When my son and I cuddled up under the blankets today with a big bowl of popcorn, we thought we were renting the same “Beautiful Boy” that was written by David Sheff — a non-fiction account of his son’s drug addiction. I loved that book, and also read the son’s account, entitled “Tweak”. These books showed two sides of the same story: a family’s heart wrenching journey. I think I liked “Tweak” better, as Sheff is a journalist and I found his tale to be a bit more research paper than a story at times, but I recommend both highly, and reading them back to back (the way I did) was amazing.
Anyway, getting back to today’s On Demand review, also entitled “Beautiful Boy”. I always think it’s weird when movies are named the same things as books yet have nothing to do with one another (“The Kids Are All Right” was a perfect example last year… both highly enjoyable, nothing to do with one another).
The film “Beautiful Boy” also deals with a family struggling to deal with a life-changing event, but really has nothing whatsoever to do with the book (though in the first ten minutes or so I was convinced that they were one and the same… you’ll see why when you rent it). Do not rent this movie if you’re depressed, unless you’re looking for people whose lives are worse than yours, which I think you will probably agree with if you watch. It is not a happy tale. It is the story of a family gone wrong, and the people left to analyze what happened and what roles they played in forming the young man that their son turns out to be.
As parents, I think we all questions ourselves. Are we doing the best that we can? Are we strict enough? To strict? Should we limit sweets to curtail obesity, or allow them so that our children don’t end up binging on them later when they are out of our view? When can we be their friends versus their mentors? How are our relationships shaping the relationships that they will form in their own lives? I could go on and on and on, but you get the idea. At the end of the day all we can do is our best, but when things go terribly wrong I think that parents are always questioning what they could have done differently, second guessing every choice they made.
The movie is sad, but it is thought provoking and well acted. Maria Bello is always great, and Michael Sheen was convincing as her estranged husband.
My son and I give it two thumbs up. It is not a great film, but it is a worthwhile rental.