It’s difficult to dissect something that is defined by being bigger than everything. More than diagnosis, more than words, more than pleasure or anything at all you can control – the relationship between David Sheff (Steve Carell) and his son Nic (Timothée Chalamet) reveals pain and love that cuts so much deeper than any packaged picture can translate. Beautiful Boy, Belgian director Felix Van Groeningen’s English-language debut, makes an outstanding effort to crystallise the cracks of the most heartbreaking and life-destroying moments as Nic struggles with addiction.
The film comes from a lucid place, born of a desire to understand and educate. David, a freelance journalist, pitches an article about what he sees his son going through (which became the award-winning New York Times piece ‘My Addicted Son‘) . He wants to know what the drugs are doing to Nic, and how he can help. The introduction cross-cuts David’s reckoning with a montage of the family that breathes with love; an already effusive score weaves the patchwork of Nic’s childhood and David’s preventive heartache before the teenager is even seen.
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