Ben is Back Reviews

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July 26, 2020
Ben Is Back could have been intense and universal in someone else's hands, but as is, it lacks confidence in how to get to its ending, resulting in unintentional hilarity.
July 17, 2020
I'm not touched at all by this drama by director Peter Hedges. It's too condescending on the argument about drug addiction, family affection, and mother-to-child sacrifice. [Full review in Spanish]
July 13, 2020
Gritty with an intimate reality, Ben is Back hits a little harder than other recent addiction stories but fails to give us the ultimate high.
May 12, 2019
It has a "movie of the week" flavor to it. [Full Review in Spanish]
March 20, 2019
A clumsy, meandering film that will test your patience long before it has a chance to break your heart.
March 18, 2019
While Roberts and Hedges work together to conjure the sense of a loving, fraught relationship, the film itself rarely takes any risks, either from a narrative or visual standpoint.
March 15, 2019
Hedges and Roberts do their substantial best to keep it real, but there's a final-act lurch into melodrama that seems at odds with the earlier sensitivity.
March 14, 2019
[Chalamet] can't save this faux gritty film from its melodramatic plotting or its public-service-announcement-style moralising.
March 14, 2019
The whole is rather less than its constituent parts - which didn't really fit together in the first place.
February 7, 2019
Features good and incisive writing from Peter Hedges (who also directs) and effective performances from Roberts and Hedges... But not even their work can quite justify their increasingly tedious and unbelievable surroundings.
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.
January 9, 2019
Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges can't sustain well intentioned, but messy Ben Is Back
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 28, 2018
Overwrought kitsch is never too very far away from the movie, but it grows actively campy in the glumly long second half.
December 25, 2018
Julia Roberts tells people off the way Steve McQueen drives or Al Pacino yells. Nobody does it better.
December 22, 2018
The problem is in the script, as filmmaker Hedges doesn't seem to have asked himself why an audience would want to subject themselves to this.
December 20, 2018
It's a hunk of garbage that cheaply and casually diminishes America's silent opioid crisis by loudly shouting up the very worst ideas on how to address it. In doing so, it marginalizes addiction and makes melodramatic mockery of a very real problem.
December 19, 2018
'Ben Is Back' fails because the elder Hedges decided to travel the conventional route - putting commercialism ahead of truth and perception.
December 19, 2018
Hedge's script never seems willing to fully immerse itself into the darkness. It is content with simply dipping its toes in at various points.
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