A Beautiful Life Plot Summary
The story follows the story of Elliott, a young fisherman with a tragic past. He’s been eking out a living down on the docks but he also sports an extraordinary talent – he’s an amazing singer. However, he doesn’t want to take the next step and make it into the bigtime, causing him mental strife.
When he performs at a small club with his friend Oliver, Suzanne and her daughter Lilly happen to be in attendance and notice Elliott’s talent shine through. What ensues from here is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as Elliott finds his life changed forever… but will his past demons come back to haunt him?
What happened to Elliott and Lilly’s families?
Elliott’s family died when he was young, and the only relics he has left of their life comes from a picture and his dad’s boat, which he lives in. The boat makes him feel closer to his parents and through working as a fisherman, he’s been saving money with the intent on traveling around the world.
Growing up was not easy for Elliott, whose childhood was spent living with foster families and living in children’s homes.
By comparison, Lilly was born into a wealthy family. However, the absence of her father affected her deeply. Living as a prolific artist, he would regularly go to extremes to please his audience, oftentimes at the expense of his own family. In fact, he actually bailed on Lilly during her 10th birthday. He disappeared for three years and since then, Lilly has been bitter about the entire endeavour.
Lilly spent time trying to connect with her father, despite her bitterness, but he was never really there. In fact, he died after jumping off a balcony after his performance. As a result of hearing all this, Lilly and Elliott connect and grow closer, bonding over their similar sorrow. They begin to compose songs together.
What does Oliver do when he returns?
After releasing his first song, Elliott goes viral. With Patrick and Lilly by his side, he becomes an overnight sensation. Oliver, the guy who bailed on him during the opening performance, returns. He causes all sorts of problems, leading Elliot down the wrong path. He even snubs Lilly in the studio, causing her to walk out. This clearly brings back awful memories of the past when her father would bail on her too.
Soon though, we learn that all of this is a ruse because Oliver wants to use his “friend” to leapfrog to success. Oliver claims that Elliott has stolen the life meant for him and believes that he owes Oliver as much. Elliott, being the nice guy that he is, decides to allow Oliver into the studio to do the bridge on one of the songs. The thing is, he’s not a singer, given the lines are out of tune, and time is of the essence. Suzanne refuses to throw away all that hard work and decides t pull the plug herself, forcing Oliver out the booth.
Oliver, enraged and jealous of Elliott, decides to get his revenge by setting fire to Elliott’s dad’s boat. When Elliott leaves the booth and finds the boat ablaze, it’s like a part of him has died and he’s beside himself with grief.
Do Lilly and Suzanne hash out their issues?
Circling back to what happened earlier with Lilly’s father, we get a bit more context to all of this when Lilly confronts her mum about the past. The two have had a strained relationship throughout this movie, partly due to Suzanne’s desire to push Elliott into producing records and being the best he can be. Lilly though, believes she’s going to turn him into a machine, burning him out by making him constantly produce music to the point of burnout.
All of this dates back to Lilly’s father, whom we know commit suicide. However, Suzanne admits she didn’t answer the phone to him that night because she was afraid he was going to tell her it was over. She just let the phone ring. Given Lilly adored her father, Suzanne couldn’t put her through that and give a negative impression of him.
Lilly admits it wasn’t her father calling that night, it was actually her. She was there at the hotel that night but she didn’t get to the rom in time. The only thing she needed was Suzanne but she wasn’t there. Lilly spills her heart, explaining how she missed him but actually missed her mother even more. After clearing the air, these two embrace and start to wrap up their severed relationship after all this time.
What does Elliott decide to do with his career?
With Elliott’s friend gone, his boat destroyed and his career on the line, Lilly drops a massive bombshell his way by declaring that she’s pregnant. Everything’s at stake for Elliott, given he’s going to be standing on Skanderborg’s main stage in 48 hours’ time and he has a choice to make. But he’s silent. Stunned into submission and struggling to make sense of what’s happening. When he freezes on stage, thankfully the crowd bail him out given they know all his lyrics for him.
How does A Beautiful Life end?
In London, Lilly heads off to see John, a producer who’s excited to work with Elliott. The thing is, Elliott is wrestling with his own demons and it’s unknown at this point whether he’ll ever be the same again.
Everything here centers on Elliott nailing this song. He blames everyone around him for what he believes is his life being upended and ruined. Patrick explains to him that he never had a family and he gambled everything for the life he has. He explains that Elliott is a star and he needs to have some courage. He also points out that he and Lilly are part of his family so he never needs to worry about being on his own.
Elliott heads onto a show called Rocket, where his love song is brought up by the host. He asks who he’s dedicated this too, but Elliott nonchalantly claims that it’s for “everyone”. We know that he really has feelings for Lilly and the song is for her.
As he steps up to sing, Lilly is there watching. Elliott locks eyes and plays the piano, harking back to the melody they first shared together on his father’s boat. He sings about their relationship and how he feels, including the fear about her being pregnant and about growing up, with each verse discussing the emotional turmoil of letting go of your children growing up and moving on.
Sometimes we can’t put into words how we feel and the only thing that really tells the story of our heart is a song. A song like Elliott’s final jam in London. This beautiful track encapsulates all of Elliott’s feelings and shows him moving past his insecurities and worries. He’s finally open to the next chapter in his life and the look he gives Lilly at the end seems to show that he’s moved past his demons now, thanks to his music, and he’s ready for the next chapter in his life. It’s a beautifully touching ending, and one that closes out his journey in a satisfying manner.
Read More: A Beautiful Life Movie Review