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Crazy/beautiful review by Dhyana Kearly

Crazy/beautiful is not a movie I would have picked out to go see on my own. But thank heavens for the slowdown in summer movie releases making it necessary for us to see this film - because it is definitely one of the best so far.
   This is a story about two young people _ from completely diverse cultural and economic backgrounds with totally opposite moral codes and goals in life _ who come together in such a way that they are inspired to become better people.
   Kirsten Dunst stars as Nicole Oakley, a confused and rebellious 17-year-old daughter of a rich politician father (Bruce Davison). Nicole is completely out of the box in this story - a wild-child with no holds barred. As the story develops, it becomes evident that Nicole's current outlook on life has to do with covering up some heavy duty emotional residue caused by her mother's suicide.
   Carlos Nunez (Jay Hernandez) is a good looking young Hispanic boy who is completely dedicated to his objective of doing something important with his life. He is so eager to improve his chances in life that the two-hour long bus ride to and from a prestigious school every day doesn't phase him. He is there to learn, period.
   Then, along comes a chance meeting with Nicole on the beach, a moment that threatens to totally disrupt Carlos' plans for the future and marks the beginning of Nicole's slow climb back into the mainstream.
   In the movie business there are films that dazzle people with special effects and implausible storylines to please a fickle audience, and to make a buck. And then, there are a few movie makers who are genuine story tellers, adept at weaving all of the elements of music, photography, and emotion into the plot in such a way that pulls their audience right up onto the silver screen. That's what crazy/beautiful is. An artfully created film that leaves us completely satisfied at the end.
   The relationships are rich and rewarding. No matter if it's an exchange between Carlos and his mother in the kitchen, with her speaking only Spanish or Nicole and her best friend commiserating over their dysfunctional lives _ each moment is filled with enough information that we are not left to wonder what's going on. The eye of the camera, the clues provided by the music and authentic props in each situation make every moment believable.
   At the heart of crazy/beautiful is the love story not between Nicole and Carlos, but rather between one estranged daughter and one emotionally worn out father.
   In helping Nicole resolve her guilt and remorse over the loss of her mother, her relationship with her father is reborn in a very believable way.
   Even though the subject matter of this film may not necessarily be easy to watch _ and be absorbed by, all of the issues are so well resolved in the end that you don't leave the theater feeling despair like you might under different circumstances. Put this film on your `must see' list.