The new music world drama from Denmark, A Beautiful Life, is now streaming, but should you give it a watch?
Multi-platinum-selling artist Christopher (Toscana) delivers his first leading role in A Beautiful Life, a music-based drama set in his native country of Denmark.
Christopher plays Elliott, a young fisherman with an extraordinary voice, who gets the chance of a lifetime when he is discovered by the successful high-profile music manager, Suzanne (Christine Albeck Borge). She soon pairs Elliott with her estranged daughter and music producer, Lilly. On his way to becoming a star, struggles from the past threaten not only his big breakthrough but also the budding love with Lily (Inga Ibsdotter Lilleaas).
Directed by Mehdi Avaz (Toscana), A Beautiful Life is a clear showcase for Christopher and his talents as a singer-songwriter, with the possibility of adding crossover success in the U.S. to his resume.
One of the biggest pop stars in Denmark, Christopher has branched out in the past three years as he managed to have several #1 records in Asia & Top 20 records in areas of Europe. However, to become a global sensation, he would need a bigger platform to spread his talents.
Enter Netflix & A Beautiful Life.
“The creative process and the journey of making A Beautiful Life – both the movie and the soundtrack – started more than 3 years ago, so to finally share it with you guys feels dope.” said Christopher in a video he made for Spotify.
With nine brand new original songs, including the title track that features prominently in the film’s closing moments, A Beautiful Life seems to be a perfect vehicle for him and seems to mirror some of Christopher’s most personal real-life experiences.
In another video message for Spotify, Christopher explained how the project and the title track came together.
“It’s how the whole thing started. I remember writing this song because my wife came to me and said she was pregnant with our first kid. And it became the core of the whole thing. It’s a song that is very personal and very close to my heart and probably one of the best songs I’ve ever written.”
While his musical acumen was never in doubt, his acting abilities would be up for debate as he is front and center for the first time in a film that has some strong emotional themes throughout.
“It’s about love. Not only about music, but for your friends and family. It’s about grief. It’s about breaking patterns. But, most importantly for me, I feel like this movie is about seizing the opportunities that life throws at you and finding your voice and finding your people.”
At its best, the film is about all those things. The love connection between Elliott & Lily is littered with obstacles in the shape of family tragedies & absent parents, which elevates the story at times from the standard rise-to-fame musician arc that we’ve all seen & heard ad nauseam.
We also get a 2nd hand account of the perils of pop stardom with the large shadow & cautionary tale of Lilly’s father & Suzanne’s husband, a musician who dominated the charts and toured obsessively to the detriment of his family & mental health. The shrapnel left behind by his untimely passing is also one of the core pieces that makes this film stray away from the cliche for stretches.
Ultimately, the film works when the pacing is slow & subtle, the relationship between Elliott & Lilly is blooming, and the songs are being formed in real time. Many of the songs are beautifully constructed and work on tugging the heartstrings of its audience.
However, the film doesn’t work well when it flips the script in the rise to fame portions of the story. While it’s understandable to create villains out of jealous friends & desperate parents, the tonal shift and loss of momentum is very apparent and not well handled. To further complicate things, the character of Patrick is used far too often as a key figure in discussions with Elliott that don’t make logistical sense. Their relationship with each other appears cursory & professional at best, but the film creates multiple moments where Elliott’s mental status and stomach for the onslaught of new found fame are being questioned with Patrick as the sole guide to see him through.
Will any of these story inconsistencies matter to the core audience of Christopher fans & suckers for a good melodrama? I doubt it. The memorable songs & the swoon-worthy performance from Christopher himself will make many of the problems of the film disappear much like Lilly’s reaction to him in the film’s final minutes.
Overall, A Beautiful Life could broaden the musical career of Christopher on a global scale with certain songs from the film already reaching over half a million streams on Spotify, but the story won’t live in the minds of filmgoers beyond the first viewing. Reluctant music stars shying from their new found fame is nothing new or special, but the songs and the chemistry in their creation may get a tad more mileage.
Watch A Beautiful Life on Netflix if you like:
- Purple Hearts
- I Used To Be Famous
- A Star Is Born
MVP of Netflix’s A Beautiful Life
CHRISTOPHER as ELLIOTT
While I thought Elliott & Lilly as a pair worked well in their more intimate scenes of creative passion, the performance of Christopher as Elliott, particularly in the execution of his character’s hit songs, makes the film pop when it needs it. He displays enough range between his brooding beginnings as an orphan fisherman to his development as a musical talent to make many of the key scenes of the film work. This is his star vehicle and he makes the most of it.
PLAY, PAUSE, OR STOP?
Just when you think the movie gets too boring or too cliche, you hear a song or a story that makes it worth the effort. But ultimately, it IS a tad messy & cliche to fully endorse.