Movie review: ‘Beautiful boy’- No melodrama or romanticism

(Photo: Courtesy)

Cast: Amy Ryan, Christian Convery, Julian Works, Kaitlyn Dever, Kue Lawrence, Maura Tierney, Oakley Bull, Stefanie Scott, Steve Carell, Timothee Chalamet

Director: Felix Van Groeningen

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 112 minutes

Rating: 7/10

Based on the best-selling pair of memoirs from father and son David and Nic Sheff, Beautiful Boy chronicles the tragedy of drug addiction afflicting someone so young and “beautiful”. Teenager Nicolas Sheff seems to have it all with good grades and being an actor, artist, athlete and editor of the school newspaper. He seemingly has a wonderful childhood. Intelligent and athletic, David Sheff knows that Nic has a promising future because he is excellent in everything he focuses on. But as his son grew older, he turned into an adolescent full of angst and confusion which led to his experimentation with drugs. Taking mood stabilisers and enhancers became a way of life. Eventually, he got addicted to meth. When Nic’s addiction to meth threatens to destroy him, his father does whatever he can to save his son and family.

Thumbs up:

Timothee is proving to be one of the best actors of his generation. It is a no-frills movie that illustrates the struggles and cyclical nature of destructive addiction, relapse, and recovery. It is beautifully directed and poignantly adapted from two memoirs. It also displays the emotional dynamic and turmoil of the father-son bond wonderfully. The cinematography is also top notch and captures the tone of the film. The film is honest and you empathise with the issues because the film explores the pain in such a real way. We witness how the addiction affects the entire family and how average people can be sucked into the black hole that drugs offers.

Thumbs down:

Addiction dramas are always a chore, which may be the point. You’re supposed to feel the frustration and desperation of the addicted characters involved. But you might find this one especially frustrating for some reason. Perhaps it’s the potency and resilience of the kind of addiction dealt with by the film’s main character. Or the overly understated performances and direction that made this feel as empty as it ended up making me feel. Either way, though the movie has a few memorable and even heartbreaking moments, you can’t help but feel as though a more expressive and dramatic approach would’ve worked better.


It is relevant in this day and age to show the problems that relatable youth face. No melodrama or romanticism of addiction typical of Hollywood films. In this film, we see the torment & despair of addiction powerfully and realistically explored within a middle-class family. Even if you can’t relate to the drug-addiction plot, Beautiful Boy is a must-see for everyone. Lovers of this film will also love the movie Ben Is Back.