Ben is Back Reviews

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March 18, 2019
The astonishing chemistry makes you wonder how long Julia Roberts had secretly been Lucas Hedges' mother without telling anyone.
March 15, 2019
[Roberts] plays Ben's mother with sadness, desperation and inner steel. She is the primary reason to see this film.
January 29, 2019
Showy acting is popular, but I think Peter and Lucas Hedges...do their best work in the quieter moments, in which they take us deep inside a problem that has tragic consequences for so many people.
January 18, 2019
The pacing is the key element here by which the film engages our sympathies for these characters without sinking into melodrama
January 10, 2019
"Ben is Back" is one of those awards season films that looks on paper to be a slam dunk: Mother and child relationship, drugs and drama is a cocktail for Oscar gold. In this case, the dunk is a dud.
December 30, 2018
Unfortunately, by adding cumbersome elements to the narrative, it ultimately detracts from the core human story and causes the viewer to leave the film dissatisfied...
December 28, 2018
The miniaturization of scope ends up making everything feel intensely melodramatic, while the frenetic, breathless editing -- capably realized by Ian Blume -- transforms even the most innocuous kitchen argument into a drug-induced fit of mania.
December 20, 2018
This is an intimate, incredibly tense drama about a troubled family battling raw emotional pains, a bare-bones and bare-knuckled look at the destructive powers of addiction.
December 19, 2018
The movie's real achievement lies in Roberts's performance, which is possibly her best. Holly is incandescent with worry. She's good and kind and intimate.
December 18, 2018
Roberts... takes hold of this movie like a lamppost in the winter darkness.
December 14, 2018
It's an interesting twist on the usual addiction drama - it's not the downfall, it's will he stay clean? - and it works. If you're not invested, you're not watching.
December 14, 2018
A compelling and intelligent study of how drug addiction affects a family... The film falls apart in the end, alas, as the story spins into druggie melodramatics.
December 13, 2018
Through it all, though, there's the magnificence of Julia Roberts, and the fine performances from Hedges, Vance and the rest of the cast. They do great justice to this finely constructed slice of fractured family life.
December 13, 2018
Hedges' story brings it all together in a story that is urgent and unexpectedly suspenseful right down to the final frame.
December 13, 2018
It's a worthy night at the movies, but you need the stomach for it.
December 12, 2018
Nobody in American movies today can get at the beating heart of a conflicted, hurting post-adolescent the way Lucas Hedges can.
December 11, 2018
Almost every 10 minutes something unexpected happens that turns the story in an arresting new direction, and yet "Ben is Back" never once feels manipulated or mechanical.
December 11, 2018
The tight time frame gives the movie a welcome urgency, but it doesn't prevent its second half from becoming lurid and melodramatic.
December 11, 2018
Really, the whole cast does a phenomenal job. The movie is worth seeing purely for their performances, especially Newton, who gracefully balances the role of a caring yet apprehensive sister.
December 9, 2018
By the time Ben and Holly are locked in a pieta-style tableau, with light shining from behind and above them, "Ben Is Back" has truly hit bottom. The elder Hedges needs to make amends.
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