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Beautiful Boy review: shows drug addiction in a fascinating new light

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Beautiful Boy is Felix Van Groeningen’s English language debut film, based on the memoirs of both David Sheff and his son, Nic.

Having a huge man-crush on Timothée Chalamet (don’t worry Gosling, you’re still my number one) I’d been hyped for this film for months, so when the Cineworld Unlimited Screening was announced a month before release, I just had to go.


Sadly I was pretty disappointed with the Beautiful Boy. Don’t get me wrong, it was good, just not quite the standard I was expecting due to all of those involved – as well as the trailer.

Each performance is fantastic and both Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet steal the show, raising the quality of the film by a few points. And the story itself is heartbreaking, sending a strong message. If any viewer has or had a loved one who struggled with addiction or if they’ve struggled with addiction themselves, it’ll really hit home. It certainly did for me.

Considering the script was co-written by Luke Davies, who was an addict in the 80s as well as the presence of doctors and consultants on set to assure the performance was real, it’s not surprising Chalamet’s portrayal of Sheff was utterly fantastic. His output, as well as the script, truly portrayed an addict in every way.

But Beautiful Boy’s problems are due to its structure. Within the first hour, we see a lot of Nic’s childhood mixed in with his current life but it’s cut together in a very strange way. One moment Nic goes missing and David is out looking for him, then it cuts to the two meeting in a café, god knows how much later – and it’s never brought up again. I understand David would just want a moment of normality with his son, but due to it not being brought up again, it seems like the audience has missed out on a lot and it becomes very jarring. It’s these moments that drag the film down, making scenes that should have a lot of impact, feel out of context.

Overall Beautiful Boy is a pretty decent flick that shows drug addiction in a fascinating new light that masterpieces like Trainspotting and Requiem for a Dream just simply couldn’t. It also shows drug addicts to be sympathetic and real, in a way no other film has really managed to before and for that it deserves to be seen.

I’d give it 3.5 out of 5.

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