Beautiful Boy

Recommended

2018 | 112 minutes | Rated R

I’ve never been a parent or a junkie (yet!), but I found a lot that resonated in Beautiful Boy, a low-key film based on a pair of interconnected memoirs from father and son David and Nicolas Sheff. David (Steve Carell) chews himself up over son Nic’s (Timothée Chalamet) spiral into meth and heroin addiction, asking what he could have done to prevent it and wondering how he can fix it. Nic, meanwhile, copes with not only his body’s betrayal but with the disappointment he feels, both self-directed and from his patient, confused father. From Beautiful Boy’s perspective, Nic is really only guilty of having a curious mind, while David, a good father in every recognizable way, might have simply waited too long to show his beloved son some tough love. The performances make the whole thing sing. Carell and Chalamet both do expectedly good work, and they’re matched by Amy Ryan as Nic’s mother and Maura Tierney as his stepmother. Beautiful Boy is driven by the real-life horror of watching a loved one succumb to drugs, but it’s a family drama devoid of most of the genre’s manipulative qualities, substituting them with honesty, empathy, and fully drawn human beings.

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Film Credits
Director
Felix van Groeningen
Cast
Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney, Amy Ryan, Timothy Hutton, Kaitlyn Dever, Andre Royo, LisaGay Hamilton