Cinema Reviews:  Sobering account of one family's huge battle

BEAUTIFUL BOY (15)

Tuesday, 15th January 2019, 11:53 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th January 2019, 11:59 am
Undated film still handout from Beautiful Boy. Pictured: Timothee Chalamet as Nic Sheff and Steve Carell as David Sheff. See PA Feature SHOWBIZ Film Digest. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Amazon Studios/Francois Duhamel. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature SHOWBIZ Film Digest.

A father's unswerving love for his drug-addicted 18-year-old pride and joy is tested to the limit of endurance in Belgian director Felix van Groeningen's sensitively handled drama.

Based on two emotionally raw memoirs - Beautiful Boy by David Sheff and Tweak by his son Nic - the handsomely crafted film is a sobering account of one family's battle of attrition with a demon that sinks its jaws into a prodigal child and refuses to let go.

There are no huge emotional crescendos in a chronologically fragmented narrative assembled by van Groeningen and co-writer Luke Davies. Instead, we are silent and tearful witnesses to moment of compassion, aching regret and anguished surrender that leave us in no doubt of the devastation wrought by drugs on the user and everyone in his chaotic orbit.

Beautiful Boy is anchored by commanding performances from Steve Carell as the patriarch, who staunchly refuses to admit defeat, and Timothee Chalamet as the teenager with a trembling finger on the self-destruct button.

COLETTE (15)

Based on a script by director Wash Westmoreland and his late husband Richard Glatzer, Colette lovingly details the true story of the French novelist, who challenged the supposed limitations of her gender in early 20th-century Paris.

During the film, one male writer argues that irrefutable facts should never get in the way of a good yarn. "It is the hand that holds the pen that writes history," the author suggests.

Westmoreland crafts his pages of feminist history and creative endeavour into a handsomely appointed battle of words between Keira Knightley's dutiful wife turned trailblazer and Dominic West's egotistical and domineering husband. British composer Thomas Ades' orchestrations underscore the hard-fought battle for parity and respect.