Film Review: The Most Beautiful Boy in the World

A young Björn Andrésen

The history of Hollywood is littered with tales of child actors who achieved fame early and then went off the rails, often disappearing entirely from public life. Sometimes, as was the case with Drew Barrymore, they manage to get their careers back on track, but more often than not they largely fade from the public eye. Suddenly ripped out of the spotlight and left with the knowledge that you’ll only ever be remembered for one thing for the rest of your life.

During the pre-production of Death in Venice, the great film director Luchino Visconti scoured Europe hoping to discover the perfect boy. He found his Tadzio, a coldly beautiful teenage boy who becomes the obsession of an older man, in the shape of Björn Andrésen. The Swede was suddenly catapulted into the limelight, becoming recognisable across the world and achieving stardom in Japan. Despite subsequently having a (relatively) minor music and film career, but he’s never recovered from that time. His story is told in The Most Beautiful Boy in the World.

The Most Beautiful Boy in the World is a fascinating biography of a man still struggling to deal with the fame that was thrust on him fifty years earlier. Kristina Lindström and Kristian Petri’s documentary follows Björn at a time in his life when he has become more reflective. Using archive footage and contemporary interviews we can see the impact it had on him as a young man and the trauma which still invades his every waking moment. It makes for an enthralling and intriguing viewing experience.

The Most Beautiful Boy in the World is in cinemas and on-demand from 30 July.

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