Last Saturday, while Sweet T and I were enjoying the long Thanksgiving weekend, we had the chance to check out a couple of movies we’d both wanted to see. Sweet T and I love movies and intriguing TV shows. It’s not unusual for us to binge watch episodes of our latest favorite program. For example, right now we’re getting caught up on “Mr. Robot” via Amazon Prime. These days, we don’t seem to go out to the movies as often as we once did, certainly not as frequently as we did growing up. As a kid, I loved going to movies and loved film. It wasn’t unusual for me to go to the local cinema and check out a couple of movies.
One of the movies we saw was the Queen biopic, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The other movie we checked out was “Beautiful Boy,” starring Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet as a father and son struggling through the hardships of addiction. The movie is based on the best-selling pair of memoirs from father and son David and Nic Sheff. Beautiful Boy chronicles the heartbreaking and inspiring experience of survival, relapse, and recovery in a family trudging through the rollercoaster ride of addiction.
With both of us having our own different subjective experiences with addicts and addiction, Sweet T and I found the film challenging. Much of the story rang true, drudging up old memories, albeit from our own unique perspectives.
The movie, directed by Belgian filmmaker Felix Van Groeningen, focuses more on the parental perspective of David Scheff, thoughtfully portrayed by Carell, and the blended points of view of his current wife Karen (played by Maura Tierney) and Vicki, Scheff’s ex-wife performed by actress Amy Ryan. The film intertwines Nic Scheff’s story, told from his book “Tweak,” with the memoir written by David, “Beautiful Boy.”
The movie does an excellent job accurately displaying the juxtaposition between the euphoria of being high and the down spiraling downspout of dependency. The film flows between past and present, depicting the hopes associated with sobriety and the dark dirge of repeated relapses.
This is how addiction unfolds. It happens over time. None of us know before we start if we will be addicts. No one intends to be an addict. You buy the lie that you have it all under control, each time going further than the time before when you swore you were done. The film paints an honest picture of the step-by-step fall Nic and other addicts experience as they tumble further into the deep destitute of drug dependence.
I think it is a film worth seeing for anyone working with addicts or who has experienced addiction—either as an addict or as someone struggling to find answers for their addicted loved one. It’s not a feelgood movie but it does offer a faint light of hope. There are other options available to an addict other than jail or dying from the consuming disease of addiction. The addict’s family can be restored and find a new normal. But it’s not an easy road. And certainly, it’s a road fraught with potholes and obstacles set to veer all lives involved off track. Addiction doesn’t just destroy the user; it decimates anyone in proximity, like a mad hand grenade or renegade IED.
The Devotional Guy™