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Matthew Brady's Movie Reviews (2355)

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Beautiful Boy (2018) 
LIFF32 (2018) #5
3/4 stars

‘Beautiful Boy’ is a melancholic look on parenthood and the tragedy of watching loved ones dissolve away under lethal drugs. Based on David Sheff novel (by the same name) which documents his son addiction. Hard to sink in, but harder to forget.

Timothee Chalamet was magnificent in this movie and proves that 'Call Me By Your Name' wasn't just a fluke for him. Chalamet went in-depth in terms of preparation, such as: losing 25 lbs for the role and advice a doctor on set to ensure his acting as a drug addict was authentic - all his effort paid off beautifully. While Nick cause plenty of problem towards himself and his family, yet isn’t portrayed as some villain for the audience to hate, just humanized enough to understand his struggle.

However, I thought Steve Carell was the biggest stand out. While Chalamet had the most showy scenes and material for him to be more talked about, but Carell’s performance, in my opinion, was just more powerful. I think it’s the quietness and natural presence that makes him believable. By placing yourself in the parent shoes, it makes for a devastating thought. Whenever Carell yelled, I must admit, I heard Michael Scott from ‘The Office’, but that didn’t distract too much from his performance. When he cried, I cried with him.

The editing choices is quite bold, to say the least. Like take Jean-Marc Vallée style of editing, but set to overdrive - which is my biggest issue with certain cuts, especially at the beginning where it jumped between flashback and present day. After awhile it calmed down and show relevant scenes. Felix Van Groeningen approach to film making and writing brings a raw look on drug addiction while following some narrative cliches. Although I see this as an actors movie, as he allows the two leads to create their own characters within this world.

Also, the soundtrack-like structure didn’t bother me that much despite the handful of complaints from people. I view the soundtrack as a visually way of showing the character’s emotional state depending on the music choice.

Overall rating: It’s got flaws, but still translates novel into a visual powerhouse. Nothing like ‘Requiem for a Dream’, but convinced me to never do drugs.


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