Beautiful Boy is a wonderfully acted film showing that Timothée Chalomet’s Oscar-nominated performance from last year was not a fluke.
As wonderfully acted as the Felix van Groeningen film may be, the story of father-and-son, David (Steve Carell) and Nic Sheff (Timothée Chalamet), is such a sad one. When we first meet David, he’s in some sort of office looking to learn more about crystal meth. This is because his son, Nick, is an alcoholic and narcotics addict. We see how Nic battles for survival through recovery and relapse. This isn’t to say it’s an easy battle because diseases like this are not easy.
All of the acting performances aside, the script from Luke Davies and Felix van Groeningen could have definitely worked out its storytelling problems. The film flashes back and forth so much that it certainly makes things hard to understand. Whether or not this problem originated in the book, the film’s main message is important. Addicts don’t have it easy. Even when it appears that they’ve recovered, they can easily relapse without the right support.
While there are the traces of comedy that we know Second City and The Office alumnus Steve Carell for, he’s very much a father wanting his son to live. We see the worry, anger, and hurt in David’s face all too often in this film. The same also goes for David’s second wife, Karen (Maura Tierney), and his first wife and Nic’s mom, Vicki (Amy Ryan).
The emotional performances in Beautiful Boy cannot be understated enough because they are what drive this film in spite of a non-linear narrative.
DIRECTOR: Felix van Groeningen
SCREENWRITERS: Luke Davies and Felix van Groeningen
CAST: Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney, and Amy Ryan