Amazon Studios | Release Date: October 12, 2018
7.0
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 96 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
64
Mixed:
26
Negative:
6
Watch Now
Stream On
Review this movie
VOTE NOW
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Check box if your review contains spoilers 0 characters (5000 max)
5
GreatMartinNov 2, 2018
Between the coming attraction trailer, the cast including a very already proven actor Steve Carell, an actor on the rise of a very admirable career ahead of him, Timothee Chalamet, after appearing in “Call Me By Your Name” and “Lady Bird", aBetween the coming attraction trailer, the cast including a very already proven actor Steve Carell, an actor on the rise of a very admirable career ahead of him, Timothee Chalamet, after appearing in “Call Me By Your Name” and “Lady Bird", a favorite underrated actress Maura Tierney and what looked like a strong story based on books written by the father and son, I really was expecting a lot more from “Beautiful Boy”.

The movie is about a father (Carell) who doesn't know what has happened to his beautiful boy (Chalament) who now a teenager is a hardcore drug addict. The father has no idea how to help his son or even what caused it and we, the audience, can only guess at the causes. Was it his parents getting a divorce when he was younger or is father remarrying? He seems to love his stepmother (Tierney) and the two kids she and his father have.

We see the father struggling to understand what drug addiction is all about and he is there to help his son no matter how far the latter goes down from stealing his kid brother’s hidden money, to quitting school, to shooting up until he winds up in the hospital from overdosing. We see the son getting sober and relapsing with the latter looked upon as a part of the cure.

Most of the scenes between the son and father are powerful, moving and affecting but they are constantly interrupted by the non-linear timeline along with vistas along the west coast of California and pictures of their home and the surrounding area that are more an advertisement for the tourist bureau than they add to the story. Each time we get into the nitty-gritty of the boy’s addiction, the problems it causes and the places it takes him to, the camera swings to scenes of the ocean, the waves coming ashore, endless roads or even a picture of the son, with his siblings, running under a lawn shower.

While many scenes are realistic there are 2 taking place in a restaurant where the two shouting at each other isn’t noticed by the help or other patrons. A brief romance with another addict, played by Kaitlyn Dever, grabs the audience’s attention only to be forgotten about within minutes.

The 2-hour movie directed by Felix Van Groeningen, who also wrote the screenplay with Luke Davies, is really a powerful film with the scenes between the father and son only brought down and made boring by the other hour of veering off the course of their relationship. Do we really need to hear Perry Como singing “Sunrise, Sunset” from “Fiddler of the Roof” and taking us out of the picture for 3 minutes?

“Beautiful Boy” leaves you with a lot of questions that should have been answered in the unspooling of the film but instead leaving you with a bored feeling and asking why the two excellent performances of the male leads weren’t covered with a more in-depth story.
Expand
2 of 2 users found this helpful20
All this user's reviews
6
Compi24Nov 13, 2018
Addiction dramas are always a chore. And that definitely seems to be the point. You're supposed to feel the frustration and desperation of the addicted characters involved. But I found this one especially frustrating for some reason. PerhapsAddiction dramas are always a chore. And that definitely seems to be the point. You're supposed to feel the frustration and desperation of the addicted characters involved. But I found this one especially frustrating for some reason. Perhaps it's the potency and resilience of the kind of addiction dealt with by the film's main character. Or it could be the overly understated performances and direction that made this feel as empty as it ended up making me feel. Either way, though the movie has a few memorable and even heartbreaking moments, I couldn't help but feel as though a more expressive and dramatic approach would've worked better. Still, a competent work overall. Expand
2 of 2 users found this helpful20
All this user's reviews
6
amheretojudgeJan 4, 2019
More Parenting Advice.

Beautiful Boy Groeningen's cure for this inevitable generation gap may be separated with mutual hatred, but somehow in its own incapabilities it beats to a toe-tapping rhythm. The decision to narrate the storyline
More Parenting Advice.

