Ben is Back (2018)

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Critic Consensus: Refreshingly understated, Ben Is Back subverts family drama stereotypes - and provides a forum for terrific performances from Lucas Hedges and Julia Roberts.

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Movie Info

19 year-old Ben Burns (Lucas Hedges) unexpectedly returns home to his family's suburban home on Christmas Eve morning. Ben's mother, Holly (Julia Roberts), is relieved and welcoming but wary of her son staying clean. Over a turbulent 24 hours, new truths are revealed, and a mother's undying love for her son is tested as she does everything in her power to keep him safe. Ben is Back also stars Courtney B. Vance (The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story) and Kathryn Newton (Lady Bird).

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Critic Reviews for Ben is Back

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (6)

The second half becomes more of a crime drama and is far less interesting, but on balance, Roberts and Hedges make it worth seeing.

Oct 8, 2018 | Full Review…
NPR
Top Critic

In this time for movies about teens in trouble, it's the mom in this one who packs the biggest punch.

Sep 24, 2018 | Full Review…
TheWrap
Top Critic

While Hedges' script gets a bit too convoluted in the second half, I appreciated the direct storytelling that simply allows Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges to deliver.

Sep 11, 2018 | Full Review…

The film is aware of the weight of its subject but loathe to behave like an "important" film - focusing instead on the specificity of one sick young man and the family that loves and fears him in almost equal measure.

Sep 9, 2018 | Full Review…

Most movies are focused directly on the present moment, following along with a story as it unfolds, but "Ben Is Back" is different, creating the sense that the lives of each of its richly shaded characters continues even when she or he is not on-screen.

Sep 9, 2018 | Full Review…
Variety
Top Critic

Always underplayed, but never more than a millisecond from losing his grip, Hedges' performance exists in the narrow space between coming back for a day, and being gone forever.

Sep 9, 2018 | Rating: B | Full Review…

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