent and the beautiful part of those boys as human beings and as friends,” says Guðmundsson. “They are young guys who need affection and who need to find comfort, which they find among their friends, even if it is not expressed in obvious ways. Sometimes it is expressed through fighting, which ends up in a hug. For me, it was important to elevate them into beautiful people, which I think they are.“