You have to be perfect for a project as perilous as this one to work. "Beautiful Boy" is far from it.
| Original Score: C+
The parents always know.
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.
| Original Score: 3/4
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.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
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.
| Original Score: 2/4
Beautiful Boy remains removed and distant.
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.
| Original Score: 3/5
An excruciating drama about a couple caught in the aftermath of a pivotal moment involving their college-age son.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
'Boy,' for all its exploitation of the sensational, is a tense affair that challenges us with questions we may never have thought to ask.
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.
At a certain point lofty objectivity is just a refusal to engage, and no raw camera work can disguise it.
Most of "Beautiful Boy" is unrelentingly bleak and depressing, but there are smatterings of understatement and grace.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
This feels like a movie that won a high school current-events contest: Take a tragedy, make a movie.
Ku focuses on the effects the aftermath has on those intimately involved, and they are grim.
Ku gives us the shooter's parents' view of the tragedy and it is just as devastating as anything we can imagine among victims' families.
The most daring aspect of the film, fully realized in Bello's grave performance, may be the notion that a parent can invest endless love in a child and one day find him unfathomable.
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.
Successfully contextualizes its tragedy with urgency and emotional rawness without crumbling into maudlin melodrama.
| Original Score: 4/5
If the key performances in "Beautiful Boy" were any less honest, the film's half-formed suppositions would undo it utterly.
Beautiful Boy is not an entertainment but an experience. And a kind of cinematic sensitivity training.