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Beautiful Boy BD [Blu-ray]

 R (Restricted)   Blu-ray

List Price: CDN$ 36.99
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Product Details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada
  • Release Date: Oct. 11 2011
  • ASIN: B005CA4SP6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #54,067 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description


On the surface, this impressive little movie with the deceptively gentle title is near unrelentingly bleak and depressing. But the understatement and grace notes evident in the overlapping themes of personal loss and horrific tragedy make it an absorbing character study with insight into redemption and recovery from even the most devastating blows life can deal. Under the attentive direction of newcomer Shawn Ku, Michael Sheen and Maria Bello are responsible for most of the emotional grandeur as parents of a college freshman whose unknown inner chaos erupts into mass murder and suicide on his unnamed campus one morning, a starting point plainly inspired by the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech. Bill and Kate are on the steep down-slope of a marriage--he's already making plans to move out--when the unthinkable news arrives at their door in the form of two police officers seeking clues to the mind-boggling motivations that triggered the actions of their son. The aftermath and all its attendant details are scrupulously observed by Ku's shaky, handheld camera with its long lens kept almost exclusively in ultra-tight close-up to telegraph the claustrophobia of Bill and Kate's individual and shared turmoil. Of course there's much more than turmoil and grief. There's rage, desolation, incomprehension, recrimination, and pitiable sorrow, not only for themselves, but also for the progression of choices that could have brought them to such an inconceivable place in the world. It's a lot for such a spare movie to bite off and chew, and the evolution of reason that the script lays out for Bill and Kate sometimes stutters. Yet Sheen and Bello never waver in their choices as actors to keep the overwhelming reality facing their characters from completely going off the deep end. Several scenes that come together at a cheap motel where they have fled to partially keep the crushing truth at bay are heartbreakingly moving and truly remarkable showcases of their professional skill. The rigorous formal style that includes the camerawork and a pallid, washed-out blue-gray palette is as rigorous as the performances. Events and emotions conspire to direct Bill and Kate's panoply of anguish toward a resolution that recognizes there is no answer to the questions asked by police, parents, and the movie itself. But the suggestion lingers that there may be a kind of deliverance in the affectingly beautiful despondency of Beautiful Boy. --Ted Fry

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Harrowing And Understated Domestic Drama Slightly Undermined By Reviews That Reveal Too Much Nov. 4 2011
By K. Harris - Published on Amazon.com
The struggling married couple at the heart of "Beautiful Boy" have their lives altered by the most horrific nightmare imaginable involving their son. It is timely and excruciatingly unpleasant, the central tragedy should resonate with anyone concerned about alienation and random violence in the world today. To the movie's advantage, the DVD cover and promotional material has the common sense to NOT reveal the specifics of this incident. For the movie to achieve its maximum power, it is best to allow the content to be unveiled to the viewer as it unfolds to the parents. However, this subtle tactic is undermined by almost every review available on Amazon (including Amazon's own editorial DVD description). It's an unfortunate miscalculation, in my estimation, as it eliminates much tension from the film's earlier scenes and detracts from one of the year's most harrowing moments. Writer/director Shawn Ku takes universal tragedy and shifts the focus in an unexpected and very personal way. By doing so, he has given Michael Sheen and Maria Bello two of the most underrated roles (and performances) of the year.

Sheen and Bello play an affluent, yet struggling, couple on the brink of divorce. As they are making important decisions about their lives together, some crushing news about their college-age son smashes their existence. Suddenly, they are at the center of a public maelstrom. Everything they thought they knew has been stripped away and they are left with nothing but each other. Trying to make sense of what happened and simultaneously trying to move past it, the couple attempt to navigate a powder keg of emotions. And the story is very much about Bello and Sheen and how they cope. Will this incident pull them back together or destroy them forever. Part of the nuance of Ku's screenplay is that it allows that they are each their own person, and their reaction to the event and its aftermath is very separate (even as they are forever intertwined). Filled with regret, recriminations, and humiliation--is it possible to move on? And where does ultimate responsibility lay when unimaginable things occur?

"Beautiful Boy" is a smart and sophisticated piece of work. Despite the opportunity for emotional grandstanding, Bello and Sheen remain remarkably grounded and utterly real. At times, you might wish the movie offered more insight into just who their son is. He is never developed (as a conscious decision), but the enigma of his character lingers all over the movie. I mean if his parents, who by all accounts had a close enough relationship with the boy, are clueless--it's hard for the viewer to contextualize what happens. Still, the movie is sensitively wrought and offers two compelling performances. Sheen, as always, executes in one of his most emotional roles. But it is Bello that has the chance to surprise. I've always liked Bello, but her resume veers all over the place from top tier work to grade-B schlock. This time, she's chosen right and her brittleness has rarely been used to such affect. This is definitely a movie for adults who appreciate serious minded filmmaking. An easy recommendation--its power comes from its understatement. About 4 1/2 stars. KGHarris, 11/11.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Such an intense movie! Feb. 9 2013
By barginbuyer - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This movie was great! It really gives you a different perspective on serious issues like the one that happens in the movie.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They make it look so easy Oct. 17 2011
By Dennis A. Doolittle - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This is one of the finest acting jobs I think I have ever seen. The depth of the drama called for someone of the highest caliber to deliver some of the hardest emotions we could try to deal with. Michael Sheen did not disappoint, and in my view there are very few actors that you can actually say that about. Please do yourself a favor and see this movie.

By the way, why is it that British actors can do American accents so well?
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Movie but Depressing March 17 2014
By Lawrence H. Leach - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This movie had a great cast and full of good acting but a very downer of a movie. Michael Sheen is a very underrated actor in my opinion.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film Oct. 19 2013
By Yvonne M. Lozano - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Great film. It reflects the painful and intimate perspective of the death of a killer, through the eyes of his parents. Because it's always easier to blame the parents in a tragedy such as this one, many won't get it.

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