Jump to content

Beautiful Boy (2018 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Beautiful Boy
Theatrical release poster
Directed byFelix van Groeningen
Screenplay by
Based on
Produced by
CinematographyRuben Impens
Edited byNico Leunen
Distributed byAmazon Studios
Release dates
  • September 7, 2018 (2018-09-07) (TIFF)
  • October 12, 2018 (2018-10-12) (United States)
Running time
120 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$19.3–25 million[2][3]
Box office$16.6 million[4]

Beautiful Boy is a 2018 American biographical drama film directed by Felix van Groeningen, in his English-language feature debut. The screenplay, written by Luke Davies and van Groeningen, is based on the memoirs Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction by David Sheff and Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff. The film stars Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney, and Amy Ryan, and deals with a father-son relationship increasingly strained by the latter's drug addiction.

Beautiful Boy had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2018, and was theatrically released in the United States on October 12, 2018, by Amazon Studios. The film was a box-office disappointment, grossing $16 million on a $25 million budget. However, it received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the performances of Carell and Chalamet.[5] For his work, Chalamet earned nominations at the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards, BAFTA Awards and Critics’ Choice Awards, among others.[6]


New York Times writer David Sheff's teenage son Nicolas "Nic" Sheff goes missing, reappearing in their home two days later. Seeing obvious signs of drug use, David takes Nic to a rehab clinic. Progress is made, and Nic transfers to a halfway house, with the agreement of Nic's doctors. Days later, Nic disappears, and David finds him homeless in the streets.

Back at the rehab facility, Nic reveals that he has been taking numerous drugs, including crystal meth. Nic eventually completes his rehab program, and seeing his improvements, combined with wishful thinking, David allows him to go away to college on his own, to become a writer. Nic's newfound freedom and sobriety start well, as he becomes a good student, and starts a relationship with his classmate, Julia. During a happy family dinner at his girlfriend's parents' house, Nic finds a bottle of pills in their medicine cabinet and swallows one. After this incident, he slowly relapses, causing Julia to break up with him, and his substance use to escalate until he eventually purchases heroin. Around this time, beginning to become suspicious of his slowly changing behavior, David decides to read Nic's diary. To his horror, Nic has filled half the pages by colorfully describing his growing addictions through worrying words and disturbing cartoons. On one of the last pages, Nic writes of his difficulty obtaining meth in college, but that he managed to score some heroin.

Returning home, David senses that Nic is using again, and Nic leaves of his own accord, feeling claustrophobic from his dad's suspicions about his drug use. David and Nic finally meet up, and Nic asks his dad for money, so he can go to New York. Knowing the money will almost certainly go towards drugs, David declines, and Nic angrily leaves. David later gets a call from a New York hospital saying Nic has overdosed. David flies there to retrieve him, and after talking to his ex-wife and Nic's mother Vicki, he decides Nic should be sent to live with her in Los Angeles.

Nic has a fresh start in Los Angeles. He attends 12 step meetings, spends time with his sponsor Spencer, and even works at a drug clinic to help newer patients overcome their addiction. Fourteen months sober, Nic drives to visit David and his family. Seeing Nic back to his old self, interacting happily with his two younger half-siblings, David is proud of his son's newfound sobriety, as is his wife Karen. As he departs from their home, however, Nic has a sudden surge of depression, resents his sobriety, and fears relapsing. Spencer gives Nic moral support over the phone, but to little avail. Later that night, Nic drives into San Francisco, where he runs into Lauren, a fellow drug addict from his past, and confesses his desire to "party," despite having been clean for quite some time. The two buy various drugs in the streets, which they proceed to inject together at Lauren's place, where they have sex.

When he learns Nic has gone missing again, David prepares to look for him, but Karen protests that he has done everything he can for Nic, and he cannot do anything to fix his addiction, which David heartbrokenly accepts. One day Nic and Lauren break into the home while David and his family are not there, and retrieve some valuable items. The family come home, and the two quickly depart. At first, they go undetected, but David's other son Jasper notices Nic, and both David and Karen go to find them. Karen chases them in their car but stops and lets them drive off.

Lauren overdoses, but is revived by Nic and is sent to the hospital. Nic tearfully calls David and asks for permission to come home, which his father declines. Nic continues to plead, but David hangs up and breaks down in tears. Despairing, Nic overdoses, and he barely survives. David and Vicki visit him in the hospital, and David and Nic tearfully embrace.

Closing credits reveal Nic has been sober for 9 years, and it would not have been possible without the love and support of his family and friends. During the credits, Nic recites 'Let It Enfold You' by Charles Bukowski.



