Ben is Back (2018)

“If you were black, you would be in jail right now.” – Neal

Number of Times Seen – 1 (20 Feb 2019)

Brief Synopsis – After their drug addicted son surprises them by showing up before Christmas, a family must find a way to deal with the change while making the best of the situation so that they can have a happy family holiday together.

My Take on it – This is a film that is able to take a complex situation and find a way to present things in a way that things come across as being quite realistic and genuine throughout.

They are able to present the various problems that families in these kind of situations find themselves in while also making things very accessible because we get to see how they deal with these issues on a daily basis.

The physical and mental anguish on these families is quite high and they do a great job showing the effects that this situation has on them.

They do a wonderful job showing things both verbally and physically of how their lives are changed and constantly disrupted by the sudden reappearance of a child who suffers from an addiction.

Julia Roberts is great in the lead role here and shows she can still carry a story that is powerful like this one.

She is completely outshone throughout the film tho by Lucas Hedges who once again gives such an amazing performance as a troubled youth.

He knows how to internalize the characters he plays and makes things seem so realistic throughout.

He has the ability to continue to give amazing performances and if he continues in this fashion, we will see much more from him in the future.

I’m actually a bit shocked that he ddidn’t get more recognition for this role because despite the fact that he was praised for his previous work in Manchester By the Sea (2016) and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) this role still feels very unique and it doesn’t seem as if he is just doing the same role over and over.

Bottom Line – Excellent film that is able to take a very complex subject and present it in a very realistic and genuine way.  They are able to show the various problems that families with addicted children must deal with on a daily basis and we get to see the kind of physical and mental panic that these kind of situations bring around. Love the way that we get to see both verbally and physically how lives are changed and disrupted by the appearance of a child who is an addict.  Roberts is great in the lead but Hedges proves once again how amazing an actor he can be with his role here.  He is an actor that we will see much more in the future because he knows how to internalize the characters that he takes on and makes things seem so realistic throughout. I’m actually a bit shocked that he didn’t receive enough praise for the work he does in this film because even with his previous powerful performances in Manchester By the Sea (2016) and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), he doesn’t feel as if he is rehashing past work and this feels like a very unique role. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Julia Roberts did not ask for any change in the Ben Is Back script, but she made a request in relation to the casting. Impressed by the performance of Lucas Hedges, the Oscar-nominated son of Peter Hedges for his role as orphaned teenager in Manchester By The Sea (2016), she insisted that the director give him the title role. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10)


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5 thoughts on “Ben is Back (2018)

  1. Movie is very good. Disagree that Hedges outshines Roberts, but agree that I was surprised at the lack of awards recognition for either (although to be honest – as good as Hedges is in this – Timothy Chalamet was spectacular in “Beautiful Boy” and he got pretty much zip as well. Same as Steve Carrell in the same film). Also – Roberts not only insisted that Lucas play her son – but it wasn’t his father (the writer/director of the film) who had to be convinced – it was Timothy himself – who turned it down repeatedly – not wanting to work with his father – until other young actor friends of his – who had seen the script and wanted the role – kept telling Lucas how good it was. He had a change in heart – as long as his father agreed that they would call one another by their names on set – and act as director and actor and NOT father and son. One other piece of trivia – actress Kathryn Newton – who plays Lucas’s on screen sister in this film – also played his sister in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”.

    Liked by 1 person

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