Somewhere Inside the brain there is a core with a beautiful name: the Amygdala. The Almond Core. The Greek sound is deceptive, because in the Amygdala, the fear of sitting. In the meantime, the Doctors can make the fear even visible. Then an ugly stain, like a warning from the Innermost of the identity of flickers in the picture. The Journalist David Sheff comes on the Amygdala, because he wants to understand what is happening with his son. Nic is a Boy with the best conditions. He might decide between the best schools, he had all the trails are open to life. But he prefers to destroy. Nic is addicted to drugs, methamphetamines, which he takes to count to the most Dangerous, the black market.
there Was a time when a free decision, from the soon to be a series of coercive acts? The Film “Beautiful Boy” by Felix van Groeningen’s looking for a way to the core of an unattainable phenomenon. David Sheff had to give up for his son, actually, a missing person’s report, even if sitting with him at the table. Between them, a lingering suspicion is: Nic could have robbed the family of their own. Van Groeningen’s Belgian, he was in 2009 with “The crappiness of things,” 2012, he told “The Broken Circle” by a great love and a heart-rending loss. His penchant for emotional Exuberance has not filed the Director for his first Film in America: “Beautiful Boy” evokes once again a “broken circle”, a intimate unit, in the terrible truth.
The script may invoke a two-fold template, because both David as well as Nic Sheff wrote their Version of the story. David Sheff is a Journalist by profession, his way of dealing with the Addiction of the son has, therefore, something of a large Research. Actually, it is just common sense, what moves him: He wants to understand what is going on there, that’s why he always sits back in front of Doctors and therapists, but also of necessity, that each expert has it’s own approach. For the actor Steve Carell, who actually comes from the Comedy (“The Office”), is the role of David Sheff, a dramatic test that is missing, however, is depth. Because Van Groeningen cares neither for the dimensions of this figure, it still helps to the sudden dramaturgy to a better understanding. Obviously meant to convey “Beautiful Boy” something of this experience of a Malstroms, of new relapses and disappointments, hopelessness, childhood memories even more painful.
In a Dialog between David and Nic suggests, after all, to what these history of Addiction as a family history of explosive power: The father has his experience with drugs, he comes from the liberal West Coast culture and is, with the house in Marin County and a second woman, a painter, something of a bourgeois become Beatnik. Why broke up with him, all is well, while Nic moves into the Nothing?
there is no answer, unless you could assign this Flickering in the Amygdala of anything, a blind spot in the family, or a secret from Nic. The young man in the highest danger is, of course, the attraction of the film. Where the occupation was particularly happy, because Timothée 2018 with “Call Me by Your Name had Chalamet” his big breakthrough, including the Oscar nomination. And you can see in the Californian Idyll, from the Nic breaks out, always a Nachglanz of Italian summer that comes from the Chalamet.
This gloss comes in a “Beautiful Boy” – also from the family photos and childhood scenes that point to a time in the family of Nic was still together. He is a child of Divorce, it’s a Leftover that needs to be integrated in a patch work family – there is in this constellation at least in comparison of moments with the Film “Ben Is Back”, since a few weeks in the cinema, and in the Julia Roberts in a similar role as Steve Carell in “Beautiful Boy”.
In the case of Felix van Groeningen you relatively quickly get the impression that he is interested in the experiences of David and Nic Sheff in any case only to the extent that they give him the occasion for a great feeling – and this feeling he conjures up, especially musically. “Beautiful Boy” acts as an anthology of exquisite pop songs that tell all the vulnerability and innocence (“Protection” by Massive Attack, “Heart of Gold” by Neil Young), and here mercilessly in a context, in fact, are forced, drowned after all, everything in Pathos: with the angelic voice from Góreckis third Symphony, van Groeningen don’t want to stop.