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#TIFF18 Review: Beautiful Boy

September 9, 2018

By John Corrado

★★★½ (out of 4)

Based on a pair of memoirs written by father and son, Beautiful Boy depicts the struggles faced by writer David Sheff (Steve Carell) to help his drug-addicted young adult son Nic (Timothée Chalamet) get clean, after he started using crystal meth as a teenager.

The English language debut of Broken Circle Breakdown director Felix Van Groenigen, Beautiful Boy is a heartbreaking and deeply emotional addiction drama, that is anchored by superb performances from Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet. Chalamet gives a quietly devastating performance here, perfectly embodying the tics and mannerisms of someone who is trying to hide the full extent of his addiction from those around him, and Carell gives an understated, subtly moving performance that is maybe his best dramatic work yet.

With the opioid crises fuelling headlines and drug overdoses now being the leading cause of death for people under fifty, it’s impossible to understate the importance of a film like this. What Beautiful Boy does is offer a harrowing look at how drugs can not only ravage the life of the user but also the lives of their families, and by the end it will rip your heart out. While the film is hard to watch at times due to the subject matter, it’s extremely well acted and very powerful. The last act pretty much wrecked me.

Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet in Beautiful Boy

Public Screenings:

Friday, September 7th – 6:30 PM at Roy Thomson Hall

Friday, September 7th – 8:00 PM at Elgin Theatre

Saturday, September 8th – 10:45 AM at Ryerson Theatre

The 2018 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 6th to 16th.

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