Film review: Beautiful Boy (Director: Felix van Groeningen)
By Sascha Krieger
Eventually ending up as the festival’s Panorama section audience award winner, the 2013 edition of the Berlin Film Festival featured a film that would send theatres full of hardened critics and experienced film lovers into collective crying fits that would last beyond the closing credits. That film, The Broken Circle Breakdown, the story of a great but tragic love, established Belgian film maker Felix van Groeningen as a master of raw, undiluted and painfully honest emotion. In his newest effort, Beautiful Boy, he dives into highly emotional waters again, exploring that first love of all, that between parents and children. Based on David Sheff’s book of the same name and his son Nick’s follow-up Tweak, it tells the real-life story of their struggle with and ultimately against Nic’s drug addiction that he got captured in during his teenage years. It covers several years, jumping back and forth, treating time not as a linear entity but a stagnating event, stuck in repetition, going in, yes, broken, circles.