Ben is Back (2018)
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Critic Reviews for Ben is Back
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.
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.
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.
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.
Though featuring terrific performances from Hedges and Roberts, the film doesn't have enough juice to pull it over the finish line without sacrificing its intended audience.
There is an immensely likeable film about the power of togetherness and a mother's attempt to keep her son from relapsing. Then there is a cartoonish thriller with messages that contradict what came before. It makes for a highly uneven final product.
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