Films about drug addiction are not easy watches and usually aims to challenge the audience. A Beautiful Boy is based on a true story about a father coping with his son who has become reliant on crystal meth. The film tracks the up and downs on addiction and recovery. An awards charmer with Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet cast in leading roles, A Beautiful Boy is a difficult watch that garners some great performances.
Carell and Chalamet are great actors and have consistently knocked it out the park in previous films. This film is no different. Carell proves again his dramatic acting chops and Chalamet has become one of the rising stars within American cinema. Carell provides a thought-provoking performance as a father that must carry the weight of a son that he loves dearly but he consistently falls back on the reliance of crystal meth. Carell’s performance as a broken down father is harrowing and powerful to watch and at times more difficult to watch than Chalamet’s physical deterioration as Nic Shepp.
The performances of the two main actors are key in providing an emotional impact with the film because apart from that, the film feels very hollow. The editing is the most jarring part of the film as the film goes from scene to scene with little transition or meaning. Everytime the film tries to create some emotion in a scene it just cuts to a new scene not allowing the audience to feel or reflect on what has just happened. The film was constantly jumping from scene to scene, like scrolling through an instagram profile, jumping from photo to photo with very little context.
There was a lot of potential in this film with the representation of drug addiction, a key social issue that needs this kind of exposure. The story is a harrowing tale that is a common issue that can be reflected in thousands of families worldwide however this film lacks the emotional punch that it needs to have. This is a film that lacks meat on the bones. The foundation for a powerful film is there but this does not pull through.
The biggest fault of this film is that it tries to tell too much and is heavily edited. It becomes a story with very little full stops and this does not allow the audience to feel or reflect. It is a shame because the performances from all the cast is astounding but because of the editing, it just leaves an empty film that stuffs too much content in but very little emotional gravatas.
Film Rating – ★★ 1/2
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