‘Beautiful Boy’ shows ugly reality of drug addiction

Art by Jimin Yu

The movie “Beautiful Boy,” starring Oscar nominees Timotheé Chalamet and Steve Carell, came out October 19, 2018. It is based off of true memoirs from a father and his son. David Sheff, (Steve Carell) and his son, Nic Sheff (Timotheé Chalamet), have difficulty strengthening their relationship because of Nic’s addiction to methamphetamine. Nic’s entire family was put in jeopardy because of his serious drug dependence.

Drug addiction is a very real problem in the United States. A statistic from TIME magazine says, “Addiction is very real to legions of people: approximately 20 million Americans meet the criteria for a substance use disorder.” The statistic goes on to say, “An estimated 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017.” “This is life with Lisa Ling,” a documentary series, describes lives affected by meth addiction as “Lives that have spiraled out of control.” It causes people to completely lose their sense of worth because they are so attached to the drug.

The movie shows a very realistic account of how people can be affected by addiction. Chalamet even lost 20 pounds to make himself look more like a methamphetamine addict. He was put through the acting wringer, having to make himself vomit for many scenes in a row. As well as self induced vomiting, Chalamet was also put under a rain machine for several hours, being doused with freezing cold water. Even though there is a sense of hopelessness throughout the movie, David Sheff says a line that offers a sense of hope. He says, “I love you more than everything.” Despite David’s anger at his son, he has hope that Nic will climb out of his pit of despair through battling his addiction.

For most people, it is very uncomfortable to talk about drug abuse in daily conversation. In an interview done with TIME magazine, Timothée Chalamet said he hopes this movie portrays the realities of drug abuse.

“We talk about drug abuse as moral failing,” Chalamet says. “For us, that’s a hope for the movie: that it starts a conversation to see it not as taboo.” Addiction is an ongoing battle that no one should surrender to.