DIRECTOR: Felix Van Groeningen (the broken circle breakdown, belgica)
STARRING: steve carell, timothee chalamet, amy ryan, and kaitlyn dever
REVIEWER: hadassah devis
Teenager Nicolas Sheff seems to have it all - good grades, editor of the school newspaper, actor, artist and athlete. When Nic's addiction to meth threatens to destroy him, his desperate father does whatever he can to save his son and his family.
It's a tough topic to cover for sure, and Beautiful Boy almost gets it right. Almost.
The film boasts fantastic acting, particularly from Timothée Chalamet who is seriously next level. He nails the antithesis between the ecstasy of drug use and the torture of addition, letting you emphasise with his struggles, while wanting his ever-forgiving father to knock some sense into him.
Steve Carell, does well, showing his acting chops for more serious films. But it is the perfect balance of presence that makes the dynamic between the two great. Like a storm and a mountain, Carell’s sturdy, patience counteracts Chalamet’s wild chaos.
Unfortunately however, the plot felt repetitive and slow. Repetition should be expected when the film is one of substance abuse and relapse is a part of that, but when you're half way through the film and you start thinking “here we going again… surely we are getting to the end now” then pace is needed to keep things rolling.
But here’s the clincher. The film is based on a real life story - specifically on books written by real life David and Nic Sheff who both wrote separate books on their struggles - and this redeems Beautiful Boy.
Real life isn't like a movie, with the exciting twists and turns, or magical recoveries that you’re hoping for that while watching. It’s a not come-back story about a kid who had a rough childhood, and terrible parents and overcame it all. It’s an everyday kid and everyday father, who face a very real, and all-to-common problem. And that’s really freaken sobering.
Not a great pick for a fun night out, but the perfect film for a movie review in school!
Sometimes a little slow and repetitive, Carell's sturdy patience counteracted with Chalamet's wild chaos makes for a sobering exploration of addiction.