Based on David Sheff’s memoir, Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey through His Son’s Addiction and his son Nic’s memoir, Tweak, Beautiful Boy tells the story of Nic’s addiction to methamphetamines and his father’s desperate effort to save him from certain death. Directed by Felix Van Groeningen in his American film debut and starring Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carell, Beautiful Boy shows the devastating toll addiction can take on a family.
Beautiful Boy is a universal film because, sadly, chances are if you’re an American, no matter what walk of life you may be from, what ethnicity you are, what salary you earn, how much education you do or do not have, you probably know an addict.
This movie touches upon every emotion experienced when dealing with an addiction; frustration, fear, anger, sorrow, guilt, shame, disgust, exhaustion, hopelessness, helplessness, you name it. It also touches on the many behaviors addicts exhibit; manipulation, lying, stealing, selfishness, recklessness, risk taking behavior, etc. The audience gets a vivid picture of the full burden this father takes on while trying to get his son clean for good. In the midst of it all the lightbulb goes off that the only person who can help Nic is Nic. Replace the name Nic with anyone you know and love who’s addicted and the scenario remains the same. I won’t get into my experience with addiction right now but let’s just say I know of what I speak and I had to learn this lesson the long, hard way.
Timothée Chalamet steals the entire show. In a word, he is outstanding. I knew he was something special when I saw him in Call Me by Your Name (my review in the link), and I was sure he was the real deal then, but man-o-man this dude nailed this performance. I would be shocked if he were not nominated for an Oscar. I’m looking forward to seeing who his competition might be because right now he is the one to beat. Steve Carell is effortless in his role. It’s like he’s not acting at all and I felt every bit of his angst. The supporting cast is fantastic as well.
The directing and writing are exceptional. There wasn’t a dry eye in the theater by the time that movie went off; every man and woman was sniffling at the bare minimum. One man could not stop wiping away his tears, and he was making a serious effort to do so. When the movie went off one woman came into the ladies’ room after I had entered, locked the stall door and just broke down and cried. She was still in there when I left. I would have helped her out but I was trying to hold it together myself. It. Hits. Home.
Beautiful Boy educates the audience about addiction by showing how Nic’s addiction affects the entire family dynamic and the road to recovery is most often not without hiccups. Addiction never occurs in a vacuum. Addiction is a total disruption of everything. It not only consumes the thoughts and life of the addict, it also consumes the thoughts and life of everyone in the addict’s orbit.
The one huge problem I had with Beautiful Boy was that I wish Timothée’s/Nic’s skin would have become less clear over time and he looked a bit more disheveled as he descended into this haze of dope. Nic and his girlfriend were two of the cleanest looking addicts I’ve ever seen. Considering how they were living, and how severe their addictions were, the upkeep of hygiene on that level of getting high is highly unlikely.
Beautiful Boy earned 9 out of 10 bloops. It is an absolutely excellent and important film that relays one man’s truth about the hell he went through trying his best to save his son.
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1 = worst ever, avoid at all cost
2 = very bad, forget about it!
3 = poor movie, not recommended
4 = not good, even for free – NO!
5 = so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6 = not bad, could have been better
7 = good movie, worth seeing
8 = great movie, don’t miss it!
9 = excellent movie, a must see!
10 = a masterpiece, go see it now!
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