Ben Is Back (2018)

Ben is Back

So, Lucas Hedges is having quite a year. A bully in Mid 90s, a gay teen who must endure conversion therapy in Boy Erased. And now in Ben is Back he is a recovering addict whose opioid addiction has caused major problems between him and his family. Directed by Peter Hedges, who also happens to be Lucas’ father, this is a simple but effective film that deals with a crisis that many parents have to face. This one quietly arrived in theaters but its one to watch.

The film is about Ben, who recently returns home having been sober for 77 days. His mom wants to give him the benefit of the doubt although she is weary about whether he is using or not. Ben soon realizes that his old ways catch up to him and it causes a danger to his family. Ben tries to wrong the rights and fight off the temptation of the past, and his mom (played by Julia Roberts) strives to remain at his side to make sure that she doesn’t lose her son.

I like the recent waves of films that are covering drug addiction. Working in that counseling field I see it daily and see what a problem it is. You can never be clear of your demons and relapse is a normality. I think Lucas Hedges has one of his strongest performances yet, not that that’s a surprise because he’s good in everything. Best Julia Roberts performance in a while as well, at least for me. Its a simple plot and takes place over the course of a day or so but its a deep story that engulfs you from the opening scene.

I don’t know if this is going to get award season love but I’d like for it to get nominated for its original screenplay and some acting plaudits. Its easily identifiable, and the characters are strong and driven, a testament to the actors who commit to the performances. Wouldn’t have minded this thing being 10-20 minutes longer because not a minute is wasted here.

7.5/10

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