BEAUTIFUL BOY DVD Review
New to DVD is BEAUTIFUL BOY, a movie starring Michael Sheen and Maria Bello, parents who are stunned to discover that their 18 year old son was behind a local college massacre where 17 people including professors, students and himself, were killed. What would you do if your only child committed one of the most horrific crimes? How would you handle the grief, the media, and your own guilt? What if your relationship with your spouse was already broken before the event? Beautiful Boy tackles these questions and opens the viewer to the other side of the equation. The movie is not about the child that slaughtered so many, but the family that he has left behind.
Beautiful Boy is painful and raw. From the first scene, the viewer knows that there is something wrong. Kate (Maria Bello) and Bill (Micahel Sheen) are fractured. They sleep in separate bedroooms, eat separate meals, and barely talk to each other. Bill dreams of moving out. Kate dreams of the perfect family vacation to bring them together. One knock on their door kills their dreams and their family and shatters what semblance of a life they were pretending to live.
Beautiful Boy is unique in that we never really learn anything about Sammy, the child. There are pictures on the walls. There is some footage from when he was very young. And there are family members and strangers that ask the tough question, why and how he could do something like this. However, the focus is not on Sam. The movie centers solely around Kate and Bill, their stages of grief, their relationship with each other, their relationship with others, and how they handle their new life. As outsiders, we tend not to realize to what extent something like this can effect the shooter’s family. They have lost their only son, their son was responsible for the deaths of others, people are calling their son a monster, and people are calling them monsters. As they reflect on what could have happened, there is bitterness, rage, blaming, and sorrow aimed at themselves and each other.
Beautiful Boy is a harrowing but realistic look at the grief process. It is haunting and, at times, awkwardly painful. You want Kate and Bill to reach out to each other. You want them to get stronger together. Beautiful Boy does offer moments of hope and new beginnings, but is very clear that the aftermath of the events is Kate and Bill’s baggage to carry.
I strongly recommend Beautiful Boy despite its heaviness. Both Maria Bello and Michael Sheen are excellent in their roles as Kate and Bill. Michael Sheen has the ability to portray so much feeling in just a brief look. He was the pefect person to play the mostly haunted husband. Meanwhile, Maria is wonderful in her ability to shift between anger and grief on a moment’s notice, and then become tough when she has to. Beautiful Boy has it all. It has a unique and moving plot, outstanding performance, a moody score, and great direction.
There are two bonus features on the DVD. The first is the trailer and the second are deleted scenes. Although there were only two deleted scenes, I was glad that I watched them. Although I can see why they were cut, they would have been good in the film as they showed even more of the effect felt by Kate.
Check out Beautiful Boy available on DVD now.