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.
Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies, “Office Christmas Party” with T.J. Miller, Jason Bateman and Jenifer Aniston, “Jackie” starring Natalie Portman, “Lion” with Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman and Jessica Chastain as “Miss Sloan.”
Richard sits in with Erin Paul to have a look at the weekend’s new movies, “Office Christmas Party” with T.J. Miller, Jason Bateman and Jenifer Aniston, “Jackie” starring Natalie Portman, “Lion” with Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman and Jessica Chastain as “Miss Sloan.”
“Lion,” the heart-tugging true tale of Saroo Brierley, is the story of one determined man’s attempt to connect with a past he barely remembers.
When we first meet Saroo (played as a child by Sunny Pawar) he’s a lively five-year-old boy living in abject poverty in a small town in India. His mother is a labourer, moving rocks to eek out a living for her family. Saroo and his brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate) help out, stealing coal from passing trains to make money to buy milk. When the boys get separated while looking for work the youngster ends up on a train, destined for Calcutta, 1600 km from home.
Alone and lost, he desperately tries to find his way home, but without knowing the name of his town or mother—“Her name is Mum,” he says.—he wanders the streets, his only possession a piece of cardboard to sleep on. For weeks he navigates through the dangerous city streets, learning who to trust and when to run. Found and sent to an orphanage, he is then adopted by Australians Sue and John Brierley (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham). “Did you really look for my mom?” he asks as his caseworker signs off on the paperwork.
Cut to twenty years later. Saroo (now played by Dev Patel), raised by loving parents, has grown into a handsome young man, but is increasingly troubled by the question marks of his early life. “I’m lost,” he says to girlfriend Lucy (Rooney Mara). “Do you have any idea knowing what it is like knowing my real mother and brother spent every day looking for me?” Thoughts of his early life plague him until he begins to piece together the details of where his journey began.
Nicole Kidman may be the Academy Award winner in the cast, and she is very good, but the performances you’ll remember come from the two Saroos, Sunny Pawar and Dev Patel. Two actors, one character; both looking to find themselves, physically and spiritually. It’s an engrossing and often heart-wrenching journey and the pair keep us interested for the whole trip.
Pawar is a wide-eyed charmer, innocent but fearless, who conveys both the desperation to get home and the will to survive in dangerous situations. It’s a performance completely free of the preciousness that often mars kid’s work; one that effortlessly cuts through to the core of the character.
Patel navigates a different part of Saroo’s journey. As an adult he speaks English with a heavy Australian accent and can no longer remember the Hindi of his youth. Thoroughly westernized it isn’t until he accesses some long repressed memories that his need to find his real home surfaces. Patel embodies the emotional battle between the home he has grown up in, with all the comforts of a loving adopted family, and a need to understand where and who he came from.
“Lion” isn’t perfect—some of the Google Earth searches are as interesting as you might imagine a Google Earth search on the big screen to be—but it is emotionally engaged with all of its characters, and you will be to.