The Beach

The Beach Image
Metascore
43

Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 157 Ratings

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  • Starring:
  • Summary: Richard (DiCaprio) is a young American backbacker who arrives in Thailand seeking to connect with something or someone "real." When a crazy neighbor (Carlyle) in his hotel offers him a mysterious map to a legendary beach paradise off the coast, he jumps at the chance and urges a FrenchRichard (DiCaprio) is a young American backbacker who arrives in Thailand seeking to connect with something or someone "real." When a crazy neighbor (Carlyle) in his hotel offers him a mysterious map to a legendary beach paradise off the coast, he jumps at the chance and urges a French couple to join him. The explorers discover a mysterious colony of travelers sworn to protect a secret which may destroy the new found paradise. Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 34
  2. Negative: 6 out of 34
  1. San Francisco Examiner
    Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    75
    An edgy, hypnotic entertainment that's like a Club Med production of "Lord of the Flies."
  2. Philadelphia Inquirer
    Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    63
    Whether he's smacking into an iceberg or flopping topless onto a sandy beach, DiCaprio is still maddeningly lightweight.
  3. As a book, The Beach offers the option of diving deep. As a movie, it sticks too close to the shoreline.
  4. Baltimore Sun
    Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    50
    Terrific looking in the extreme, The Beach is the movie equivalent of vacation reading: no more demanding -- and no less satisfying -- than a sandy paperback left on a damp towel.
  5. 40
    A narrative that tries to juggle thriller elements, tons of pop culture imagery, and way too much philosophical baggage.
  6. Reviewed by: Robert Horton
    40
    The opening reels here promise something big, but the movie settles for a sour, predetermined funk -- "Lord of the Flies" as imagined by a Nintendo junkie.
  7. USA Today
    Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    25
    Murky, pretentious and torturously inert.

See all 34 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 22
  2. Negative: 5 out of 22
  1. Oct 16, 2012
    10
    Excellent story with breathtaking scenery set in Thailand. Leo's character Richard is an American tourist and he embarks on an adventure toExcellent story with breathtaking scenery set in Thailand. Leo's character Richard is an American tourist and he embarks on an adventure to find a paradise island. But at what price? My favourite scenes are when Francoise pretends to be eaten by a shark, when they debate how they are to get down from the waterfall and the scene where they are together in the water. Excellent cast and soundtrack. Directed by Danny Boyle. Expand
  2. TimR.
    Jan 25, 2007
    10
    (Based on the Alex Garland Novel) The Beach is truly touching and compelling picture with a new-age lord of the flies feel entering the (Based on the Alex Garland Novel) The Beach is truly touching and compelling picture with a new-age lord of the flies feel entering the millennium, terrific music score and intriguing escape into the unknown, fantastic. Expand
  3. Jan 3, 2016
    9
    Superb flik. I love the concept, Dicaprio excellent as always.

    . . . . . .
    Superb flik. I love the concept, Dicaprio excellent as always.

    . . . . . . .
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  4. May 26, 2013
    8
    Recently re-watched this film and was surprised to see how well it had stood up to the test of time. The photography is drop-dead-gorgeous,Recently re-watched this film and was surprised to see how well it had stood up to the test of time. The photography is drop-dead-gorgeous, the acting professional and convincing, and the film's central story of narcissism and disaffection still relevant. Expand
  5. Mar 13, 2015
    5
    Leonardo DiCaprio rarely does bad films but The Beach is definitely one of the worst choices he's ever made in his career. He's fine in it,Leonardo DiCaprio rarely does bad films but The Beach is definitely one of the worst choices he's ever made in his career. He's fine in it, soundtrack is superb (every time I listen to "Porcelain" I remember this film) but the story is badly developed and characters are boring. Entertaining, yeah, but there are plenty more better films about adventures that are worth seeing. Expand
  6. Apr 2, 2016
    4
    Is it time to throw Leo to the lions? The Beach, in which Leonardo DiCaprio plays a backpacker in Thailand who thinks he has found a map toIs it time to throw Leo to the lions? The Beach, in which Leonardo DiCaprio plays a backpacker in Thailand who thinks he has found a map to paradise, is going to piss off a lot of people just because he's in it. After his unprecedented Titanic splash two years ago, DiCaprio took a vacation from acting, presumably to party, but in the media he was a constant source of backlash-building fascination: all Leo, all the time. The Beach returns DiCaprio, 25, to the screen, not as the talented kid who held his own against Robert De Niro in 1993's This Boy's Life but as a Hollywood player with Titanic-size box-office clout.

