Beautiful Boy Reviews
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.
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."
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.
A married couple on the verge of separation are leveled by the news their 18-year-old son committed a mass shooting at his college, then took his own life.
The film follows the emotional journey of Bill (Michael Sheen) and wife Kate (Maria Bello) who are coping with the loss of their son from a college shooting incident. The blurred foreground as you peak through a window, or from another room in the house, to see and hear a conversation is perfect as their lives are forever going to be in a fish bowl. We all want to stare and look, but are afraid to get close and truly understand what they are experiencing. The film deals with a topic that is for the most part unfamiliar to all of us. We have seen the unfortunate tragedies of Thurston HS (1998), Columbine HS (1999), and Virginia Tech (2007). However, the emotions of the families are completely foreign.
The supporting roles are quietly powerful with Alan Tudyk (mostly known for his role of Steve the Pirate in "Dodgeball") as the brother of Kate, who defends his sister to his own wife when she is acting like "supermom" to her nephew. Then there is Meat Loaf as a hotel manager that says what we all are thinking. However, the best of the supporting cast might be Deidre Henry as the neighbor who quietly delivers the best performance. Her comforting hug to Kate is exactly what you in the audience might want to do.
For the record, there are few actors I would rather watch go through the five stages of grief(or read from the phone book for that matter) than Maria Bello. But once "Beautiful Boy" gets quickly into bunker mode, it leaves her little emotional wiggle room and nothing left for anybody else to do except to scream at each other in German.(By contrast, the outside world seems rather subdued.) Well, that's not exactly true, as Kate and Bill become obsessed with wondering if any of what their son might have done been their fault, as they are watched over by the camera in a voyeuristic style. Sadly, the movie does all the work for them and the audience by establishing in its opening moments that their disintegrating marriage is in fact the root of all evil.
Maria Bello and Michael Sheen in this movie gave heartrending performances playing parents steadily led by the director Ku. They managed together to show us remarkable insight into the world of two middle-aged parents faced with unspeakable anguish. Worth watching!