Plenty of films in the last decade have circled the topic of substance abuse. Movies like fictional films “A Star is Born,” to autobiographical films like “Moonlight” capture the heartbreaking reality of addiction. “Beautiful Boy” does the same.
The movie is based off a series of memoirs written by father and son, David and Nic Sheff. Nic Sheff started experimenting with drugs at the age of 12. By the time he was 19 he was taking regular trips to rehab.
In 2005 David Sheff published an article in the New York Times, which led to his book “Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction” published in 2008. The Amazon Studios film primarily focuses on the two and how they were both affected during the time of the addiction.
Though stories portray substance abuse, “Beautiful Boy” approaches the issue from a different angle. Rather than diving into the emotional pain that the characters endure, the film focuses on the visual aspect of it. This creates an ambience to the film in which the characters don’t directly express their feelings but show viewers by their actions.
“Beautiful Boy” touches base on how addiction affects not only the addicted, but the loved ones surrounding them. It shows how hard it is to see a person throw his/her life away, and try everything one can to save that person. This film delivers the message that it is only the addicted who can change their ways. It sheds light on the painful reality of having to walk away from a situation like the one in the movie.
Being that these are true stories coming from a real family, it makes it a tedious task for the actors to portray. Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carell are Nic and David Sheff in the film.
Chalamet, a fairly new actor in Hollywood, gives it his all in reenacting the emotional and physical suffering that Nic Sheff went through during his addiction. Both actors consistently represent the mental state in which those involved in a time like this would occupy.
It may be hard to get the humorous Michael Scott (a goofy and mildly inappropriate character from the American TV series “The Office”) image out of the viewers head while watching Carell, yet he still does justice to the character.
All in all “Beautiful Boy” takes the viewer on an emotional ride through substance abuse, while doing so in a brilliant and beautiful way. From the gorgeous setting of northern California, to the well crafted soundtrack featuring John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy” this film has everything it needs to tug at the heartstrings.
The R-rated film runs for two hours and can be viewed at any local theater.