new leaf. And then he starts the cycle all over again.
is an honest portrait of how addiction affects families. It’s ugly and messy, with moments of grace and hope, but mostly despair.
The film is based on a pair of memoirs, one by Nic Sheff and one by David Sheff, and directed by Belgian film-maker Felix van Groeningen in his English language debut.
Van Groeningen directs the melded stories in an often disorienting way, jumping back and forward in time.
Some jumps make sense, like
David sitting in a cafe and waiting for his grown son to meet him after a bender, and remembering sitting at that same table years ago goofing around with Nic as a younger child.
Others are just confusing. Perhaps disorientation is the point.
The editing choices can make this film seem occasionally like one extended montage or music video.
Van Groeningen also tends to favour flashbacks to various stages of Nic’s pre-teen childhood as
David looks adoringly on his sweet, innocent son. Are we to be surprised that an addict could have once been a sweet and innocent child?
It is a frustrating diversion, mainly because the best parts of Beautiful
Boy are when Carell and Chalamet are together. I wonder whether there is a version of this movie that exists where the timeline is straight, and it is just laser focused on Nic’s ups and downs since he started using drugs?