Teen Addiction Put in Perspective: Movie Review of “A Beautiful Boy”


Spandana Vagwala '22, Co-Politics Editor

Beautiful Boy, starring Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carell, is a beautifully designed film based on the true experiences of Nicolas Sheff and his father David. The story can be found in the book Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff and in a set of memoirs written by his father. These narratives are the harrowing account of a father’s journey to help his beloved son battle his crystal meth addiction. The film production of Beautiful Boy takes on Nic and David’s sorrowful but hopeful story and provides a beautiful reenactment.

The movie follows a dual timeline. The first timeline includes Nic and his father’s current journey in battling his crystal meth addiction. The second includes David Sheff’s memories of raising his son that he reflects upon throughout the film as currently his son begins to distance himself from his family. As David watches his “beautiful boy” fall apart in front of his eyes, he wonders: “How can both Nics, the loving and considerate and generous one, and the self-obsessed and self-destructive one, be the same person?”

Throughout the movie, I was continually in awe of both Chalamet and Carrell’s performance as they delivered each line and emotion with impressive finesse and accuracy. Despite their masterful acting, what caused this film to touch me was its ability to show viewers that the issue of drug addiction is a very real issue. Drug overdoses are currently the leading causes of death for Americans under the age of 50. Chalamet and Carrell’s portrayal of Nic and David Sheff’s life story may be one of the best ways to spread awareness about the dangers of addiction in an age when media, technology, and entertainment hold a dominant influence over most generations. 

Jenn Uche ‘22 said: “I was speechless after watching Beautiful Boy. Not only because of the actors, Steve Carell, most known for his comedic roles, surprises fans with his appearance in a movie containing such a dreary topic and Timothée Chalament, who is relatively newer in the acting industry, but because of how real the writing is and how beautifully enacted each scene is.”

Timothée Chalamet has received nominations for his outstanding performance in the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, and in the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Following his Oscar-nominated performance in Call Me By Your Name, fans expected Chalamet’s role as Nic Sheff to earn him yet another Oscar nomination in 2019. Although this had not happened, Beautiful Boy is a wonderfully crafted film that delivers an important message that needs to be heard in today’s world.