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Tackling Addiction In Film


Recently, Hollywood has begun to take notice of America’s opioid epidemic. And, in our opinion, rightly so. With tens of thousands of people overdosing each year, it is an important and timely topic. So much so, that two high-profile holiday films are addressing it and using big name talent to get the message out. Box office stars Julia Roberts and Steve Carell are headlining movies about the crisis, both of which have received their fair share of critical acclaim.


Roberts stars in Ben Is Back, an indie film focused on a mother coming to terms with her son’s dependency. Also featuring up-and-comer Lucas Hedges, this emotional drama has many elements that parents of addicts can relate to. Reviewers have praised Roberts’ heart-wrenching performance as a mother struggling between enablement and tough love. Entertainment Weekly summarized her character’s journey rather well.


“Roberts’ character may be the true standout here,” critic Leah Greenblatt wrote. “She begs, she bargains, she swears like a teamster. But most of all, she loves her son, and to the detriment of common sense and safety and almost everything she knows, she’ll follow him into the dark.”


A majority of movie reviewers have agreed that Ben Is Black is the darker of the two addiction films released this season. And sometimes showing that raw pain is important, as dependencies tend to send lives and families into turmoil. Beautiful Boy is the other feature that tackles the subject and while it isn’t lighthearted by any means, it does offer inspiration for people who may be struggling.


This film stars Carell as another parent with unconditional love for his dependent teenage child. The son is played by rising star Timothée Chalamet (who actually scored a Golden Globe nomination for his performance). This touching story is actually based in fact and the harrowing true life experiences of Nicholas Sheff and his father, David. The example here, is a privileged, “happy family” and how an addiction can strike a person regardless of their background. It tends to portray this issue like a disease, which we happen to agree with.


If you were to ask us, these are both important films to make time for this holiday season. They may be painful to watch (especially if this is something your family has experienced personally), but tell important stories and help bring these topics to the masses.

You can see the full trailers for both movies below…


Ben Is Back

YouTube video

Beautiful Boy