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Beautiful Boy
10.28.2011 By: Chris Bumbray
Beautiful Boy order download
Director:
Shawn Ku

Actors:
Maria Bello
Michael Sheen

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Katie (Maria Bello) and Bill (Michael Sheen) are an unhappy suburban couple, looking to separate now that their son, Sammy (Kyle Gallner) has gone off to college. One day, they receive news that there’s been a shooting spree at Sammy’s school. They discover that not only is Sammy dead, but that Sammy, before taking his own life, was responsible for the massacre.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
BEAUTIFUL BOY has a lot in common with WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN, as they both focus on the parents of teenaged mass-murderers who are left behind to pick up the pieces of their lives after their child’s murderous rampage. In some ways, BEAUTIFUL BOY is more disturbing that KEVIN, as Sammy is far from the monster Kevin was.

We learn early on that Sammy was a wonderful, thoughtful son- making his actions totally inexplicable. We only see him once, where he tearfully calls his parents to say goodbye before killing his classmates. BEAUTIFUL BOY makes us come close to sympathizing with Sammy. However, while Tilda Swinton’s character in KEVIN fell apart after the rampage, Katie and Bill find an odd solace in each other after the slaying. Prior to the massacre, they were ready to separate, but now, they have to rely on each other, and by the end this becomes a sort of quasi-love story for Sheen and Bello, both of whom are phenomenal.

Like the parent in KEVIN, Katie and Bill are blamed by most people for their son’s actions, but it’s obvious that, as far as director Shawn Ku is concerned, they are not to blame. They are shown to be good people, even if Katie is overbearing, and Bill is sort of an overgrown frat boy. There’s a fascinating part of the film where Katie and Bill go to live with Bill’s brother Eric (Alan Tudyk) and his wife Trish (Moon Bloodgood) - who’s just given birth to her own son. We see as Katie tries to make Trish’s son a replacement for her own lost child, while both Eric and Trish are terrified of her having anything to do with their baby, assuming that she’ll twist his mind somehow. At the same time, Eric and Trish are presented as a fairly open-minded, sympathetic pair, so obviously, Ku’s not interested in the easy answer, which is refreshing.

At the same time, BEAUTIFUL BOY pales alongside WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN in that first-timer Ku doesn’t quite have the same flair maestro Lynne Ramsay does behind the camera. It also gets a little boring and draggy at times, and it could stand to be trimmed a tad.

THE EXTRAS
This is a pretty slim package, although I suspect BEAUTIFUL BOY is not exactly the type of film that demands hours of bonus features. We do, however, get a thoughful audio commentary by director Shawn Kum along with his editor and cinematographer. There's alos about two minutes of deleted scenes and the trailer .
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Whatever its flaws, BEAUTIFUL BOY is a powerful work, and well worth seeing on the virtues of Sheen and Bello’s performances alone. While it might be a little too under-the-radar for the stars to get the wards consideration they deserve, it’s a film that shouldn’t be missed.
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