There are topics that filmmakers have been applying since their origins, which many might even call banal. Many films have been made about them. These are – lack of relationship, constant quest for one's own "I," misunderstandings, scandals. This is what society faces every day, and sometimes its members don't even notice what people stop valuing and when they lose themselves. Such topics are eternal and therefore cannot be trivial. Giorgi Ovashvili's "Beautiful Helen" (2022) deals with these topics with a different interpretation and a special atmosphere.
After five years of training as a co-producer, Helen returns to Tbilisi from New York and with the help of a friend, starts work on a trial basis with a film director, Gabo who is in a creative crisis. The next day they go to look for locations for a new movie. During this trip, interesting conversations between them and meeting a new person change both of them.
The film is about the meaning of life, its uniqueness, the limitlessness of imagination and the inevitability of physical weakness, about death, hopelessness and the search for a way out, about feelings that a person does not try to experience at all.
The story begins at the airport, where Helen (Natia Chikviladze), who has returned to her homeland, is met by her longing mother. This is where the manifestation of alienation originates, even though she still doesn't know what she will find in Tbilisi, she already has a preconceived mood. There is nothing interesting here and even the people close to her have become very distant. She does not allow her mother to hug her normally, she answers questions briefly. A situation is created that the motherland itself is changed. However, on the contrary, Helen is changed, closed and cannot reveal her feelings. She is distanced from everyone. At the same time, she is an interesting character, strong, confident, purposeful and unique. Meeting such people can really change a person. When Gabo (Dimitri Khvtisiashvili) meets Helen, he is immediately fascinated by her mind, which distinguishes her from other candidates who came to the interview.
There can come a moment in anyone's life when they feel completely alone. The reason may be that one could not find a person who could fill his spiritual emptiness. The whole film is a quest to fill the void. Gabo is not like everyone else. He works like everyone else, lives like everyone else, but he is lonely and this situation is killing him inside. He tries to speak but the people around him do not understand him. Moreover, they don't even listen. Also, he tries to understand those around him, but he cannot. A person develops in society, and how he will be formed largely depends on the social circle, on other people around him every day. Gabo is stuck between two worlds and, on the one hand, he is trying to create something new, and on the other hand, he is haunted by the thought of suicide. The director does not allow us to get to know him completely. He is half opened, which creates a sense of infinity.
This is a film that does not have one specific main character. In addition to Gabo and Helen, very interesting and perhaps more important than the two might be the owner of the hotel, (Darejan Kharshiladze) and Gabo's wife, Tamar (Salome Paghava). These two characters were able to bring to the audience the spirit and the main idea that made the film. Darejan Kharshiladze’s character will capture the heart of any viewer. Losing a loved one is difficult, it is the most terrible test in a person's life. It is by observing her character that the audience is able to analyze and think about the meaning of life. She doesn't even need words, it's easy to read in her facial expressions the grief she feels at the loss of a loved one. Moreover, all this is aggravated by uncertainty – she does not know why her spouse killed himself, what he wanted to say. She is constantly in her thoughts, and for many years the feeling of guilt does not leave her mind.
Salome Paghava’s heroine is a desperate woman, an unhappy person who devoted her whole life to her husband and family, but was never appreciated. Constant fights over small things – "Why do you eat at night? How could you not hire an intern for so long? Who is so special you are looking for?” The husband and wife talk all the time, but they don't understand each other. The more they talk, the more distant and the more lonely they become. From their example, we can see people whose loneliness leads to psychological problems. Tamar's character is fully revealed, her spiritual state is easy to read.
On the contrary, Natia Chikviladze's character Helen does not fully convey all the qualities of a youthful, conflicting character. It is true that the actress tries and plays wholeheartedly, but in many places this acting looks artificial and the dialogues are too theatrical. Her inner state is not clear to the audience as well as the changes that happen in her throughout the film. The scene of her meeting with her friends lacks credibility. It is shown dryly and the spoken dialogues are heard. Her constant walks are a metaphor for searching, she is in limbo and doesn't know what to do, what she wants from the future, and so her movement continues. She walks even in the final shot, although already with a different experience, and hopefully she will definitely understand the essence of life and find peace of mind.
Everyone in this work is lonely in their own way. Not only the four main characters, but also the rest of the characters have anxiety in their souls. These are – Helen's mother and friends, even Gabo's children. It manifests differently in all of them and everyone has a different way of solving it. Some consider suicide as a solution, some try to distance themselves from everyone, others cope with loneliness by thinking or constant arguments.
The pace of the story develops quite calmly, it is easy to understand and there are no moments that can cause uncertainty. Visually, this film is very beautiful, with warm and bright colors that play a special role. Red and yellow shades are most expressive and emphasize how monotonous and boring the life of the main characters is. In the story, saturated with beautiful views, everything is thought out to the smallest detail and indicates the fact that each of them has been clearly thought through. Characters are mostly shown in close-ups. In some places, the landscapes are more perfect than a painting. The work of the cameramen turned out to be quite impressive. Although the dialogues sound artificial, the thoughts expressed in them are a big plus of the film.
Among the many different filmmakers, there are some worthy ones who manage to create quality work on a small budget that you can be proud of. Giorgi Ovashvili has the relevant experience to create quality, so it is not excessive to expect anything from the film. This work is original. Giorgi Ovashvili is not only the director of this film, but also the screenwriter. Thus, with this film he talks about life, its nuances, people and their vices. It is a drama of life, which even has a philosophical character and is full of metaphors. Everything that happens on the screen is fascinating, as if everything seems very simple, but at the same time, it is so complicated that it becomes interesting for the viewer to follow the story.