Sammy (West Chester’s Kyle Gallner) is a depressed, sleep-deprived college freshman who goes on a shooting spree that ends in his own suicide. Beautiful Boy follows the aftermath of this incident as Sammy’s parents (Michael Sheen and Mara Bello), already in a dissolving relationship with conversations based around food and the weather, struggle to deal with questions to which there are no answers. They’re also forced to put up with inquiring co-workers, pesky reporters, and Meat Loaf who plays the clerk of their eventual hotel haven. Watching the parents go through the stages of grief isn’t fun, in fact it’s hideously depressing, and the open-ended nature of the film’s conclusion really doesn’t spark conversation nor any form of enlightenment. It’s a portrait of a family that offers nothing to the viewer. Like a Cassavetes film.*
Beautiful Boy is the dramatic equivalent of the summer blockbuster: overwrought, over the top, and ultimately pointless. Enjoy.
Beautiful Boy opens today at the Ritz at the Bourse.
* But not really, easy joke.