A tough watch based on a true story. Film, directed by Belgian Felix van Groeningen, used the two best-selling memoirs by father and son, David and Nic Sheff. It tells their story. A heart breaking one. One which many of us are familiar with. Addiction is rough for everyone involved. In this case, especially for a father who loves his son.
Addiction involves lies, destruction, pain, relapse, but hopefully eventually recovery. Even the recovery part is never easy. Trust, once lost, is not an easy thing to get back. Even between family members. No matter how each wants to repair those bridges. This film really makes you understand that. The price that the addict and their family pays due to the disease.
Told through the eyes of the father and not the addict, this is tells a story of meth addiction and recovery. David Sheff (Steve Carell – from television’s The Office) and his son Nic (Timothee Chalamet – Lady Bird, Christmas with the Coopers) had always been close. Closer than most. That all changed when Nic became a teenager.
During his teenage years Nic became a drug addict. Building up to meth. Over the course of years the addiction gained a deeper and deeper hold on Nic. He would go to rehab and relapse. Overdose, clean himself up and then relapse. All through this David fought for his son. Fought to save his son. As if there was something he could really do.
It was only when he began to realize that his son’s life lay in his own hands’ and not in David’s that David begins to seek help for him and his second wife, Karen (Maura Tierny – from television’s ER). They start attending al-non meetings. Taking care of their own mental health. Soon after Nic overdoses again. He is alive.
Told from David’s perspective, the film is told through flashbacks. Though the film is not an overly long one it is draining. You will feel like you have gone through the wringer.
A film like this could have been destroyed by one cliche after another. It does not fall into that trap. Elevated by the poignancy and realism of the story and the excellent performants by Carell and Chalumet, Beautiful Boy really hits home.