Beautiful Boy - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Beautiful Boy Reviews

Page 1 of 14
Super Reviewer
½ May 16, 2011
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....
Bill D 2007
Super Reviewer
November 13, 2011
"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.
Super Reviewer
½ September 15, 2010
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."
Super Reviewer
½ October 30, 2011
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.
Super Reviewer
½ September 20, 2011
"To confront the truth, first they had to face each other."

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.
Super Reviewer
½ November 10, 2012
Despite their ever fracturing marriage, Kate(Maria Bello), a proofreader, and Bill(Michael Sheen) still plan to go on vacation together with their college age son Sammy(Kyle Gallner, of "Veronica Mars"). But then they receive news of a shooting at his campus that gets increasingly worse to the point of his not only having died but also being the shooter himself. Not wanting to deal with the massive influx of journalists on their front lawn, Kate and Bill decide to hole up with her brother Eric(Alan Tudyk) and sister-in-law Trish(Moon Bloodgood).

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.
Super Reviewer
June 5, 2011
A tiny, personal and intense film that starts to have diminishing returns almost immediately, BEAUTIFUL BOY tracks a marriage as it descends into hell after the only son of distant parents goes on a shooting spree at his college. Michael Sheen and Maria Bello very honestly go for broke as they trace the despair and desperation of two lost souls, but the writing and direction lets them down almost on a scene-by-scene level. By the time they are screaming at each other in a hotel room things like "it's all your fault" you may find yourself wishing you could scream back (just a little). And that's not a good thing. The conclusions at hand here are just not original enough to justify the painful process used to arrive at them.
Super Reviewer
½ July 2, 2012
Hard to watch, well written and acted, Beautiful Boy is an uncomfortable, but yet compelling drama. A film that explores the aftermath of such a tragedy from the "other" side was well overdue, and Beautiful Boy does a generally good job of capturing the shock, shame, and confusion such family members suffer. At the same time, the circumstances of the shooting, and particularly the boy itself, do feel a little to cliche and too "ripped from the headlines". There's very little nuance to the kid, and the parents relationship starts off too ambiguous. This weakness is outweighed, however, but the direction which doesn't opt for easy answers for forced drama, but lets it build organically and authentically.

3.5/5 Stars
Super Reviewer
½ November 1, 2011
A powerful drama with interesting concept... Director Shawn Ku in his debut successfully explores the subject of school shooting with unique perspective on this delicate issue. He is not focusing on the tragic incident and the events leading up to it, but confronts its devastating aftermath. Interestingly, the killer is almost entirely absent throughout the film and in his place, we look through the eyes of his parents... Bill (Michael Sheen) and Kate (Maria Bello) are a married couple who are tightly wound and devoted to their work -- Bill is a businessman, Kate proofreads books - and their marriage has taken a turn for the worse. On the verge of breaking up they receive shocking news -- their eighteen-year-old son Sam (Kyle Gallner), a college freshman, went on a shooting spree that claimed the lives of several people before he turned his gun on himself.

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!
Super Reviewer
August 27, 2011
Really depressing. Michael Sheen turns in another great performance.
Super Reviewer
½ May 30, 2011
In what could have been a truly moving drama about two parents dealing with their son being involved in a school shooting/suicide, becomes a flat and rather emotionless film. From prior performances, Michael Sheen and Maria Bello both have shown the capacity to take your breath, yet come off removed from this would-be heartfelt piece. Instead, they mope their way through this rather original depiction as only shells of themselves. The idea is sound, but the execution is lacking.
Super Reviewer
½ July 28, 2011
Michael Sheen and Maria Bello do manage to create some really marvelous chemistry and are basically the best part of the film. Its an interesting examination, but it feels too clinical in its execution. There were scenes were I half expected some psychologist to suddenly coldly narrate and describe in detail what stage of grief was occurring at that particular moment.
Super Reviewer
January 23, 2012
I was hoping for much more. I was expecting to be moved and touched emotionally, but I really didn't connect to the story or any of the characters like I should have.
May 10, 2012
Not enough Kyle lol. But still this movie had some great performances. I have to admit the movie is a little depressing but it still was good. The first thing that came to mind was Columbine. Kyle Gallner IS a "Beautiful boy". Nice title for the movie.
April 1, 2012
awesome job dealing with a 'firestorm' subject about a couple caught up in the aftermath of their college son's murder/suicide.
½ June 23, 2011
I think that a movie with this hard subject matter should definitely find a way to end the story. In reality this would play out this way, but no one wants to watch this without a strong ending. It doesn't have to be happy, but at least to have these parents heal and start to move forward instead of just being stuck. This movie could have been much better than it was.
February 27, 2012
This movie will break your heart because I know it broke mine. This was a good 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.
May 9, 2011
Thought this was a great character study into the effects of a son's school shooting (and suicide) on his parents. Michael Sheen and Maria Bello were amazing. Would like to give 5 stars, but I feel like the movie was slightly lacking in emotion. There were a couple incredibly powerful scenes, but I was expecting to cry, and I didn't even come close. Definitely worth a watch, though!
½ January 4, 2012
The scope is rather small but done so with a purpose I can respect. I do, however, find myself questioning why certain aspects were deliberately avoided and why several emotional scenes ended prematurely only to be followed by a poor transition.
Page 1 of 14