Wednesday, May 18, 2011
The words in the trailer give the perfect canvas to draw upon for the film. In a single moment your entire life can change. The hardest part of moving on is letting go, and finding the courage to forgive; to regret; and to love. To comfort those around us in times of need we often use words like hope, heal, trust, hurt, feel, and rebuild. However, it is the word "live" that is the most important. When the emotions of life have gotten the better of us, we forget how to live. This is a film about living. So rarely do you find such a beautiful debut film for a writer/director, but Shawn Ku has done just this with "Beautiful Boy". The decision to use distant camera shots that are then zoomed in provides a layer between the characters and the audience that works in this film as we are invading the private lives during their most difficult times.
The film follows the emotional journey of Bill (Michael Sheen) and wife Kate (Maria Bello) who are coping with the loss of their son from a college shooting incident. The blurred foreground as you peak through a window, or from another room in the house, to see and hear a conversation is perfect as their lives are forever going to be in a fish bowl. We all want to stare and look, but are afraid to get close and truly understand what they are experiencing. The film deals with a topic that is for the most part unfamiliar to all of us. We have seen the unfortunate tragedies of Thurston HS (1998), Columbine HS (1999), and Virginia Tech (2007). However, the emotions of the families are completely foreign.
The supporting roles are quietly powerful with Alan Tudyk (mostly known for his role of Steve the Pirate in Dodgeball) as the brother of Kate, who defends his sister to his own wife when she is acting like "supermom" to her nephew. Then there is Meat Loaf as a hotel manager that says what we all are thinking. However, the best of the supporting cast might be Deidre Henry as the neighbor who quietly delivers the best performance. Her comforting hug to Kate is exactly what you in the audience might want to do.
The film was a winner at the Toronto International Film Festival and will continue to receive the award recognition that it deserves. An early favorite for me and a 5 Quack review. Michael Sheen and Maria Bello should receive some recognition for Best Actor and Best Actress. However of the two it is Maria Bello that really stands out. The script is also worthy of a nomination for tackling such a difficult topic.
(screening date 5/18/11, release date 6/17/11, location Regal Gallery Place)