‘Beautiful Boy’ reviews: Timothee Chalamet gives an ‘exquisitely calibrated’ performance in addiction drama

Is “Beautiful Boy” award-worthy? The Amazon Studios film opened in select theaters on October 12 and stars Steve Carell as a devoted father and Timothee Chalamet as his son who struggles with an addiction to drugs, especially crystal meth. Both actors are past Oscar nominees looking for their second bids, but what do the critics have to say?

Reviews for the film are generally positive, though somewhat mixed. As of this writing it has a MetaCritic score of 63 based on 22 reviews and a Rotten Tomatoes freshness rating of 67% based on 54 reviews. The Rotten Tomatoes critical consensus highlights Carell and Chalamet’s performances, which are “often powerful enough to make up for the story’s muted emotional impact.”

Chalamet in particular is a critical favorite for his turn, which has been described as “exquisitely calibrated and utterly lived in.” He “comes apart at the seams before our eyes, and he has plenty of range.” The “strong, committed performances … anchor a highly personal film.” And on top of all that the actor already has an Oscar IOU, even though he’s only 22-years-old. After winning myriad critics’ awards for his breakthrough role in “Call Me by Your Name” he lost the Best Actor Oscar to veteran Gary Oldman (“Darkest Hour”).

Do you think the academy will make it up to Chalamet? Or for that matter to Carell, who was previously a Best Actor nominee for “Foxcatcher” (2014)? Check out some of the reviews below, and join the discussion on this and more with your fellow movie fans in our forums.

Fionnuala Halligan (Screen International): “Strong, committed performances and the upsetting ring of reality anchor a highly-personal film which cycles through addiction, relapse and rehab in an episodic way, each high as inevitable as the low which follows.”

Leah Greenblatt (Entertainment Weekly): “It’s hard to imagine the movie, based on both Sheffs’ memoirs, working at all without Chalamet; He is beautiful — like a boy on a Grecian urn, with a crack running through it. And his performance feels both exquisitely calibrated and utterly lived in, alternately sweet and addled, furious and catatonic.”

Alissa Wilkinson (Vox): “‘Beautiful Boy’ is uneven in spots, but when it succeeds, it’s worth the effort … Chalamet gets a chance he hasn’t yet had to play a character who comes apart at the seams before our eyes, and he has plenty of range; he’s a warm, funny, goofy teenager but also a grenade that only needs a pin pulled to explode, all at once.”

A.O. Scott (New York Times): “It is hard not to be touched by the testing of paternal love, or by Nic’s fragility. But ‘Beautiful Boy,’ rather than plumbing the hard emotional depths of its subject, skates on a surface of sentiment and gauzy visual beauty … It mystifies David and Nic’s experiences, leaving too many questions — how and what as well as why — swirling in the air.”

Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on January 22.

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