BEAUTIFUL BOY has a strong second act that is unfortunately has a very uneven first act narrative lead in. It’s still a decent film, filled with great performances, especially Timothy Chalamet, who I think will definitely be a name you’ll see as a supporting actor nominee during this year’s Oscar’s. But there are plenty other drug addiction movies that are for more intricate and moving that are more worth your time *coughRequiemForADreamcough* but this isn’t a terrible film by any means, just really, really unfocused.
The problem with the first act/first half of the film is that it jumps around in time almost every two or three minutes, becoming very disjointed and hard to get into the characters or the seriousness of the story. I believe that if the movie started chronologically, and maybe a flashback or two near the very end of the film, the movie could’ve been masterful. Instead, the time jumps stop about half way into the film, and it is too little too late for the movies second half to complete earn the audiences emotional impact it is supposed to have.
The movie is based on memoirs by both a father and his son, that deal with his son’s meth addiction and how it affected not just him but everyone around them. The movie definitely made me want to read the memoirs, hoping that they had more focus and didn’t jump back and forth in time constantly and too much like this one did. I have a feeling their thoughts and feelings were better constructed and actually had a smoother flow in the books than this movie did.
I’m honestly surprised the studio on this film didn’t see the first cut of the film and asked that the director, Felix Van Groeningen, unscramble it all and come up with a better cut. I looked up this director to see if I’ve seen any of his other work, and I haven’t. Unfortunately I don’t know if this guy’s vision on this project will get him anywhere, as I feel that anybody could’ve directed this, as it seemed like just another “point and shoot” affair. Also, and this might be just a side nit pick here, but the musical choices at certain scenes during this film felt highly inappropriate and awful, not even nearly matching the drama unfolding onscreen.
It is the performances that elevate this movie from being just mediocre, to half way decent. Steve Carrell delivers another astonishing performance to his already luxurious career. And even though he has had stronger performances in other films, namely Foxcatcher and Little Miss Sunshine, he still proves that sometime in the future, with the right role, he might be an Oscar winner. It is last year’s Oscar nominee for Call Me By Your Name Timothy Chalamet who completely and utterly steals the show. He is amazing here and every scene he is in, no matter how jumbled up it was, he was utterly captivating. (side note: Amy Ryan play Steve Carrell’s ex wife and mother to Timothy Chalamet’s character, which took me out of the film a little bit, because I started imagining Michael Scott and Holly Flax’s marriage after Dunder Mifflin going extremely wrong)
Anyway, if you need a recent cautionary tale about drug/meth addiction, this is half way decent, and is worth watching just for Carrell’s and Chalamet’s performance. Maybe the first half of the film will not bother everybody. I’ve told all of you many a time again that I look too hard into these things. The jumping constantly back and forth and time and not having a solid narrative structure might be lost on most audiences, and they won’t care. Because if there is one thing to say about this movie, it is never boring, which can’t be said about a lot of the films I have seen in 2018.