“BEN IS BACK”

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - On Tv -

Ju­lia Roberts chal­lenges her­self in the in­de­pen­dent-film world as the cen­ter of writer-di­rec­tor Peter Hedges’ in­volv­ing drama, about the ef­fect of a re­cov­er­ing ad­dict’s re­turn to his fam­ily at hol­i­day time. The tit­u­lar Ben is that re­turnee, played by Lu­cas Hedges (the film­maker’s son), and he strikes au­then­tic-feel­ing notes as he main­tains he’s get­ting sober – but he also leaves enough doubt for oth­ers to be con­cerned about his re­newed pres­ence in the house­hold. The main skep­tics are his step­fa­ther (Court­ney B. Vance) and his sis­ter (Kathryn New­ton), but his mother (Roberts) with­stands their wor­ries to put her faith in him. That’s a risky emo­tional bet, though, since oth­ers in­clud­ing drug sup­pli­ers pose hur­dles for Ben. DVD ex­tras: au­dio com­men­tary by Peter Hedges; photo gallery. (R: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On De­mand)

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