Beautiful Boy is an authentic and raw film, full of blood, sweat, and tears on the struggles with addiction. Actors Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carell give Oscar-worthy performances.
“Anyone who has lived through it, or those who are now living through it, knows that caring about an addict is as complex and fraught and debilitating as addiction itself.” – David Sheff
In St. Louis, very rarely do you get to see a movie and then have a live Q&A with the real-life actors afterward. Well on October 28th, 2018, my wife (Glynis) and I got to meet actor and Oscar nominee Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) and author Nic Sheff, who’s memoir (Tweak) is based for the making of Beautiful Boy. What a time we had listening to their work on making this heartbreaking and inspiring movie. Beautiful Boy is an emotionally true story about Nic Sheff’s real-life struggle with drug addiction over the course of many years. Based on the best-selling pair of memoirs from father and son David and Nic Sheff, this film chronicles the gut-wrenching story of survival, relapse, and recovery. It’s a powerful portrayal.
Oscar nominees Carell and Chalamet respectfully portray David and Nic Sheff, the father and son duo. Their chemistry together on screen is vivid and, at times, will send shivers down your spine. The movie's narrative takes a bit to get going, as we bounce around different shots and flashbacks of Nic’s addiction. Yet, director Felix Van Groeningen (The Broken Circle Breakdown) is still able to amplify the ugliness of addiction and the toll it takes on a family. The family dynamics are front and center, as we see the drugs consuming Nic’s life and his family adapting to find new ways of help. You’re with Nic every step of the way. Likewise, you’re with David along the way too, watching a father grapple with how to help and comfort his son he so deeply loves.
Carell and Chalamet give Oscar-worthy performances, as we watch each actor give an honest portrayal. Like a punch to the gut, Carell and Chalamet will leave you shaken by the end. Beautifully shot, profoundly truthful, and deeply compelling, Beautiful Boy is a much watch movie for 2018. Yet, the confusing non-linear narrative keeps the film, as a whole, from fully soaring to masterful heights. Nevertheless, these are minor flaws to a worthy film that depicts the grueling experience of walking next to someone unconditionally. The closing titles reveal that Nic has been eight years sober, "and it would not have been possible without the love and support from his family and friends." At the end of the Q&A, my wife was able to shake his hand and tell him how “inspiring and strong he is.” Beautiful Boy resonates on this imperfect, yet beautiful world we live in.
Beautiful Boy is rated R (Restricted). For drug content throughout, language, and brief sexual material.
My experience of Beautiful Boy at the Hi-Pointe Theatre.