    And so The Beach comes to the screen freighted with enough Leo baggage to make the movie seem beside the point. It isn't. The Beach, for all its lapses of judgment and failures of nerve, has its strong points. DiCaprio is one of them. His Richard is a pop-culture junkie, constantly pushing the video games he plays to the next level of difficulty and living his life the same way. Traveling alone in Thailand, he checks into a Bangkok flophouse, where the night sounds include a sexy French couple — Francoise (Virginie Ledoyen) and Etienne (Guillaume Canet) — and a suicidal Scot named Daffy (Robert Carlyle), who rambles about a map to a perfect beach on a hidden island. The next day, Richard finds Daffy's bloody corpse and the map. Note: Daffy returns with a vengeance in dream sequences, one of which shows him and Richard gunning down tourists. Yikes.

    It's a solid setup, faithful to Garland's book and alive with visuals that evoke Richard's Digital Age obsession with Vietnam movies, especially Apocalypse Now (clips are included), with its images of tracer fire and smoking grass through a rifle barrel. Boyle knows that Richard is Game Boy incarnate and directs the film with a video enthusiast's love for creating obstacles: Can Richard, along with Francoise and Etienne, swim to the island without being torn to pieces by sharks? Can they dodge the armed guards who protect marijuana fields lush enough to pop the peepers of Cheech and Chong? Can they find the small commune of young utopians who have established a stoner's paradise?

    Of course they can, or there's no movie. The Beach is colorful and exciting, as far as it goes. But Boyle and Hodge pull back on their usual wit and grit. The actors — shirtless whenever possible — look suitably awed by the beach, which cinematographer Darius Khondji (Seven, Evita) lights almost as sensually as he does DiCaprio. Ledoyen has her own share of natural resources, and the eye contact between Francoise and Richard suggests that Etienne will soon be history. In the book, Richard's lust went unrequited, creating effective sexual tension. On film, he nails her, a decision motivated less by logic than by the divine right of stardom that Titanic conferred on Leo: If there's a babe, he boffs her.

    That goes for another babe as well. The island commune is ruled by Sal, played by the superb British actress Tilda Swinton (Orlando, The War Zone). Sal is fortyish, with her own man, the jealous Bugs (Lars Arentz Hansen), and the tough job of keeping the peace. The settlers in this new Eden get testy when their video games break down due to dead batteries. On an Energizer run to the mainland, Sal brings Richard along as her sex slave. A way to exert her power? Maybe, but the lovemaking — not in the book — plays like another excuse to depant DiCaprio.

    These extraneous scenes let the air out of the movie. Just when the suspense should be escalating, The Beach stops to raise familiar moral questions about the sins of man and technology. Things improve when Richard becomes unhinged. Put on sentry duty by Sal, he has violent hallucinations that turn real when the island's drug commandos mow down a new crop of backpacking intruders. Richard, seeing himself as a pawn in his own video game, runs to save his ass.

    DiCaprio delivers strongly, showing Richard as selfish, manipulative, cowardly and dangerously naive — all of which makes the young man's hard-won maturity in the end more affecting. But Richard is the only flesh-and-blood character in a sea of stereotypes. Why don't these travel freaks get bored to death with being bogged down on the beach? The movie has no clue. Instead of a breakneck pace, it settles for lofty attitudinizing about the nature of betrayal. Instead of the book's climactic Lord of the Flies mutilation, it offers a derivative Deer Hunter game of Russian roulette. Don't blame DiCaprio, who seems eager to explore Richard's heart of darkness. It's the movie that wants to protect its investment. The Beach, designed to provoke audiences, stops for too many Hollywood moments to get the job done. Penalty. Game over.
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  7. Nov 29, 2011
    0
    One of the most terrible films I've ever seen. Very degrading to the country and its culture. Nonsense plot and terrible acting. I couldn'tOne of the most terrible films I've ever seen. Very degrading to the country and its culture. Nonsense plot and terrible acting. I couldn't hate anything more. Very stupid movie. I regret spending that much time to watch it Expand

See all 22 User Reviews

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