Richard joins CP24 anchor Nathan Downer to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “Halloween,” the late Rob Stewart’s ecology documentary “Sharkwater Extinction,” the drug drama “Beautiful Boy” and the film Robert Redford says may be his swan song “The Old Man and the Gun.”
A weekly feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at the drug drama “Beautiful Boy,” the wistful “The Old Man and the Gun” and the eco-doc “Sharkwater Extinction.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the tricks and treats of “Halloween,” Robert Redford and Sissy Spacek in “The Old Man and the Gun” and the drug drama “Beautiful Boy.”
“Beautiful Boy” is a story about the unrelenting grip of addiction. Based on the memoirs “Beautiful Boy” and “Tweak” by David and Nic Sheff, the film stars Steve Carell as a father desperate to save his son, played by Timothée Chalamet, from a life with a needle stuck in his arm.
The non-linear story begins with David admitting he no longer knows his son. “There are moments when I look at him, this kid I raised, that I thought I knew inside and out, and I don’t recognize him. He’s on drugs. Crystal meth.”
Then a mix of contemporary and flashback scenes tells the story of a young man who says crystal math “takes the edge off reality. When I tried it I felt better than I ever had,“ he continues, “so I just kept doing it.“
The film follows David’s attempt to rescue his son, paying for stints in a rehab and spending time searching for Nic on a rainy streets and in back alleys.
It’s a study on how one person’s addiction can have a ripple effect through many people’s lives. Nic’s drug use affects himself and David and his mother (Amy Ryan), stepmother Karen (Maura Tierney) and two younger siblings (Christian Convery and Oakley Bull).
There are many touching moments in “Beautiful Boy.” The look of devastation on Carell‘s face as he drops Nic off at a long-term care facility is subtle but effective. Imagine sending your brilliant 18-year-old—he was accepted to six universities—to rehab, knowing his fate is out of your hands. Carell also nicely plays the frustration of not understanding why his “beautiful boy“ just can’t say no to drugs. That “relapse is part of the program.“ That the son he thought he knew has a secret, dangerous and unhappy life. It’s strong work coupled by Chalamet’s performance as a charismatic but troubled young man who idolizes Charles Bukowski take on the dark side of life. “I’m attracted to craziness,“ Nic says to his dad, “and you don’t like who I am now.“
Much of “Beautiful Boy” works but—and there is a big but—I never felt overly moved by the story. It should be heartbreaking to watch Nick throw his life away but we never learn enough about him to feel deeply for his plight. We know he was a cute kid, tight with his father, that he loves his siblings and is very smart but those are broad strokes that don’t paint a detailed enough picture.
“Beautiful Boy” is a little too structured, a little too clean to hit the gut as a story of Nic’s descent into depravity.