“Beautiful Boy” stars Steve Carell as a father trying to save his son from the grip of drug addiction. Timothee Chalamat plays the son who outs himself and his family through all sorts of emotional hell on this devastating journey.
I have not experienced this first hand. I do work with drug addicts in my professional life and have been through some training courses on the matter. I have some distant family members who have fallen into the trap over the years. There have been people in my life who have died because of their inability to quash this compulsion.
Although it is hard to say that this movie is enjoyable, I will say that it was well-made and seems to have been well-researched. It is based on the experiences chronicled by David and Nic Sheff. There was some effort to infuse some actual data about the biological effects that drug use can have on people.
The movie also explores the notion of the addict can’t be saved by anyone except himself once he is ready to really accept the help.
The performances were powerful, Carell plays the turmoil that most loving fathers in this predicament must experience quite convincingly. Chalamat certainly held up his end quite well. Maura Tierney was quite good as Sheff’s second wife and steep=mother to young, hapless Nic. Tierney is always good so that’s no surprise. I was surprised to see Timothy Hutton in a brief turn as the doctor trying to explain the scientific side of drug addiction to David.
The film seemed to have done the information down pretty well. I am no expert on drug addiction, but the material seemed to have lined up quite well with what I have been taught over the years and have heard from addicts.
There were some flashback scenes that were a little sudden at times. It’s one of those films that starts with a startling conversation and then backtracks to catch the audience up.
It’s a tough movie to watch sometimes, but it is an important one. Sadly, there are too many families in the world that will find this agonizingly familiar. It may not be the most joyous of cinematic diversions, however it is an enlightening and emotionally powerful one.