Beautiful Boy

Groeningen's cure for this inevitable generation gap may be separated with mutual hatred, but somehow in its own incapabilities it beats to a toe-tapping rhythm. The decision to narrate the storyline non-linearly is something that still is questionable. Yes, it gives them enough reason to fast forward or highlight the plot points, but then it looks like they were seeking for a reason to connect or communicate. Nevertheless, with heartwarming conversation and accurate description on both beauty and gore, it sails smoothly. The film is set in beautiful locations and is lit up bright and easy, no matter how much then the characters suffers vigorously. This contrast kept it mind by Groeningen is something to enjoy.

But all in all, the film ought to and does dwell upon the core relationship of Carell and Chalamet. A ride so raunchy and rugged that it breathes modesty more than innocence. On that very note, the film is a triumph. If it manages to scrape out last bit of innocence from Chalamet's account, then it breeds humbleness in Carell's. This vision that isn't compromised to glorify the characters or justify through logistics, shows honesty in filmmaking. But still there is a lot left in the court to wander about.

And this uneasy voids or untouched grounds is its primary weakness. The rest of the material is often meaningless and can easily be filtered out as a distraction. Yes, they do get their opinion or perspective in on the narration, but then it seems like either it is too late or inevitably irrelevant. Groeningen sets the scene beautifully, he smartly scatters little points on the screen to work your way up but when it comes to end one, he feels a bit short handed to live up to his excellence as it did on igniting it. Carell is not your overprotective guardian, he is the friends of friends.

He pushes the boundaries by not keeping one between him and his son. A mistake or a masterstroke, the film ping pongs this decision often in the film, diplomacy is appreciated in here. His tendency to keep nagging and poking through his rigid ideologies and also to be open mind enough to grasp the one dimensional nature of anyone, balances the tone to a humane version. Chalamet, the victim or so it may seem like, is frankly more convincing when sober rather than floating around in his imagination.

Their chemistry has a lot of pressure to fill in, which they deliver, it takes a lot of effort from them, but they do. The supporting cast has done a decent work although, Ryan feels a bit underused and surprisingly Tierney gets a big chunk of impressive role which evidently bodes well to both her performance and the track. There is very little mining on terms of the concept, it is happy to surf over it and decorate it with dramatic effects as much it can. Beautiful Boy is far from being a beautiful tale, it is essential for the awareness, but productivity is to be looked over.
Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
All this user's reviews
6
chapel_dwellerDec 13, 2018
This film, did start strong. But it found its self in a horrible cycle that mirrored the cycle of drug addiction. The film was interesting to watch but then became like a chore. It was very upsetting at times and the relationship betweenThis film, did start strong. But it found its self in a horrible cycle that mirrored the cycle of drug addiction. The film was interesting to watch but then became like a chore. It was very upsetting at times and the relationship between father and son is the for front here. I appreciate the incredible acting here and great cinematography but I wouldn't rush back and see it. This for me is a one time thing, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
All this user's reviews
6
Bertaut1Jan 29, 2019
Earnest and heartfelt, but narratively awkward, and emotionally unengaging

Based on the memoirs Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction by David Sheff (Steve Carell), and Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic
Earnest and heartfelt, but narratively awkward, and emotionally unengaging

Based on the memoirs Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction by David Sheff (Steve Carell), and Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff (Timothée Chalamet), written for the screen by Luke Davies and Felix van Groeningen, and directed by van Groeningen, Beautiful Boy is a film about the horrors of addiction, told from the perspective of both an addict and his father. Focusing primarily on David's attempts to understand and fight against his son's addiction to crystal meth, the film aims for a no frills unsentimental authenticity, adopting a non-linear cyclical structure designed to mirror the repetitive nature of addiction-rehab-relapse-addiction etc. And whilst it's certainly heartfelt and respectfully told, there's little in the way of emotional engagement.

The most notable aspect of Beautiful Boy is the structure - the film is made up of a series of high and lows following Nic and David through relapse and recovery, whilst at the same time, there are multiple flashbacks, with scenes in the present giving characters occasion to think about moments from the past, often happier memories of Nic's childhood. The problem with this is that it's overused; there's barely a scene that doesn't have some kind of temporal cutaway, which dulls the impact of such editing, as after 45 minutes, you're just yearning for the film to stay put for a while.