In 2008, it was announced that Paramount Pictures and Plan B Entertainment had acquired film rights to the books Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction, by David Sheff, and Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines, by his son Nic Sheff. Both are about Nic's addiction and eventual recovery. The studio and producers were announcing that they would use the recently published books to frame a picture about drug addiction, from the perspective of both a young meth addict and the father who finds himself helpless to stop his son's downward spiral.[9] In 2011, it was announced that writer and director Cameron Crowe had written a script based on the books.[10] In 2012, TheWrap reported that Crowe was looking to direct the film from his own script after wrapping his romantic film Aloha, with New Regency becoming involved in the project after Paramount dropped out.[11] In December 2013, it was reported that Mark Wahlberg was circling the role of David Sheff, with Crowe still attached to direct.[12]

In 2015, Variety announced that Belgian director Felix van Groeningen had taken over as director, with a new script written by Australian writer Luke Davies.[13] In January 2017, it was reported that Steve Carell and Will Poulter were attached to star in the project, as the father and son, respectively. Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Brad Pitt were the main producers.[14] In February 2017, Timothée Chalamet was officially cast in the film as Nic Sheff, opposite Carell as his character's father.[15] In 2018, van Groeningen said that out of more than 200 tapes he received from actors auditioning for the role of Nic, Chalamet immediately stood out. He added, "while we deliberately did not choose a [well-known actor] at the time of the auditions... there is less burden, now of course, it's great... Nobody had foreseen that he would suddenly become world-famous, but it is completely deserved. If [his fame] can help bring young people to the cinema, I can only applaud it."[16] In March 2017, Amy Ryan, Maura Tierney, Kaitlyn Dever, Timothy Hutton, and LisaGay Hamilton joined the cast of the film.[17][18][19][20][21] This marked a return for Carell and Ryan starring together (additionally as an on-screen couple) since season 7 of The Office. In April 2017, Andre Royo joined as well.[22] Prior to filming, van Groeningen arranged for two weeks of rehearsals with the cast, a common practice in productions in his native Belgium but not in Hollywood.[16]


Principal photography began on March 27, 2017, and lasted through May 2017 in and around Los Angeles and San Francisco.[23][24] Production designer Ethan Tobman used the house from the TV series Big Little Lies for a set, to which he made numerous alterations including to the counters.[25]

The first scenes shot for the film were the most intense, according to van Groeningen, and involved Chalamet's character being hospitalized for a drug overdose.[16] Chalamet was instructed to lose weight a couple weeks before the filming of the "hospitalization scenes," and subsequently rested to recover in order to complete the rest of the shoot. Chalamet has stated that there were numerous "doctor visits" and "close calls" during the shoot, saying, "your mind knows you're acting. But when you drop twenty pounds and you are under a rain machine for eight takes in a T-shirt—your body doesn't know you're acting."[26]

The editing of the film took seven months in total, during which the movie was completely recut multiple times. Initially Nico Leunen, van Groeningen's long-time collaborator, was not involved in the project; however, van Groeningen became dissatisfied with the editing process and brought Leunen to Los Angeles to reconstruct the film.[16]


Beautiful Boy had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2018, with the cast and director in attendance, along with David and Nic Sheff making a surprise appearance after the premiere.[27][28] The film was theatrically released in the United States on October 12, 2018,[29] and was released in the United Kingdom on January 18, 2019.[30] The film was made available to stream on Amazon Prime on January 3, 2019.[31][32]


Critical response[edit]

Timothée Chalamet's performance received positive reviews from critics and he received his second Golden Globe Award & Screen Actors Guild Award nominations and his third BAFTA Award nomination.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 68% based on 266 reviews, with an average rating of 6.5/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "Beautiful Boy sees Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carell delivering showcase work that's often powerful enough to make up for the story's muted emotional impact."[33] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 62 out of 100, based on 45 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[34]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipients Result Ref(s)
Adelaide Film Festival October 21, 2018 International Feature Award Beautiful Boy Nominated [35]
Aspen Film Festival September 30, 2018 Independent by Nature Award Felix van Groeningen Won [36][37]
British Academy Film Awards February 10, 2019 Best Actor in a Supporting Role Timothée Chalamet Nominated [38]
Chicago International Film Festival October 19, 2018 Founder's Award Beautiful Boy Won [39]
Critics’ Choice Awards January 13, 2019 Best Supporting Actor Timothée Chalamet Nominated [40]
Film Fest Gent October 19, 2018 North Sea Port Audience Award Beautiful Boy 5th place [41]
Golden Globe Awards January 6, 2019 Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Timothée Chalamet Nominated [43]
Hollywood Film Awards November 4, 2018 Hollywood Supporting Actor Award Timothée Chalamet Won [44][45]
Hollywood Breakthrough Director Award Felix van Groeningen Won
San Diego Film Critics Society December 10, 2018 Best Male Supporting Actor Timothée Chalamet Won [46]
San Sebastián International Film Festival September 29, 2018 Golden Shell Beautiful Boy Nominated [47][48]
Satellite Awards February 17, 2019 Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Timothée Chalamet Nominated [49]
Screen Actors Guild Awards January 27, 2019 Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role Timothée Chalamet Nominated [50]
Toronto International Film Festival September 16, 2018 Grolsch People's Choice Award Beautiful Boy Nominated [51][52]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Beautiful Boy". Angelika Film Center. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  2. ^ Film and Television Tax Credit Program Program 2.0 (PDF) (Report). California Film Commission. p. 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 4, 2017. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  3. ^ Anderson, Erik (November 15, 2018). "Spirit Awards Nominations Predictions: Bet on 'Beale Street,' 'BlacKkKlansman,' 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?'". AwardsWatch. Archived from the original on May 18, 2019. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  4. ^ "Beautiful Boy (2018)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  5. ^ Campbell, Christopher (September 8, 2018). "Beautiful Boy First Reviews: An Authentic, Powerfully Acted Portrait of Addiction". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  6. ^ "The 2019 Oscar Nomination Snubs Of Timothee Chalamet, Claire Foy, & More Really Sting". Bustle. Retrieved March 14, 2021.
  7. ^ "Steve Carell's Drama 'Beautiful Boy' Casts Christian Convery". variety.com.
  8. ^ "So sooooo excited and feel so grateful to everyone at Amazon Studios to the amazing Cast and Crew of Beautiful Boy!!! Just won Best Supporting Actor in a Feature Film! Thank you @yeaawards ! Thank you @amazonstudios @beautifulboymovie @tchalamet @planbentertainment.ca #Stevecarrell @mauratierneynews @amberunraveled #felixvongroeningen #jeremykleiner #dedegardner #bradpitt #francinemaisler @francinemaisler for your belief in me and in making this award come true for me!🙏🙏🎉 Wearing this Navy Blue Suit and shoes by the one and only @rococlothing !!! Best Suits! @innovativeartists @premieretalentmanagement @abbybluestone @_davidsheff @nic_sheff @theacademy @goldenglobes". instagram.com.
  9. ^ Fleming, Michael (April 29, 2008). "Par, Plan B addicted to memoir pair". Variety.
  10. ^ Dang, Simon (January 14, 2011). "Cameron Crowe Had A Script About Meth Addict Nic Sheff Rejected By Brad Pitt's Plan B Shingle?". IndieWire. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  11. ^ Foreman, Liza (August 24, 2012). "Cameron Crowe Moving Forward With 'Beautiful Boy' (Exclusive)". TheWrap. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  12. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (December 12, 2013). "Mark Wahlberg Eyes Cameron Crowe's Meth Addict Drama 'Beautiful Boy'". IndieWire. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  13. ^ Kroll, Justin (September 22, 2015). "Felix van Groeningen to Direct 'Beautiful Boy' for New Regency and Plan B (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  14. ^ "Steve Carrell, Will Poulter Eyed to star in Brad Pitt-produced drama 'Beautiful Boy'". Tracking-Board.com. January 18, 2017. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  15. ^ Ford, Rebecca (February 6, 2017). "Sundance Breakout Timothee Chalamet Joining Steve Carell in 'Beautiful Boy' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  16. ^ a b c d Devos, Thalisa; Ceulemans, Ewoud (June 15, 2018). "Felix Van Groeningen: "In Hollywood mag je niet laten merken dat je twijfelt, anders ben je dood"". De Morgen (in Dutch). Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  17. ^ Hipes, Patrick (March 15, 2017). "Amy Ryan Reunites With Steve Carell For Amazon's 'Beautiful Boy'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  18. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (March 16, 2017). "'The Affair's Maura Tierney Joins Amazon's 'Beautiful Boy'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  19. ^ Kit, Borys (March 22, 2017). "Kaitlyn Dever Joins Steve Carell in Amazon Drama 'Beautiful Boy' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  20. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (March 28, 2017). "Timothy Hutton Joins Amazon Studios' 'Beautiful Boy'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
  21. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (March 30, 2017). "LisaGay Hamilton Books 'Beautiful Boy' & 'The Last Full Measure'; 'Most Likely To Murder' Adds More Suspects". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  22. ^ Busch, Anita (April 13, 2017). "Hannah John-Kamen Joins 'Tomb Raider' Cast; Andre Royo Steps Into Amazon's 'Beautiful Boy'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  23. ^ "Beautiful Boy". MyEntertainmentWorld. Archived from the original on December 11, 2017. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  24. ^ Scerrato, Alisa (May 12, 2017). "Spotted: Steve Carell shooting 'Beautiful Boy' in the Upper Haight". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  25. ^ Harris, Hunter (October 23, 2018). "Yes, the Beautiful Boy House Is the Same As the Big Little Lies House". Vulture.com. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
  26. ^ Josh Horowitz (December 8, 2017). "Happy Sad Confused" (Podcast). MTV. Event occurs at 50:03-50:17. Archived from the original on April 26, 2018. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  27. ^ "Beautiful Boy". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  28. ^ Vlessing, Etan (July 24, 2018). "Toronto: Timothee Chalamet Starrer 'Beautiful Boy,' Dan Fogelman's 'Life Itself' Among Festival Lineup". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  29. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (February 15, 2018). "Steve Carell & Timothée Chalamet Title 'Beautiful Boy' Sets Fall Release". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  30. ^ "BEAUTIFUL BOY in Cinemas on January 18 2019". Filmoria.co.uk. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  31. ^ Russell, Scott (December 13, 2018). "Beautiful Boy Comes to Amazon Prime Video in January". Paste. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  32. ^ "One day early #BeautifulBoy is now streaming, only on @primevideo". Twitter. January 3, 2019.
  33. ^ "Beautiful Boy (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved April 13, 2024.
  34. ^ "Beautiful Boy reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  35. ^ "$50 000 In Prizes Awarded At ADL Film Fest Ceremony" (Press release). Adelaide: Adelaide Film Festival. October 16, 2018. Archived from the original on October 17, 2018. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  36. ^ "Aspen Film Announces 39th Aspen Filmfest Program" (Press release). Aspen, Colo.: Aspen Film Festival (published September 7, 2018). August 29, 2018. Archived from the original on October 17, 2018. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  37. ^ "Aspen Filmfest 2018 Special Events: Independent by Nature Award". Aspen Film Festival. Archived from the original on October 17, 2018. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  38. ^ "Bafta Film Awards 2019: All the nominees". January 9, 2019. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  39. ^ "Happy as Lazzaro And Ash Is Purest White Are Top Winners at the 54th Chicago International Film Festival" (PDF) (Press release). Chicago: Chicago International Film Festival. August 29, 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 29, 2018. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  40. ^ "Best Actress in a Comedy - Critics' Choice Awards: 'The Favourite' Leads With 14 Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
  41. ^ "Programma 45e Film Fest Gent bekend!" [Program 45th Film Fest Gent known!] (in Dutch). Film Fest Gent. September 20, 2018. Archived from the original on October 24, 2018. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  42. ^ "'Cold War' by Paweł Pawlikowski and 'High Life' by Claire Denis victorious at 45th Film Fest Gent". Film Fest Gent. October 19, 2018. Archived from the original on October 24, 2018. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  43. ^ "Golden Globe Nominations: Complete List". Variety. December 6, 2018. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  44. ^ "Timothée Chalamet and Rachel Weisz to be Honored at the 22nd Annual 'Hollywood Film Awards'" (Press release). Hollywood, CA: Hollywood Film Awards. October 11, 2018. Archived from the original on October 17, 2018. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  45. ^ Sheridan, Wade (October 16, 2018). "Hollywood Film Awards to recognize cast of 'Crazy Rich Asians'". United Press International. Archived from the original on October 26, 2018. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  46. ^ "2018 San Diego Film Critics Society Award Winners". San Diego Film Critics Society. December 10, 2018. Archived from the original on December 11, 2018. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  47. ^ "Louis Garrel, Liu Jie, Brillante Mendoza, Tuva Novotny, Peter Strickland and Felix Van Groeningen join the runners for the Golden Shell" (Press release). San Sebastián International Film Festival. August 17, 2018. Archived from the original on August 19, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  48. ^ "Non-specialised competitive Festival. FIAPF A-list" (Press release). San Sebastián International Film Festival. September 29, 2018. Archived from the original on October 17, 2018. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  49. ^ "2018 Nominees". International Press Academy. November 29, 2018. Archived from the original on November 29, 2018. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  50. ^ Hipes, Patrick (December 12, 2018). "SAG Awards Nominations: 'A Star Is Born', 'Mrs. Maisel', 'Ozark' Lead Way – The Full List". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  51. ^ "Toronto International Film Festival Reveals First Gala And Special Presentation Titles For 2018" (PDF) (Press release). Toronto: Toronto International Film Festival. July 24, 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 5, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  52. ^ "Toronto International Film Festival Announces 2018 Award Winners" (PDF) (Press release). Toronto: Toronto International Film Festival. September 16, 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 17, 2018. Retrieved October 17, 2018.

External links[edit]