Some films leave you wanting more at the end, whether it is in the form of researching more about the filmmakers and story or simply asking yourself what just happened? In some cases wanting more may be a good thing if the film is striving for ambivalence, but some cravings for more may be a lack of good storytelling.
Thankfully, PAULINE IN A BEAUTIFUL WORLD happened to be the first of those two scenarios. I was skeptical in the beginning because of the all too familiar story of a girl with a pre-planned future, controlling parents and trying to escape a world she doesn’t want to be a part of. What could have been a simple straightforward story transformed into something surreal and mystical.
Pauline is no ordinary young debutante who is preparing for her debut, but a young woman who discovers an escape through her dreams that are far more interesting than her pre-destined life awaiting her.
The film’s fantastical elements are simple, yet very effective. The director’s use of repeated dream sequences in various scenes throughout the film guide us along Pauline leading up to her debut. The slow dramatic shots that rely solely on Pauline’s facial expressions were effective in showcasing her pain of not wanting to be part of this society’s traditions and her joy in realizing that she found a way out in her dream world.
As a viewer and along with the supporting characters in the film, we never really know what’s going on with Pauline and that’s the brilliance and a flaw of the film. Determining whether she was just crazy from the world she was raised in or simply took a page from DONNIE DARKO and simply found a way out of her world and into a more beautiful one. I was intrigued enough to keep watching the film even if I wasn’t quite sure what was going on.
I recommend this film to viewers who don’t mind going on a journey with a main character and trying to figure out where exactly she is going and being a part of her escape. It’s definitely an interesting film that uses simplicity to showcase the dream world and lets us feel connected with Pauline enough to keep watching and leaves you asking “what just happened”? But hey, sometimes ambivalence is a good thing.
PAULINE IN A BEAUTIFUL WORLD Review
A young debutante transcends the rigid society she once knew and discovers a better place that exists inside a dream.