Bookworm and the Beast (2021) online

4K
Year: 2021
Country: United States
Time: 1h 30min
Director: Brandon Ho
Bookworm and the Beast is a romantic comedy inspired, as its title suggests, in Beauty and the Beast, a kind of retelling that parodies and ironic this classic tale in which a woman of extraordinary beauty is left at the mercy of the whims of a monster narcissist who inhabits a dark castle located in untamed lands. The director Brandon Ho uses the most striking and superficial aspects of the story to tell a current story that is rooted in the negative aspects that the digitization of markets and companies brings with it, underlying another issue in its guts, which is that of appearances and personal prejudices, as well as activism and social altruism.

Izzy is a young public relations graduate who sees social media as an opportunity to grow professionally. Nicola Posener plays a brave and determined woman willing to give everything for those who matter to her, especially her father and her sister, and that she tends to think more often about what others want. In front of her stands her antagonist, Grant Bieste, the celebrated and acclaimed CEO of the G & G corporation, played by Jake Stormoen, who is the complete opposite of Izzy. He is a tyrannical, selfish and presumptuous boss who solves everything at the stroke of paper and signature and who even gets to enjoy the evil of others. Grant enjoys threatening and ridiculing small entrepreneurs by buying their businesses and putting them on the street if they oppose, using his power and influence on social media and the Internet, where he has created a gigantic digital monopoly responsible for redistribution and buying and selling of multiple items that can completely make stores and other establishments in the city obsolete.

Izzy and Bieste have in common that predilection for social networks, although each uses them for very different purposes, a fact that causes their interests to collide when Bieste is accidentally involved in a family conflict with Izzy's father that forces him to agree with her to avoid entanglements with the courts, large compensation and even jail time.

Izzy represents the Beauty in love with the books and Bieste the Beast of the traditional tale, from which some details or parallels can be seen scattered throughout the film, such as the red roses and other flowers of colorful and varied colors that sprout adorning some of the scenes, enlivening this film, which is ideal to enjoy with the family on a Sunday afternoon.

The protagonists, played by Nicola Posener (Mythica) and Jake Stormoen (The Outpost), unfold with grace, charm and ease, giving life to Izzy O'Hara and Grant Bieste, bringing touches of comedy and drama in equal measure. As a note to take into account, both actors stand out above all for their leading and heroic roles in other productions of the American and British market, which can make it difficult to identify Stormoen as the character of the all-powerful executive, something that does not happen this way in the case of Nicola Posener with Izzy O'Hara, where many will continue to find traits of the priestess Teela.

In any case, the chemistry between the two stands out enormously and their dialogues, quotes and phrases are too funny so that the eighty minutes of film do not seem too short. The character of Izzy is undoubtedly more serious than the fearsome Bieste, who is sometimes too comical to provoke hatred and animosity in the viewer, although little by little, as the story unfolds, she moves towards a more mentality. Realistic, since Izzy is in charge of taking him out of the walls of his virtual castle to show him what the real world is like and make him put his feet on the ground, an apogee that takes place when they both enjoy their country visit to the farm of the father of the young woman. It is precisely during this sequence when the evolution of Jake Stormoen's character is best appreciated, which may seem somewhat abrupt, since the viewer will hardly be able to perceive the intermediate turning point between the Bieste at the beginning and the end of the given film. The brevity of the film, which seems insufficient to show us some aspects that should have been key in the narrative development of the protagonists.

The opening credits try to compensate for this defect by offering us a quick brushstroke of the professional trajectory of both, but a few more minutes are needed to explain the details of the matter. For example, what goes on behind the scenes in the corporation run by Bieste, a detail that could have better immersed us in his ideology and even justified his despotic behavior; and, as far as Izzy is concerned, his motivations or his life project after moving from the country to the city. Personally, I think that Bieste's contemptuous attitude towards small and medium-sized companies is justified by the imperative need to extend his family legacy and to make his father proud of him, despite the fact that he is not physically represented in the film and it is only mentioned once. However, in the same way that Izzy persists in her efforts to help him clean up his image and recover the lost followers in social networks, promoting his transformation into a curious, responsible and committed person with the world from a proactive and altruistic perspective, Bieste is the one who helps Izzy not to rashly judge people without knowing them.

Bookworm and the Beast is a film that exudes color and feelings, with excellent interpretations and a current story that, deep down, shines more as a romantic drama than as a pure comedy and which is, in turn, possessed of entertaining and charming dialogues that will invite you to see it successively.
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