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Movie Review: Beautiful Boy

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Addiction is something that many people struggle with all around the world. In director Felix Van Groeningen’s latest cinematic feature, Beautiful Boy, addiction is showcased in a wonderfully-shot and excellently-acted film that will definitely make its mark on award shows this year. The film follows Nicolas Sheff (Timothée Chalamet), a straight-A student and teenager who’s just trying to make his way through high school. However, when Nicolas’ addiction to meth threatens to ruin his life, his father (Steve Carell), steps in to save Nicolas from ruining himself.

The use of nature in the background of the film was one of my favorite aspects of the cinematography in Beautiful Boy.

With an excellent cast of actors, I really enjoyed this film, to say the least. Something that you don’t get to see in a lot of in Steve Carell’s performances is his ability to act outside of a comedic role and it was really refreshing to see him play a serious character. Some of Carell’s delivery in his lines felt a little strange, especially in scenes where he was supposed to be more dramatic but that could be because I’m used to seeing him act like he does in The Office. As far as Chalamet’s performance, he did a fantastic job as usual. I really liked the way that the film chose to make Chalamet’s character into less of a villain than most “drug-related” films tend to do. In my opinion, the film struck a good balance between making Chalamet’s struggles with addiction difficult to watch but strayed away from making you dislike the character. Additionally, the child actors in some of the flashback sequences were very impressive and they did a good job of capturing a younger version of Chalamet’s character.

Another great quality to this film was the cinematography. Many shots in the movie really looked like works of art which helped to keep my attention in such a plot-heavy film. In addition, the film’s use of its location, San Francisco, was really on-point and made me appreciate the movie a lot more in terms of its scope.

The movie’s location, San Francisco, is referenced in a lot of shots of the movie without ever being mentioned in the dialogue. For example, the Golden Gate Bridge is shown on screen in a number of scenes.

As for things that I found to be lackluster, there wasn’t much. The music throughout the movie was passable, although I didn’t remember much of it after I left the theater. If I could change one thing about the movie, I would have focused it more on the relationships between the father and the rest of his family as that would have been interesting to see more of. Outside of that, the movie was pretty flawless.

Overall, Beautiful Boy is an excellent film even if you know nothing about addiction. It’s definitely not the most uplifting film in the world, but if you’re ready for a slower, more plot-driven, tear-wrencher, this is definitely the movie for you.

 

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About the Writer
Will Eikenbary, A&E Editor

Hi my name is Will Eikenbary! I am the Arts & Entertainment Editor for Westside Wired this year. I am currently a sophomore and this is my second year...

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