By Che Zuro
Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carell in "Beautiful Boy"
Beautiful Boy - such a difficult film to watch, not so much for the acting which was incredible, but for the story. This story was difficult to stomach as it shows what many people go through regarding an addictive family member, as well as what the addictive person is trying to deal with in their life.
I'll have to warn you up front, do NOT see this film if you are sensitive to addiction or have gone through this with a loved one. It is very moving, but so very, very hard to handle. Fortunately I watched a screening of this at home and was able to pause now and then to digest everything that went on in this story.
Based on best-selling memoirs from David Sheff (played by Steve Carell) and Nic Sheff (played by Timothée Chalamet), Beautiful Boy is the story of a smart, popular, well-bred school-aged young man, Nic, who becomes addicted to meth, and is also an avid user of many other drugs. His father, David, tries to help him, while also trying to get as much knowledge as possible about drug use and abuse. Knowing this was a true story, I found that I completely forgot I was watching actors on the screen. Carell and Chalamet became David and Nic Sheff and sucked us into all of their fears and anger while going through the circle of usage and rehab.
Director Felix Van Groeningen demanded and received the actors' complete resignation to their characters, giving total sympathy to both sides. The viewer could find themselves rooting for both the addict AND the addict's loved ones.
Steve Carell was a most sympathetic father, trying anything and everything he could to help his son, whether it was driving all over the city in the middle of the night, searching the drug dealer street corners, or letting his son come back to the family home. Timothée Chalamet had an even more difficult role to portray, as many of the scenes he was high as a kite and on the thin line between life and death.
The dichotomy between the beautifully shot locations in Northern California with clean air, green grass, trees and the Pacific Ocean, and the down and dirty drug use kept the viewer on edge, not knowing what really was going to happen next. My heart hurt after watching this, all while appreciating the truth from the real people that this film was based on. The acting was brilliant. The story tough to handle. But it was all about a Beautiful Boy.