Beautiful Boy is a harrowing watch. Forget the sensationalised version of drug use that you’re used to seeing in movies and shows like Vinyl. This is a realistic portrayal of drug addiction and the impact that it has not only on the user, but their surrounding friends and family.
Based on the best-selling memoirs from father and son David and Nic Sheff, Beautiful Boy tells the heartbreaking story of a son’s addiction to crystal meth including his relapses and recovery.
For David, there’s the side of Nic that he knows and loves, and another which he doesn’t recognise at all, whose actions absolutely terrify him.
It becomes clear that Nic has always found solace in his own company, preferring to listen to moody music, write and draw in private than interact with his peers. While this may not sound altogether concerning, this withdrawal and need to ostracise himself soon becomes a bigger issue.
In order to escape what Nic sees as his mundane life, he turns to drugs. At first it appears that he’s smoking the occasional joint from time to time like most teenagers his age. But as the story unravels David comes to realise that Nic has been hiding much bigger problems from him.
With an addiction to crystal meth that no rehab can seem to help him overcome, Nic is constantly seeking out his next hit, no matter what he needs to do to get it.
His life has become so dependant on the drug. Nic simply can’t live without it, but it’s slowly killing him.
Nic’s family go to hell and back trying to support him through relapses, sobriety and everything in between. The result is a broken family who are pushed to the limits of love.
“Do you know how much I love you? I love you more than everything.”
Timothée Chalamet is mesmerising in his retelling of Nic Sheff’s gut-wrenching story. Steve Carell is equally brilliant. His performance is so raw that you can literally feel his pain, his anguish to your core.
Maura Tiernay in her role of Nic’s step Mum Karen is just incredible. She brings such reserved intensity to the role.
Beautiful Boy is a story of drug addiction without the rose-tinted glasses. It may not be for everyone, but sometimes that hardest things to overcome or watch are the best ones.
Beautiful Boy is out 18th January 2018. This review was written as part of an exclusive preview with Odeon.
By Ruth Walker