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Film / Beautiful Boy

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Beautiful Boy is a 2018 biopic directed by Felix Van Groeningen, 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 his son, Nic Sheff.

The film follows David Sheff (Steve Carell) and his efforts to rehabilitate son Nic (Timothée Chalamet), who is suffering from drug addiction, primarily methamphetamines. Jack Dylan Grazer plays a 12 year olf Nid, and Maura Tierney and Amy Ryan also star.


Beautiful Boy contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation: Distills the two memoirs this film is based on into a single narrative.
  • Addled Addict / Functional Addict: Nic wavers between these throughout the film, settling at "addled" by the end when he overdoses and nearly dies.
  • Casting Gag: Steve Carell and Amy Ryan, who portray ex-spouses here, previously played the eventually-married Michael Scott and Holly Flax on The Office, though their story was far less tragic than this one.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Averted in regards to Nic's addiction. He's shown to have had a fairly standard childhood with loving parents, but fell into addiction despite it. Truth in Television for many (if not most) people struggling with addiction.
  • Deuteragonist: David and Nic. Justified since the movie pulls from both their memoirs about the same subject, i.e. Nic's drug addiction. David serves as the audience surrogate while Nic is the titular beautiful boy.
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  • Descent into Addiction: Zig-zagged. Nic has already been using drugs for years before the film starts, but it starts getting bad, so he undergoes rehab treatment and recovers... briefly, then relapses again. This pattern is true for real-life recovering addicts.
  • Foregone Conclusion: For those who've read the memoirs by the Sheffs — Nic recovers and remains his sobriety to the present day.
  • Historical Beauty Update: The real David and Nic Sheff aren't ugly, but they're portrayed here by Hollywood stars Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet.
  • Oscar Bait: By nature of it being a heavy biopic starring previous Oscar nominees released in the fall.
  • Period Piece: Set in the early 00s, specifically circa 2002 — 2003.
  • Timeshifted Actor: Nic is portrayed by Jack Dylan Grazer as a preteen, and Zachary Rifkin & Kue Lawrence as a child.
  • Titled After the Song: Specifically John Lennon's "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)", which David sings to a young Nic in the film.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Nic makes a recovery after his near-fatal addiction and maintains his sobriety.


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