Intense, haunting, and rather chilling – Beautiful Boy is based on a true story from both the father (David Sheff) and the son (Nic Sheff). It’s a seemingly idyllic home and family outside of San Francisco. Nic (played by the excellent Timothee Chalamet) is eighteen. In flashback scenes we see this sweet boy. Now he’s surly at times, unpredictable, and absolutely breaking his dad’s heart. David (played well by Steve Carell) is concerned and caring and frustrated. He can see that Nic is high. Nic’s killing time and spacing out. This young man, so sensitive and artistic and smart, is hurting himself with drugs.
This story, sadly, is being played out all across America. This is an upper middle class family that looks, on the outside, to be close to perfect. You’ve got the dad and stepmom (Maura Tierney – wonderful) with Nic and two younger siblings who adore their big brother. Again - flashback scenes show Nic caring about his siblings and stepmom, and dad. It’s all a good support system. And long distance, his mom (Amy Adams) has a role. But drugs – first pot, then so much more, and finally crystal meth and heroin – tear everyone apart. We see David take Nic to rehab. We hear Nic’s promises – turning over that new leaf, and then relapsing. The drugs are relentless, and Nic keeps seeking them as a solution to some hole, some need he can’t explain.
Beautiful Boy can tear you apart. You really care for and root for the whole family. I thought this was a really well done movie with great acting. Chalamet plays sensitive and sympathetic so well – he’s tall and skinny and artsy looking with his shock of brown curly locks and big dark expressive eyes. You want to believe him when he’s lying. I feel so sorry for families who can’t save their beautiful boys or girls.
(RIP - Michael - my cousin's boy. i.e. the movie strikes close to home)