As regards the repetitive nature of the story, I understand what van Groeningen was going for - it's supposed to mirror the two steps forward, one step back staccato motion of addiction. However, the film falls into a pattern of Nic showing up looking a little more dishevelled than he did before, followed by David doing everything he can to help, followed by his failure to get through to Nic, followed by Nic disappearing, followed by Nic showing up looking a little more dishevelled than he did before, etc. And whilst this may lend itself to a certain authenticity, it doesn't make for very effective drama.

On the plus side, with both actors giving superb performances, one really sees the bond between the two, and how much Nic's addiction is destroying both of them. In this sense, the real tragedy of his situation isn't the rehabs and relapses, it's seeing him drift further and further away from a man who would literally die to protect him.

With lesser performances, the film would have crumbled under the weight of van Groeningen's heavy-handed direction. Thankfully the performances are strong enough that the style merely distracts. Chalamet's is the more physical of the two performances, conveying so much via his body language as he alternates between playing Nic as a sweet, loving, almost immature teenager, and a stressed addict, old before his years, capable of anything to get money for his next hit. Carell, for his part, does most of his best work with his eyes, conveying the sadness and desperation he feels. His helplessness is written across his face, conveying how little he can actually do for his son.

Despite all of these positives, however, there are some significant problems. For one, van Groeningen chooses not to present some of the darker aspects of Nic's story. For example, he turned to prostitution at one point to fund his addiction. Additionally, as his hits from crystal meth continued to diminish over time, he started shooting it up, which is insanely dangerous. Leaving out aspects such as this gives the film a kind of sanitised feeling, as if we're looking at addiction through a gauze which the director refuses to pull back.

A film of this nature, detailing something like this, and based on a true story, should be an emotional rollercoaster, but the audience is always removed, the emotions are seen rather than experienced. Because the film introduces us to the characters mid-crisis, and because there's literally not a single scene that isn't either related to Nic's addiction, or a flashback from a scene related to his addiction, we never really get to know David or Nic outside this situation.

There have been some truly great films about addiction; The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), Days of Wine and Roses (1962), The Panic in Needle Park (1971), Drugstore Cowboy (1989), Trainspotting (1996), Leaving Las Vegas (1995), The Basketball Diaries (1995), Requiem for a Dream (2000). Beautiful Boy is absolutely nowhere near anything of this calibre. In fact, it's probably more successful as a kind of instructional installation for relatives of people going through addiction than it is as a film evoking emotions. And whilst it's definitely heartfelt, its lack of emotion, its repetitiveness, its distracting structure, all grate against the strong performances.
Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
All this user's reviews
5
tropicAcesNov 3, 2018
Much like dealing with a real-life addict, the film is aimless and repetitive, constantly teasing improvement and bettering only to fall back into its flaws. Could this be the point? Sure, but it doesn’t make for a good filmgoing experience...
3 of 4 users found this helpful31
All this user's reviews
6
section20mi6Apr 15, 2020
While acting is genuine, narrative sequence are lackluster and uneven throughout, proving to be ill-excited but well-intentioned.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
6
night4Jan 18, 2019
Incredibly boring, yet with some very decent acting. Chalamet is twice as good as Carell though. Carell was miscast.

Overall, meh.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
6
JLuis_001Jan 7, 2019
Many people talk about Timothée Chalamet but frankly I find it a rather boring actor. Besides, he constantly has a face of annoyance in all his performances that ends up bothering me.

Beautiful Boy is a sober and well made film but also in a
Many people talk about Timothée Chalamet but frankly I find it a rather boring actor. Besides, he constantly has a face of annoyance in all his performances that ends up bothering me.

Beautiful Boy is a sober and well made film but also in a certain point, problematic, because the narrative involves a lot of repetition.
I cannot deny that that it's something that doesn't occur with adicts and their relapses, but it was necessary to extend it so much?
Clocking at 111 minutes, Beautiful Boy feels somewhat excessive but it manages to keep afloat and end up working satisfactorily because the director prints a nice style and above all Steve Carell is an excellent quality anchor making it clear once again that dramas come in handy for him.
He's super fun in comedy but in dramas he's incredible.

Nothing out of the ordinary but I can definitely recommend it.
Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
5
ArrisJan 5, 2019
Feels a little all over the place, and sort of badly edited at time but it was quite entertaining.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews