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Yes No Maybe So: Beautiful Boy

by Ben Miller

After a seemingly endless tease, we finally got the trailer for one of the most anticipated films of the year: Amazon Studio's Beautiful Boy.  Based on the memoirs of journalist David Sheff and his son Nic, the film follows David struggling through years of his son's addiction. Oscar-nominated Steve Carell steps into the role of David, while freshly Oscar-nominated Timothee Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) plays his son Nic. Let’s dive right in with another addition of Yes, No, Maybe So...


  • Love trailers that start out of nowhere!  My guess is that this diner scene is at least two-thirds of the way through the film

  • Carell looks to be in a quieter grief-stricken dramatic role, like he had in Last Flag Flying last year.  If that performance is any indication of what to expect, I am in.

  • Chalamet has really turned into a Hollywood wunderkind...

    This isn't a disease like cancer. I put myself here.

    ... Addict roles can easily be overdone, but the 22-year old looks to be making this as human as possible. 

  • For a film about addiction, the visuals seem very bright. Here's to unexpected color palettes

  • Maura Tierney gets a title card!  Her recent career resurgence is a welcome surprise thanks to her Golden Globe winning turn in The Affair

  • The secondary supporting cast is pretty stacked with LisaGay Hamilton, Oscar-winner Timothy Hutton, The Wire alumnus Andre Royo, plus the consistently great young actress Kaitlyn Dever

  • Brad Pitt’s Plan B is producing. Plan B has quietly become an awards powerhouse without a glaring blackmark on their resume.  They are also producing Adam McKay’s Backseat and James Gray’s Ad Astra currently.


  • This is not an actual no, but, confession: I have a son who is almost six, and I cannot handle that little kid repeating “Everything…” over the span of years.  Who’s cutting onions in here?!

  • The trailer seems to lay the film out pretty clearly, so where is the mystery or the unexpected directions of the addiction-recovery arc?


  • There seems to be clear parallel stories between David and Nic and these type of duets can suffer from either a lack of balance or a confused point of view.  Do we only care about Nic and his addiction journey, or will we be overly invested in David’s journey to help him?

  • Is this finally the role that gives Amy Ryan something to do again? She does play Nic’s mother, but perhaps she'll escape the long-suffering wife stock part. The trailer points to her being separated from David with Tierney as Nic's step-mom

  • Director Felix Van Groeningen is best known for his Oscar-nominated foreign film nominee The Broken Circle Breakdown from 2012.  That film, Nathaniel tells me, also had gut wrenching parent-child drama playing out over a long stretch of time. Good rehearsal for Beautiful Boy?

  • Chalamet plays the eldest version of Nic, while Jack Dylan Grazer, Zachary Rifkin and Kue Lawrence play Nic at younger intervals.  Moonlight is the best recent example of clear characterization between multiple performances, but will this stack up? That's not easy to pull off well.

I am squarely in the Yes camp and will be adjusting my personal Oscar predictions accordingly.  How about you? The film beings its rollout on October 12th.



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Reader Comments (24)

Who wouldn't want to see this? It's a must-see for me.

But yeah, let's hope Amy Ryan isn't reduced to playing yet another supportive/long-suffering wife. She's too good for that.

June 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRob

BIG FAT YES to this one

June 27, 2018 | Unregistered Commentereduardo

I love the poster. It's so 70's

June 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

This is one of the big ones this year for me. Cannot wait. The trailer is hitting each and every mark. Steve, Tim, Amy. They are all such singular talents. YES!

June 27, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I love the cast but the trailer is kind of "meh" for me. Schmaltzy. Tone-deaf. Vanilla.

June 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterW.J.

A maybe for me. I'm sure it'll be well acted but hopefully the movie finds a new or interesting spin on the "upper/middle class white teen on drugs" story.

June 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJess

Ben was doing so well until the end where he had to mention Oscar predictions.

June 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKiki


June 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

i will only see if is THAT GOOD

looks to me like a movie-to-win-awards (the theory of everything, the imitation game, stil alice, etc) and i always hate that kind of movie

June 27, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterjon

A big YES for me.

June 27, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterrdf

After his work in Call Me By Your Name and Lady Bird, I'll see this for Chalamet. And Carell does good work (e.g. The Big Short recently). But I do think the trailer gives away too much of the film's shape. Hopefully the film will be more interesting than that.

June 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

Is this some Ordinary People type of shit? Because YES! Also Amy Ryan!

June 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSTFU

the music in this trailer is not good... it's probably not scored yet otherwise trouble.

June 27, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

I'm about a third of the way into the father's memoir and it's a surprisingly engaging read - I worried it might be unrelentingly miserable. So I might wait till I finish that before I watch the trailer.

The difficulty the film may have to overcome is audiences shunning it because it looks too depressing.

Amazon will have to do a better job getting this seen than they did last year with Last Flag Flying, Wonder Wheel and Wonderstruck.

June 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSteve G

Maybe so. It looks engaging, but still a bit cliche. If the reviews are off the charts, I'm in. If it comes in so-so, I'll pass.

June 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMSP

It has a feeling of TV Movie, but I do love dysfunctional family dramas, so it's a Definite Yes for me.

And I also adore Maura Tierney. So glad she's back and hopefully cancer free.

June 27, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

so michael scott leaves dunder-mifflin to move to colorado and start a family with amy ryan's character and this is how their kid repays them?

season 26 of the office took a grim turn...

June 27, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterpar

Definitely keen for this, most excited for Carrel actually.

My lone reservation is that I actually didn't respond to THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN.

June 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

It's a no for me, dawg. I honestly feel like I've already seen this movie at least three times before.

June 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

It looks kind of "ehh" in terms of plot (this movie has been done 1000x at this point), but Chalamet gets a free pass for at least a few years for me after CMBYN & Lady Bird.

June 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

Hmm. Something about that diner scene felt really off-putting to me so it was hard for the trailer to recover. I felt like I was watching two SERIOUS ACTORS sitting on folding chairs in a black theater doing a scene study for acting class. Is that a director problem? I don’t know. But I agree with others that this feels like a 90s (TV) movie that we’ve seen before. This is sad because I want all the good things for Chalamet and Carrell.

June 28, 2018 | Unregistered Commentercatbaskets

Oh yes, yes, yes, but I'm scared too. LOVED the book - an absolute classic and required reading IMO. This book is so important that I'm afraid the movie will not be able to provide the gravitas this story requires.

June 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer

Wunderkind? Hardly.

Pretty sure that's latent CMBYN ecstasy. He hasn't shown he's capable of projecting anything but his own persona (skewed by directors and the projects themselves) outside of that summer in Italy, and even then, I'm definitely on the colder end of the spectrum...

Looks good, though! :)

June 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDave

I read the book,and tried to watch the film. I found it to be extremely painful if you are the parent living with the end product of meth. I do not believe the brain can recover from the trauma of meth, and so, it's never over.

May 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

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