It is hard to make a movie about addiction. Not because the subject matter is difficult, but because it’s hard to show the emotional turmoil behind it.
“Beautiful Boy,” is a movie about a teenager addicted to crystal meth and his dad’s struggle to help him get sober. Steve Carell plays David Sheff, a freelance writer. Timothée Chalamet plays his son Nic, a good student and a creative, whose experimentation with drugs at a young age leads to a dangerous crystal meth addiction. Makes you uncomfortable right?
I gotta say, I’m always wary of movies about addiction that are based on memoirs. It can be really easy to Great Gatsby them. You know, they make a powerful story on the page, but it’s almost impossible to really show what addiction is on screen. A teenager with a meth addiction isn’t something you can make up. So when you portray it in a movie it has to seem real.
“Beautiful Boy” almost gets there. Like I’ve said before, I like my true stories gritty. There were plenty of scenes that showed Chalamet putting drugs into his body, but I kind of wanted more. When Nic would go missing and his dad couldn’t find him, where was he? What was he doing? I mean, we know he was doing drugs, but what kind of people was he with? Was he alone most of the time? Although I felt the movie probably left a lot of that grittiness out that had to have been in the book (I haven’t read it but it’s on my list), I did feel like it did a good job of showing Dave’s distress that at some point he had to let go and hope that his son would be able to get sober on his own. I was impressed by his character’s dedication to his son even when he told him he had to figure out his addiction by himself. The old saying, you didn’t cause it, you can’t control it, and you can’t fix it. Continue reading