Directed by: John Stockwell
Written by:Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Jay Hernandez, Bruce Davison, Herman Osorio, Miguel Castro
Released: November 22, 2001
Grade: B+

Nicole Oakley (Dunst) is the rebellious 17-year-old daughter of a United States congressman.  Her mother died when she was 11 and Nicole hasn’t been the same since.  Her father gives her freedom but frequent detentions and several appearances in front of a judge leaves his second wife demanding she be placed in a special school for undisciplined children.

When on a beach collecting rubbish as community service, Nicole meets latino Carlos Nunez (Hernandez), a fellow classmate, and they develop a natural attraction.  Closely guarded by his mother, Carlos is a straight shooting character who is studying hard at school to make it into the Naval Academy upon graduation.

The two make an unlikely couple but somehow seem perfect for each other.  However, this is not the perception of those around them.  Carlos’s mother is appalled that he’s seeing someone outside his race, particularly with her reputation.  Nicole’s father is concerned for her daughter’s mental well-being and doesn’t want any man causing further grief to her already fragile state.

But when things are meant to be, they’re meant to be.  Nicole and Carlos are determined to be together and nothing will keep them apart.  Even if it’s worth risking the rest of their lives to do so...

I’m relieved to see a film with a teen cast that isn’t necessarily aimed at a teen audience.  Crazy/Beautiful is a serious, heartfelt love story.  The casting of Dunst and Hernandez will draw a youthful demographic but don’t think this is anything like the schmaltzy teenage garbage that’s been littering our screens.

The odd unnecessary scene detracts at times but generally, it’s a very interesting film to watch.  The cast are well-rounded.  Aside from the two leads, Bruce Davison offers a fresh take as Nicole’s father.  The soundtrack is also worth a look with a vibrant mix of songs provided by lesser names in the music biz.  It’s not ground breaking material but it is a good story and quite often, that’s all that matters.