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Drama

Beautiful Boy (2018)

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Relapse is a part of recovery.

8 Years ago I found myself in a similar hopeless situation. With my back against the wall. Desperately searching for a way out. Knowing that I had to change my way of life drastically. Or else I would be admiring the roots of green grass till eternity real soon. The will to change was there. The courage too. Only I couldn’t do it. And now, after all those years, I’m happy I made the right decision back then. For me, “Beautiful Baby” was a bitter pill to swallow. I didn’t think I would have a hard time watching it. It wasn’t crystal meth or something similar I had problems with. But there were so many similarities with my situation in this impressive film that it seemed like the story was about me. You’ll see an avalanche of feelings in “Beautifull Boy”. Pride, trust, distrust, despair, upheaval, hope, happiness, grief and discouragement. A hopeless battle that demands inhuman efforts from both camps, leading to an unavoidable outcome. Either the person succeeds or those who surround him must passively watch as he drinks, injects, blows or swallows himself to death. Well, the movie shook me up.

 

 

Aggression, begging and promises.

The nice thing about this movie was that it didn’t only focus on the addict Nic Sheff (Timothée Chalamet), but also on the people surrounding him (his father David Sheff played by Steve Carell and stepmother Karen by Maura Tierney). As an addict, you don’t have any clue what grief you are causing to relatives during your heydays. Everything revolves around getting what your body yearns for. It’s not like in “Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo” and “Animals” where you witness the gradual decline of the addict himself. Both physically and psychologically. It’s not that Nic looks spic and span the whole movie. Towards the end, you can see the terrible consequences of the daily use of methamphetamine. That hazy look and a gray, unkempt appearance. But mainly his changing moods and aggressive behavior towards others are terrible to look at. His begging and making promises are nothing more than an excuse to get some extra cash to buy the drug he needs.

 

 

I pray this will never happen to one of my kids.

The only thing I could say to my wife afterward was: “I hope we’ll never have to deal with this with one of our two kids. Because this is a real nightmare“. As a parent of two children growing up, the thought this could happen to us scares the hell out of me. No matter how much you try to protect them from the evil outside world and you overload them with love and attention, the moment they give in to the things that seem to make their life rosier, you know that you are going to have an unequal battle. A fight where, against all your parents’ feelings, you might have to throw the towel in the ring at some point and have to confess to yourself that you’ve lost the battle. Losing a child is terrible. But breaking the bond with one of your children, pretending that they no longer exist and hoping that they get out of that period unscathed, is dozens of times worse I think.

 

 

The acting was impressive.

Beautiful Boy” is impressive. And not only because of the theme. The acting of Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet is also unparalleled. You simply feel the desperation of Steve Carell who tries to help his son and always realizes that this isn’t possible. A father who tackles the problem and like an investigative journalist tries to understand what the notorious drugs do to his son Nic. As a comedian, Steve Carell never convinced me. With this role, however, my respect for the actor has only increased. Timothée Chalamet’s performance is certainly Oscar-worthy. You don’t get the feeling that he’s the acting rising star in the Hollywood firmament. It feels authentic, sincere and unforced. These two protagonists may already prepare their tuxedo for the Academy Awards.

 

 

Proud to be a Belgian.

And director Felix van Groeningen (Yes, he’s from Belgium) can also join these gentlemen on the red carpet. Thematically, the film lends itself perfectly to make an exaggerated Hollywood spectacle. But he manages to keep it serene and realistic. Artistic images are processed in an idiosyncratic montage with a lot of back and forth jumping in time. Flashbacks follow each other and the memories of both Nic and Davis flow into each other. I sometimes didn’t know where the story was situated on the timeline. But that’s the only flaw that I can think of in this otherwise impressive film. And all this with a tasteful soundtrack. I never expected to hear “Territorial pissings” from Nirvana in a movie.

 

 

I was speechless.

Some film viewers will probably just say it’s a family drama about addiction. Maybe they also find it monotonous because of the endless cycle of reviving and relapsing. On me, however, it made an overwhelming impression that unleashed a lot of emotions. I hope that every person who falls into the trap of any drug also can fall back on a loving, supportive family full of understanding and support, so they can escape from it eventually somewhere in their lives.

 

My rating 10/10
Links: IMDB

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Drama

Tribeca Film Festival | ‘7 Days’ – A Sweet Rom-com To Keep You Going

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We’ve reached the point now where the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns we’ve faced over the past year are starting to become backdrops for films, and perhaps it’s not something we want to re-live and it’s not something we’re desperate to revisit, but 7 Days has a really touching and moving story at its centre and when you look past the coronavirus, it’s a really compelling story and makes for a good film.

