Ben Is Back
Action / Drama
Ben Is Back
Action / Drama
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Follows the charming yet troubled Ben Burns (Hedges), who returns home to his unsuspecting family one fateful Christmas Eve. Ben's wary mother Holly Burns (Roberts) welcomes her beloved son's return, but soon learns he is still very much in harm's way. During the 24 hours that may change their lives forever, Holly must do everything in her power to avoid the family's downfall..
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
Aug 15, 2021 at 10:12 PM
grade Movie Reviews
I was thoroughly engaged throughout this film. And I probably should be. I am 32 years old with a mother who died when I was 26 to a heart attack from a drug overdose, and a father that died at the beginning of 2018 from alcoholism and liver failure. I have two brothers who went through drug addiction growing up in their teens through twenties, and my aunts were in Julia Roberts shoes in this movie.I was even like the sister here - cracking jokes everyone they tried to get clean and not trusting them; getting them into trouble. My aunts, so desperate to get them clean, did anything they could to help. And I mean anything. Thinking that it would be their last time or it would be the time they finally got better.I am writing this because I read a review saying that Julia Roberts character was unbelievable - her going through this entire journey to find Ben. And I'm here to say that yes it is unbelievable but it's also very much a real thing. I watched it. I watched aunts travel through the streets of Detroit in the dead of winter to find my brothers, i watched them get literally shot at as they grabbed them to take them home. This may seem like some lifetime movie that could never happen - but it does. And it happened to me.This movie requires people who have never experienced this to accept it as fiction or some stretched reality. But for those of who lived this, it's a reminder of what we've gone through. And to call this unbelievable is probably justified - because it is unbelievable the things family will go through for their loved ones. Unbelievable and impossible are two very different things. The things this mother did is very possible, and very real, albeit unbelievable. Family is unbelievable when it comes to saving the ones they love. For anyone wondering, my two brothers are both 6/7 years clean and doing much better than we ever thought they could. And yes, I have saved my brothers life before- I watched him cough up black tar as his entire body "locked up" from a reaction and called 911 for them to save his life. And while i laid on the floor next to my mother crying as she laid lifeless, and watched as the doctors shook their head as they couldn't save my father, I still know that there are people that need help and that should get help- and if a movie like this can even one person go the extra set to help someone who needs help - than these movies are worth more than the world.
Ben is Back (2018)
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
falters after a strong start
Greetings again from the darkness. So many families have been thrown into turmoil due to a loved one's drug addiction. Count writer/director Peter Hedges among those, so know this is more than just another film for him ... it's personal. Mr. Hedges previous work includes the underrated PIECES OF APRIL (2003) and DAN IN REAL LIFE (2007), as well as an Oscar nomination for his ABOUT A BOY (2002) screenplay. This time out, he cast his own son Lucas in the titular role of Ben. It was a wise choice.When your son is checked into drug rehab, and you pull up to your house on Christmas Eve and see him pacing in the front yard, should your first reaction be total joy or immense trepidation? Are you thrilled to see him or worried for your other 3 kids - each who is in the car with you? Such is the moment for Holly Burns (played by Julia Roberts). With excitement from her two youngest, and pleas of "no" from her teenage daughter Ivy (Kathryn Newton), Holly bolts from the car and embraces Ben (Lucas Hedges), her eldest and most self-destructive child.What follows is the ultimate example of inner-conflict for both mother and son. Holly is simultaneously happy to see her son and apprehensive for his well-being and that of her family. Ben is putting up an "all is well" front, while carrying the guilt of lying through his teeth. This initial sequence is by far the most powerful segment of the movie, and adding punch to these scenes are Ms. Newton and Courtney B Vance as Holly's husband and Ben's stepfather. Lucas Hedges and Kathryn Newton are immensely talented and two of the fastest rising young stars. He was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, and she is recognizable from her work on "Big Little Lies".After such a strong beginning, the story falters quickly as it spreads outside of the family home. At the local shopping mall, mother Holly spews vicious venom at the doctor who first prescribed the pain killer for Ben's sports injury. She blames the now dementia-riddled doctor for ruining her son's life - it's an all too obvious and overblown moment of a parent needing to place the blame elsewhere. Soon after, we truly fly off the rails as mother and son treat us to a tour of the cities drug-related highlights. When the family dog goes missing, most people post on Facebook for help. Not this family. They hop into the car and revisit all the drug havens and dealers from Ben's past. Of course, we do get the obligatory drug recovery meeting where Ben's soliloquy praises his mother (she's in attendance) and shows remorse for his many sins.Every parent will understand the desperate feeling of mother Holly here or father David (Steve Carell) in BEAUTIFUL BOY, a similar-themed movie released earlier this year. We are also familiar with the deceptive and often dangerous actions of addicts, even those who were raised in our home. So while we are flexible in our judgement of Holly, Ms. Roberts' performance is just too showy and over-the-top here, though she'll likely be lauded for a dramatic role with only minimal dependence on her usual acting quirks. The first third of the movie is outstanding, however the rest comes across as an attempt to create intense drama when there's already plenty.
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