It is inevitable that a movie like Beautiful Boy has been made about the very severe Opioid and drug addiction crisis on this country. This movie was painful to watch, not only because of the main character played very well by Timothée Chalamet who has an extremely severe drug problem – but also for what his addiction puts his father through, played by Steve Carrel in probably his best dramatic role. Carrel plays a dedicated and outstanding father who has been devoted to his son throughout his whole life and despite all of this can not save him from a devastating drug addiction. The message here is that even if you are a perfect parent, you still cannot be so perfect to protect your child from so many bad influences. People do not live in a vacuum.
The other message of this story is that you cannot help anyone who does not want to help themselves. An addiction can be fought by anyone who goes to rehab and follows a defined process, refined through years of research and trial and error. A person in rehab has to realize that their success is life and death and in the long run of hard years of treatment and relapses – up to them. Anyone going through something like this eventually has to care more about themselves and their family than the drugs that give them a temporary escape from a reality that they can no longer tolerate. The difference between a disease like this and cancer is that a person does have a fighting chance to help themselves but they have to want this more than the drugs. This is what makes a story like this so difficult to watch, when you know that so many in this country have died from the epidemic of Opioid and drug addition.
This film is good enough to be nominated for a best picture Oscar along with Steve Carrell and Timothée Chalamet as best actor or supporting actor roles. Beautiful Boy gets my highest recommendation.
The first film actor Jonah Hill has ever written and directed seems more like a documentary of a life all too common on poor neighborhoods. The main character Stevie played extremely well by actor Sunny Suljic is a 13 year old kid who lives in a poor LA suburb in the mid 1990’s; raised by a single mother and living with an 18 year old brother who constantly beats him up. His entire survival, mainly because he a poor small kid in a very tough neighborhood is contingent on becoming friends with other lowlife poor kids in the neighborhood – and all they do all day long is drugs, drinking and skateboarding. I cannot remember any movie that has this much of non stop foul language – almost to the point where it is overkill or an over the top example of how young hoods like this talk in real life. However, to this degree of foul language I thought it was too much and mostly unnecessary.
Throughout this entire story you cannot help but feel very sorry for the likable 13 year old who desperately tries to fit in with this older and much taller friends even to the point of risking his own life several times. Most of this film was extremely difficult to watch, most especially during a scene where they all climb into an SUV when the driver was so extremely drop dead drunk. The dangerous and stupid things poor desperate kids this age will do to not look weak in front of their peers costs more lives than just about anything else they do that is life threatening.
For poor people with no hope or future in this country, ultimately it is all about what other people might think about you, never about doing the right thing – or even thinking about breaking out of your bleak existence with no future.
I thought the acting in this movie/documentary was never noticeable and the story while simple was well told, despite its short depressing message. I would recommend this movie to be nominated for best documentary, rather than best movie, but despite this it has a shot for one of the 10 nominations for best picture this year, including Jonah Hill for best director. I do recommend Mid90s.