Beautiful Boy

Based on the memoirs Beautiful Boy written by David Sheff in 2008 and Tweak written by Nic Sheff in 2007, Beautiful Boy is a heartbreaking and emotionally powerful film about a troubled relationship between a father and his drug-addicted son, that is brought to life by extraordinary acting performances. The movie begins with Nic Sheff, played by the terrific Oscar nominee Timothée Chalamet, going missing, and, after returning from using drugs, his father who is the well-known writer for Rolling Stone David Sheff, played by comedian and Oscar-nominated actor Steve Carell, forces his son to enter rehab. Throughout the course of the film, Nic struggles with his addiction to such illicit drugs as meth and heroin and fluctuates between periods of sobriety and serious relapse as he bounces between rehab and home. Starting a new family with two young kids after marrying his second wife Karen, played by Golden Globe winner Maura Tierney, David has trouble balancing helping out the very troubled Nic and making sure that his new wife and young kids have normal and happy lives. At one point, he is even sent to his rather hands-off mother Vicki, played by Oscar nominee Amy Ryan, in Los Angeles to see if a change in environment could get Nic sober with the help of a sponsor there. The filmmaker does an excellent job of exploring the horrific impact that drugs have on the users and their families by showing the many complicated steps that Nic and his father must take in order for Nic to become a fully recovering addict. Almost like grieving for his son who has been lost to the drug underworld, David goes through a mixed bag of emotions, including anger that his son would put the family through so much, depression that he is not able to help his son, and guilt that he allowed his son to even get to such a dark place. The audience is also a witness to the heartbreaking and tragic circumstances of drug addiction: David eventually giving up on his son and refusing to give him money, and Nic breaking into his family home in Northern California for drug money. For a while, nothing seems to help, but he is able to get to a better place after seeing the overdose of a close friend and his own almost fatal overdose. Overall, I found it to be a very profound drama that, although at times feels uneven, is a showcase for the mesmerizing acting abilities of Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carell.

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