‘Beautiful Boy’ characterization absent, visuals prominent

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Beautiful Boy” is a movie that focuses on the relationship between Nic and David Sheff.

It was recently released by Amazon’s production studio in December 2018 and is based on a novel of the same title written by the real Nic and David Sheff. Set in California, audiences observe beautiful backdrops while the characters’ lives unfold on screen. The film illustrates the impact of drug addiction and its senselessness with some success but loses itself along the way by glossing over the real reasons these issues arise.

The mediocre success of the film’s depiction of Nic’s drive toward drugs cannot be wholly blamed on the actors. Both Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet perform well in the roles they were given.

We can see the anguish and disappointment in Carell’s face as he realizes his son is much worse than he predicted, while Chalamet evokes the disastrous dependency on drugs. Yet, they both tell us to care about these characters even if we are not given a real reason to.

Most of the film’s faults can be found in the script where it seems screenwriters Luke Davies and Felix Van Groeningen were focusing on the feelings of the film. They want us to have sympathy for every character instead of giving logical reasons for this.

By having a chronological pattern, they follow the predictability of stories like these which usually comprise of use, addiction, detox, and relapse.

One aspect of the film that raises its value is its cinematography. Dazzling scenes that combine nature with human habitation should receive recognition.

As David and Nic’s world falls apart, the scenes focused on the natural become even more vibrant while scenes depicting Nic’s downfall into drugs become darker. Beaches and forests help us recall the moments of when Nic and David are happy together and growing their relationship. Fog filled streets and dingy diners tell us to be aware that this is a time of sorrow and disappointment.

Beautiful Boy,” tells the tale of a son who falls into meth addiction and his father who is fighting to save him. While it succeeds in showing us this relationship, it fails to demystify the topic itself. However, the lack of the film’s center on logic can be made up for in its cinematography.

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)
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