The title of this movie, Beautiful Boy, is a mixed bag of nuts because every parent has to take the bad with the good, the ugly with the beautiful. For some parents it’s much more complicated. Writers Luke Davies (Lion) and Felix van Groeningen (Belgica), with the help of the real life father/son duo, David and Nic Sheff, showcase this truth through the struggles of addiction and the effects it has on family. We see this from the POV of a devoted father, played by Steve Carell (The Office), to his son, played by Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name), whose unwavering love and determination to help his son is, well…beautiful. Carell and Chalamet are an incredible pair with so much chemistry you almost forget they’re not real life father and son. It’s especially heartbreaking knowing it’s a true story and that so many families experience this.
One of the writers, Groeningen, is also the director, and while the final product is tear jerking and stunningly shot, his missteps don’t quite make this an “omg run to the theater” kind of film. He didn’t establish a consistent pattern with his use of flashbacks to be able to discern when Chalamet was younger/older or relapsing/recovering. That’s big when watching a film about addiction with so much back and forth; it’s essential to know when and where we are in the story. Chalamet is a stellar, one-of-a-kind actor, but it’ll take years to age him and that made the film’s storyline hard to follow, as it’s difficult to discern Chalamet’s age throughout. He’s 22, but let’s be real, he could pass as 15!
Bottom line: Beautiful Boy might be imperfect, but it’s worth your time to not only see incredible performances by the two leads and Maura Tierney (The Affair), but also to see how the struggles of addiction affect families as much, if not more so than the addict themselves. Head’s up Beautiful Boy is now available to rent for free on Amazon Prime ;)