Beautiful Boy is Beautiful, On Screen and Off

Image Source: Amazon Studios

“The face of addiction isn’t one you recognize.” These words stuck with me as Timothee Chalamet spoke carefully, lovingly about his new film, Beautiful Boy. The young actor, who made his debut in such successes as Ladybird and Call Me by Your Name, now stars in the film alongside acting legend Steve Carrell.

The film details the tragic yet heartwarming story of a young boy (Chalamet) growing increasingly detached from his family and personal life as he battles drug addiction. His father (Carrell) does everything in his power to bring his beloved son—his beautiful boy—back to him. As the film progresses, the audience must watch Carrell’s character struggle to recognize his boy’s face once more, fighting at times his own parental instincts to do what is best for his family.

Complemented by beautiful cinematography and a nostalgic soundtrack, Beautiful Boy is truly a modern piece of art, telling the gritty story of drug addiction, an epidemic which has influenced many in some way. In fact, the film is based off the true story of father and son David and Nicolas Sheff, who–thankfully–survived the crisis the teenager in the Beautiful Boy faces. Upcoming director Felix Van Groeningen cites the memoirs written by Scheff and his son as the primary inspiration for the film and its events. At the same time, he also notes that the film was not meant to be a verbatim, documentary-type reflection of the Sheffs’ lives; rather, it was created to tell the universal story of addiction as it ravages America today.

Carrell and Chalamet craft an unforgettable chemistry in the film, perhaps because of how close the two grew off stage as well as on. Chalamet, a long time fan of Carrell and his comedic and his dramatic work, cites working with the senior as a greatly inspiring and educational experience. At the same time, Carrell praises Chalamet’s youthful ambition as well as his entirely professional devotion to the art, even commenting in one interview that it was easy to love Chalamet as son.

The movie will sweep you to tears, to joy, and to reflection. Despite Chalamet and Carrell being strangers cast in a film together for the first time, the struggling parent/child dynamic they portray is eerily familiar to us all. Beautiful Boy genuinely reflects a reality that millions of Americans face today, many of whom did not survive as David and Nicolas Sheff were able to. It’s worth the time to reflect on this gracious piece of art, brought forward by two actors who care as much about their roles as they do each other.

1 thought on “Beautiful Boy is Beautiful, On Screen and Off”

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