At the start of the film, we meet Ravi (played by Karan Soni, best known for playing Dopinder in Deadpool) and Rita (Geraldine Viswanathan- Blockers, The Broken Hearts Gallery). The two have been set up by their old-fashioned Indian parents and are on a pre-arranged date. The two of them have absolutely nothing in common and the whole afternoon is very awkward for them both. But then the COVID outbreak gets worse and Ravi must spend the next few days at Rita’s place as he can’t get a car or a hotel. We soon witness the unlikely bond that forms as the two spend their days together despite being very different people.

7 Days marks Roshan Sethi’s directorial debut and he does a great job here. Not only does he capture so well what it’s like to live, and to love, in the time of COVID but the film, which was also co-written by Sethi, is really funny and leaves you feeling good which is exactly what you want after having lived through the last year.

The film’s quite short as it is with a runtime of just 86 minutes but even so, it does feel very long. Whether that’s because there’s only really two characters that we’re seeing for almost an hour and a half, or if it’s because it takes place almost entirely in one location, it does drag a bit. The two characters seem like polar opposites as we discover Rita drinking beer and eating leftover chicken for breakfast despite claiming to be a vegetarian and not drinking and at times the film feels like it’s almost running out of things to do with these characters that at first seem so far away from each other and the film does feel quite long despite its rather short runtime.

But on the whole, 7 Days manages to get the tone between comedy and drama just right with lots of funny lines but also just the right amount of heartfelt and poignant moments. The film is bookended by short video clips of real-life Indian couples talking about their marriages and how they met, and the two main characters discuss these two viewpoints of a more orthodox arranged marriage versus love marriages and the film does a really good job of presenting them both to us equally.

7 Days works well and manages to avoid being a depressing film about the pandemic, in part due to the really good performances from Soni and Viswanathan and the wonderful chemistry the two have, but also due to the really good script by Sethi and Soni. And whilst we will doubtlessly see more movies set during this time, 7 Days is a sweet rom-com to keep you going.

★★★☆☆

7 Days premiered at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival.

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Drama

Supernova | A Powerful And Touching Film Worth Seeing

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Get the tissues ready because Supernova is a real tear-jerker. It’s one of those films that right from the very first moment you know it’s going to hit you right in the feels. And Supernova expertly gets that blend right between sadness and hope to the point that the film is an excellent well-rounded film that has real emotion and isn’t just a complete sucker punch to the gut.

Sam (played by Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci) are partners of 20 years and are travelling around the Lake District in their old RV. The thing is that two years ago, Tusker was diagnosed with early-onset dementia. Over the course of their journey, they encounter friends and family and their ideas for the future clash as secrets are revealed, really testing their love for each other in a way that they’ve never experienced before. It’s a really devastating film about love and about loss too but it’s incredibly powerful.

For the first half of the film, there’s quite little actually about Tusker’s dementia and instead, writer/director Harry Macqueen decides to show us just how strong the love between the two is and we see that they’ve both put their careers on hold at this difficult point in their lives. Sam was a musician and Tusker a writer but they’ve both been unable to continue with these with everything they’re going through. But we see the incredible love that these two people have for each other.

This is, in part, down to the phenomenal performances from both Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci. And that’s what really takes this film up a notch to be an excellent film. Firth and Tucci are both outstanding and give some of their best performances of their careers. The film is entirely driven by their remarkable performances and everything else helps to compliment that to create a really moving film. The cinematography is really beautiful- as you’d expect- with the gorgeous Lake District as the backdrop for film and there are some really lovely wide shots of the incredible scenery in Supernova.

For the majority of the film, the writing is really good too, however, there are a few instances where it doesn’t quite feel like what a real person would say in that situation in the moment. Instead, it sounds like the sort of thing a writer would have written- which of course it is, but because of how touching and powerful it is, and because of how well Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth are delivering these lines it doesn’t stand out too much.

Supernova is a very emotional film, particularly when you consider the meaning behind the title. Director Harry Macqueen says that “a supernova is the massive explosion event at the end of the evolution of a star”. “For me this has always been representative of Tusker himself- a man who shines bright in all he does, brings light and laughter to almost every situation and is, of course, dying. It’s quite literal in that regard, really; he knows his final chapter is just around the corner.”

Supernova is a film that’s worth seeing, even if that’s just to see Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci giving career-best performances but there’s so much more to the film as it explores the sophisticated, mature themes of love and loss. Just make sure to take some tissues, or maybe even a bucket, to collect your tears.

★★★★☆

Supernova is released in UK cinemas on June 25th.

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Action

Marvel Studios’ Eternals | Official Teaser

The Eternals, a race of immortal beings with superhuman powers who have secretly lived on Earth for thousands of years, reunite to battle the evil Deviants.

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Genre:

Action, adventure, drama

Release Date:

November 5, 2021

Director:

Chloé Zhao

Cast:

Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kit Harington, Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry

Plot Summary:

The Eternals, a race of immortal beings with superhuman powers who have secretly lived on Earth for thousands of years, reunite to battle the evil Deviants.

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