Film Review: Beautiful Boy


Maggie Newell

Based on the critically acclaimed memoirs of Nic and David Sheff, Beautiful Boy tells the brutal, revealing, and authentic story of a son’s addictive struggle with crystal meth and the implications it has on his family. The main conflict in the film is between Nic and his father — played by Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carell respectively. The rollercoaster of emotions through relapse and recovery leave both David (Nic’s father) and the audience emotionally exhausted. Eventually, the film begins to take a formulaic turn of this process. One outstanding aspect of the film is the director, Felix Van Groeningen’s, (The Broken Circle Breakdown) choice to film out of sequence. And in doing so, Groeningen discloses the father’s longing to understand where he failed in his parenting and how his son morphed into someone he can’t recognize anymore.


In terms of performances, Timothée Chalamet’s is receiving an abundance of well-deserved praise. As Nic, he accurately and convincingly portrays the harrowing cycle while somehow balancing the predictable, selfish, and irrational nature of his character with someone who you can bear genuine compassion for at the same time. Although the theme of drug addiction has been adopted in several films to this date, Beautiful Boy refuses to neglect the true darkness and isolation felt with addiction and fast track to Nic’s fulfillment and the family’s resolution. The movie allows people who have dealt with addiction, whether directly or indirectly, to empathize with what Nic is enduring and resultantly, feel less alone themselves.