Beautiful Boy


Beautiful Boy ★★ 1/2

You know those movies that inspire you to go out and buy the film’s soundtrack after you’ve seen it? Felix van Groeningen’s Beautiful Boy is the opposite of that. What should have been a moving portrait of dealing with drug dependency, told from the points of view of a crystal-meth addict (Timothée Chalamet) and his distraught, guilt-ridden father (Steve Carell), instead becomes a cautionary tale of how easy it is to destroy a well-meaning film with corporate decision-making. Directed and co-written by van Groeningen (who helmed The Broken Circle Breakdown, a Belgian Oscar nominee for Foreign Language Film) and fellow screenwriter Luke Davies (an Adapted Screenplay nominee for Lion), the true-life tale is based on the separate memoirs of David (Carell) and Nic Sheff (Chalamet)—a decision that presents the rare opportunity of approaching the same tough subject from different angles. Both Carell—as a San Francisco-based journalist struggling to hold his family together—and Chalamet—as a young adult who frequently disappears without notice—give wrenching performances, ones that are undercut time and again by on-the-nose needle drops featuring songs from Nirvana, David Bowie, Tim Buckley and, yes, the John Lennon track from which the film derives its title. In a movie built around a structure of repeated recovery attempts and relapses—and anchored by love and heartbreak—the characters are drowned out by music when simply allowing them to speak would have said so much more. Watch it at Boston CommonCoolidge Corner and Kendall Square.

Related Articles

Comments are closed.