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Beautiful Boy (2011)



Average Rating: 5.9/10
Critic Reviews: 27
Fresh: 17 | Rotten: 10

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 7,602

My Rating

Movie Info

Bill (Michael Sheen) and Kate (Maria Bello) hopelessly try to find some hint of an explanation after finding out that their only son committed a mass shooting at his university before taking his own life. They struggle numbly through the funeral, the media onslaught, and the awkward pity from relatives and friends. Their already strained marriage is tested as they realize all they have left with each other is their shared grief and confusion-and the unfortunate legacy of their son. This



Michael Armbruster, Shawn Ku

Oct 11, 2011


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All Critics (60) | Top Critics (27) | Fresh (41) | Rotten (18) | DVD (6)

In Beautiful Boy, the themes are vast but the picture is small, and the ensuing emptiness is what the characters are meant to feel -- not us.

June 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
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An excruciating drama about a couple caught in the aftermath of a pivotal moment involving their college-age son.

June 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
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At a certain point lofty objectivity is just a refusal to engage, and no raw camera work can disguise it.

June 16, 2011 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
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Most of "Beautiful Boy" is unrelentingly bleak and depressing, but there are smatterings of understatement and grace.

June 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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This feels like a movie that won a high school current-events contest: Take a tragedy, make a movie.

June 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
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Ku focuses on the effects the aftermath has on those intimately involved, and they are grim.

June 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
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Beautiful Boy has raw and emotional power without falling all over itself with melodrama, but it does come up short in some narrative regards.

September 14, 2014 Full Review Source:

You have to be perfect for a project as perilous as this one to work. "Beautiful Boy" is far from it.

June 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Deadspin

The parents always know.

October 11, 2011 Full Review Source:

There are no answers, only more questions, and the film beats you down, which is probably the point and the closest we can ever get to truly empathizing with parents whose children go mad.

June 21, 2011 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

It is a mood dampener of the first degree, but it's a rarely told story at a time when this type of tragedy is becoming tragically ordinary.

June 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

Beautiful Boy remains removed and distant.

June 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Boston Herald
Boston Herald

It's primarily an actor's showcase, with Bello once again displaying her incredible range as she copes with the waves of grief, denial and rage.

June 17, 2011 Full Review Source: NOW Toronto
NOW Toronto

'Boy,' for all its exploitation of the sensational, is a tense affair that challenges us with questions we may never have thought to ask.

June 16, 2011 Full Review Source: San Francisco Examiner
San Francisco Examiner

The film's depiction of a married couple in emotional peril rings true rather than maudlin, sustained at a riveting pitch through the consummately raw, sympathetic performances of its two leads.

June 16, 2011 Full Review Source:

Unlike the rather basic idea of Rabbit Hole being spun into other areas of forgiveness and catharsis, Ku's film exists in a bubble that just keeps floating.

June 10, 2011 Full Review Source:

Successfully contextualizes its tragedy with urgency and emotional rawness without crumbling into maudlin melodrama.

June 10, 2011 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

Audience Reviews for Beautiful Boy

This movie is not about a school massacre. Nor, is it about why a person chooses to do such a thing. What it IS about is the struggle of two parents to hold it together, in the midst of not only grieving about the death of their son, but also to come to terms with the fact that he is a mass murderer...all in the middle of a tiresome and bitter marriage. I have to admit, every time there's a shooting like this, I immediately think of the parents. What kind of parents raise a child that can do this? what went wrong? are the parents normal parents? or bad parents? and what now for them? This is a subject rarely dealt with. Well done....
August 5, 2012

Super Reviewer

"Beautiful Boy" is a fairly good melodrama about a married couple struggling to comprehend why their son commits a Columbine-style massacre at his college. The subject matter is great, and Michael Sheen and Maria Bello really put their all into their performances.

But there's something missing. It doesn't go beyond what you'd expect from a melodrama on a basic-cable channel. The script is just too thin. The direction from Shawn Ku (his first feature film) is sensitive but a bit pedestrian.
November 13, 2011
Bill D 2007
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer

Cast:Michael Sheen, Maria Bello, Alan Tudyk, Moon Bloodgood, Kyle Gallner, Meat Loaf, Darren O'Hare, Deidrie Henry, Bruce French

Director:Shawn Ku

Summary: This heartrending drama stars Michael Sheen as Bill Carroll, who is contemplating separating from his wife, Kate (Maria Bello), when the unimaginable happens: Their 18-year-old son, Sam (Kyle Gallner), commits mass murder at his university before killing himself. While coping with their grief, Bill and Kate must deal with the insatiable media, other parents furious at them for their son's actions and their own questions about their culpability.

My Thoughts: "Such a sad, dark, emotional story. You never really hear about the shooter's parents or family when these unfortunate things happen. I was eager to see this side of the story. The acting is very good by Maria Bello and Michael Sheen. I was more impressed by Sheen's performance. I just believed him more maybe in his character. But together they were fantastic. It's unfortunate that the son's actions left behind a huge mess for his parents. They are in a way paying for the crime he committed. In the beginning Bill is the strong one pushing through trying to move forward as Kate is still in the process of trying to come to grips of what happened. But by the end the roles dramatically change and it's truly heartbreaking to watch."
November 8, 2011

Super Reviewer

Nice movie about the psychological effects that these parents have to deal with after their son commits a mass shooting at his university and kills himself.
Although I think more could've been explored with this viewpoint, I like the choices the director made by leaving out the media frenzy, the details and the hysteria that usually accompanies these kind of traumatic experiences.
October 30, 2011

Super Reviewer

    1. Kate: You don't think if you force your son to eat carrots when he's young it will turn him into a killer when he grows up.
    – Submitted by Maryam Z (13 months ago)
    1. Sammy: As the boy and the girl ran out from the station wagon the beach was happy. It was happy to have their small footprints upon it, it was happy to have holes dug with plastic shovels, it was even happy to have paper wrappers blowing about after they'd gone. But the beach knew there would no longer be this to look forward to, no more careless play, only lonely snowfalls to mark the beginnings of an endless winter. The beach loved the boy and the girl, though had no way of telling them and it knew this was their last time together. Things would be different from now on, it didn't know if they would be better or worse, but for certain things would change.
    – Submitted by Penelope S (2 years ago)
    1. Bill: There is no defense for what he did!
    – Submitted by Tanner V (3 years ago)
    1. Kate: Did we do something? Did we not do something?
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
    1. Bill: We are deeply sorry for the devastation our son has caused.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (5)

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