The Object of Beauty by Michael Lindsay-Hogg
"A thing of beauty is a joy for ever"...
In this interesting, if rather unnoticed film, The Object of Beauty is mostly a source of anguish, remorse, financial plans and the most unlikely, uneducated character appears to be the only one who appreciates the magical work of art.
The magnificent John Malkovich plays Jake and the ravishing Andie MacDowell is Tina- together they form a couple that likes to party,eat in fancy restaurants and sleep in lavish hotels.
Alas, they do not have the money for these elevated, expensive tastes and they are heavily in debt, to the tune of ten or maybe more thousand pounds, without much prospect of a change for the better in their financial status.
Jake had made an investment in a shipment of cocoa which is now at the bottom of the ocean, from where the young man is so absurd or funny as to suggest that the man who has found and works with the wreck of the Titanic should be employed to recuperate his sunken fortune.
Tina has a Henry Moore sculpture of a small head that she keeps rather recklessly on the table by the bed and her partner comes to the conclusion that they have to sell it since they have no other source of money and the hotel will soon tell them to pay or leave, maybe both.
The innocent and extraordinarily handsome woman does not want to part with this very special and valuable gift, but she nevertheless has a creative, if illegal idea, which is to claim the insurance and hide the statuette at her friend Joan who would not say anything and surely would agree with the plan, without knowing the insurance trick.
Meanwhile, we see that the hotel is invited to hire a young woman with a challenge, the manager is rebuked for using the wrong, old, insulting terms and pressured to give the candidate a trial period, as a amid in the hotel where Jake and Tina have a glorious time- one night, as they come late from a drinking session, the woman wants some Perrier from the room service and when the waiter arrives, Jake has no small enough bills, has to ask his lover, who decides to walk about...naked.
This will be the inspiration for a couple of jocular scenes, in which employees of the hotel come to the room and Jake notices that they are looking around, waiting for a repeat of the night show in which the gorgeous, God like woman appeared without any clothes.
The first time, her partner states that she will not performing again that night and the second time he calls for her and says that the waiter is anxious to see if there is a belated encore.
One other night, they see that the Henry Moore is missing and this creates a lot of tension, we see that these sophisticated, intelligent, cultivated, aristocratic of rather pauper, erudite young people are in reality worried about each other, suspicious and especially Jake seems to be a rather bad choice as a partner.
Each thinks the other has taken the statuette, Tina nearly sure that with all the financial pressure Jake had taken the artwork to sell it, as it was considered, but not agreed, and the latter that the woman has the head at her friend, as she concocted in the presented scheme.
However, the statuette is with the deaf and mute maid, who has hidden it in the small place she shares with her brother, who in turn takes the piece to a heinous man who buys stolen goods from him, and when he is rejected, the more than twenty thousand pounds objects lands in a garbage pile, at least for some time.
The young couple call the hotel, the manager sends the a replacement for their detective and the insurance company sends its own investigator, both suspicious of the claimants, given their financial situation and the fact that they have not paid the lodging and other bills in months.
The message, after all the accusations and the cold infidelity, the fights might be that the ones who appreciate art are not the "high classes", but the woman with a disability, who says at one point that the work of art:
"Spoke to her"
While she is in awe, admires and risked so much to get it, without caring, even knowing its value in money terms, the rest appear to think of it just in terms of insurance, material value and bronze.
Jake goes to Joan's apartment, talks to her and seduces the rather disloyal friend, sleeps with the woman, only to find the precious Object of Beauty, rummaging through her place, when he thinks she is asleep.
When his lover's "friend" wakes up and finds the man she has just had sex with going through her closets, drawers, she is puzzled and asks him what is he doing...
"Oh, I have a terrible headache and I was looking for some aspirin...
It's in the bathroom...
And when he finally understands that the Henry Moore is not in the place where he had sex just to find the more than twenty thousand pounds, he says jovially, after getting the aspirin from Joan, who took it from the bathroom, that he already feels much better, within seconds (!) and this cheating stays between them...
The Henry Moore astonishingly appears again on the table...only to be stolen again...
The Object of Beauty is an interesting, good film, in spite of some limitations in the script and maybe the performances of the actors playing the maid and her brother.