Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Beautiful Boy

A married couple begins pondering separation now that their only son has begun college and is out of the house. One evening they receive an ordinary call from him, and the next he kills 17 of his classmates and then himself. Assailed by the media, and receiving uncomfortable condolences from family and friends, the couple wrestle with guilt, anger, and regret while slowly realizing that together is the only way to cope with this unimaginable situation. "Beautiful Boy" is an amateurish rendering, both of the issue it encompasses and as filmmaking in general. Shot in shakycam, there is nothing done to elevate this film above a made at home movie. The films subject is handled in a contrived manner, and leaves good actors Michael Sheen and Maria Bello out in the cold and looking ridiculous performing overwrought scenes. For a recent film about parents dealing with incomprehensible guilt, you could hardly do better than David Schwimmer's "Trust" (I've also heard the upcoming and similarly themed "We Need to Talk About Kevin" is excellent). "Beautiful Boy" does not add anything to its incendiary topic.