Movie Review: Beautiful Boy

I watched Beautiful Boy last night.

I’ve known about this movie and read the real life accounts from Nic and David Sheff both some time back.

See here for David’s Sheff thoughts after watching this movie. 

My normal go-to kind of movie tends to lean towards British humour or historical battlefield fights, but the trailer, actors and the way the true story was written put it on my list to watch.

The following is my review: Beautiful Boy.

The quiet tenderness of a relationship constantly hammered by an uncontrollable addiction.  The grainy images of overdosing on a filthy public bathroom floor.  Spit sitting on the corners of a young man’s drug addicted mouth as he lies to his father, then begs for money.  The way a dad hugs his child.

Beautiful Boy is beautiful.

I was near tears a few times (I thought only stories about endangered chimpanzees could make me cry).  I had to sit back on the sofa a few times.   At one point I thought it couldn’t get worse … and it did.  At one point I thought the movie was ending and there was still more to tell.  


It’s the first time I’ve seen a movie with Timothée Chalamet. It is maybe the fourth or fifth with Steve Carrell.  Together they were, in a phrase, perfectly cast.

Chalamet is appealing without a doubt – enough androgyny to play any role, he’s a skilled professional with a balanced agent finding well written scripts.  An excellent combination, he’s going to be fun to watch in the future.

Then there’s Steve Carrell.  No way Beautiful Boy would have worked had it not been for the way Carrell stepped his character into every scene.  Carrell metaphorically opened up his chest and showed the pumping heart of a decent father breaking.

He’s become that actor – the one who can deliver a line but also can act a person ‘thinking’, act a person ‘feeling’.  It’s something to watch Carrell display the silence of love and pain of desperation without so much as employing one gimmicky quiver from his lips or sad puppy dog eyes.

Beautiful Boy is a well written, well directed tough watch.  It’s cinematography is unapologetically Californian, very much like that of Alpha Dog.  It’s a period piece with an accuracy that reminds me of how Argo was done, and approaches its subject matter the way 28 Days should have.

I give Beautiful Boy an A grade, and an additional plus (+) tacked on for Steve Carrell’s performance.

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