Ben is Back Reviews

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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.
Top Critic
December 7, 2018
Ben Is Back doesn't sugar-coat the harsh reality of this family's struggle, but like the year's other astringent family drug drama Beautiful Boy, frames it with an abundance of life, love and hope.
December 7, 2018
Ben Is Back makes you dream of a world in which no one needs movies like Ben Is Back.
December 7, 2018
Although "Ben" can get a little sentimental at times, Roberts and Hedges are a team to root for.
December 7, 2018
The performances remain uniformly strong and hold the story together, even as it threatens to spin out of control.
Top Critic
December 6, 2018
It's like watching You Can Count On Me spliced together with the last two reels of In the Bedroom.
December 6, 2018
"Ben Is Back" may lose its way early and often, but it is rarely in danger of losing hold of your attention.
Top Critic
December 6, 2018
Little about Ben Is Back feels specific or authentic-its transformation into a quasi-thriller betrays Hollywood instincts that apparently couldn't be suppressed.
December 6, 2018
Roberts gives one of her most sensitive and searching performances yet... She is sensational across from Hedges, who portrays Ben with a sense of haunted, plaintive anguish.
December 5, 2018
Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges pour their hearts and souls into the unflinching and unforgettable addiction drama about a mother who can't quite trust the son she loves.
December 5, 2018
What is so moving and effective about Roberts's work here is her shrewd subversion of her long-established persona.
December 5, 2018
Starts like emotional gangbusters, loses its way a bit, yet finds a way home balancing gut-wrenching episodes and hopeful feelings.
December 4, 2018
It's been years, plural, since Julia Roberts showcased all her empathetic talents in the right big-screen material. That frustrating streak has come to an end.
December 4, 2018
Hedges is as excellent as he was in "Manchester By the Sea," but it's fair to say the movie belongs to Roberts. It's a career peak, and a performance that deserves to be seen no matter how crowded your holiday moviegoing schedule.
December 3, 2018
Hedges is a flayed nerve, jittery and raw. Roberts may be the true revelation, though: She begs, she bargains, she swears like a teamster.
November 29, 2018
The movie is so assertively about the social issue at its heart-the way opioid addiction tears families apart-that it barely leaves room for its characters to breathe.
Top Critic
October 8, 2018
The second half becomes more of a crime drama and is far less interesting, but on balance, Roberts and Hedges make it worth seeing.
September 24, 2018
In this time for movies about teens in trouble, it's the mom in this one who packs the biggest punch.
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