Dove Take: Not Dove Approved, this film is beautifully acted, just with unfocused direction. Beautiful Boy is a harrowing journey.
Between David and Nic Sheff (Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet, respectively), there is a world of healing in need of illumination. Nic becomes increasingly addicted to alcohol and drugs, escalating as far as a painful dependence on meth. David, blind-sighted by the changes in his son’s life, is stuck: he cannot help his son in the way he feels he should, and he learns that he cannot be the source of Nic’s recovery. And in between these characters is a beautiful dance, a journey into descent and, with hope, back into the light.
Again, between these performances from Carell and Chalamet, we ride the emotional waves of addiction, recovery, relapse, and everything in between. Between these actors, we feel deep empathy and, somehow, still habor great hope for these real-life characters. Without these strong performances, Beautiful Boy could slip up.
The challenge about the film is the amount of artistic integrity utilized in the film. It is filled with objectively great cinematography, captures a very intentional editing style, and is unafraid to incorporate a dynamic score. The issue with all of this experimentation is that it takes away from the film’s beautiful core: a long, difficult walk between a struggling son and the father desperately trying to help.
Beautiful Boy is not approved by Dove because of its language and drug content.
The Dove Take
Beautifully acted, just with unfocused direction, Beautiful Boy is a harrowing journey.