Starring: Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney, Amy Ryan, Kaitlyn Dever, Andre Royo, Timothy Hutton, LisaGay Hamilton, Amy Forsyth, Christian Convery
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Bio-drama directed by Felix Van Groeningen in which the story chronicles meth addiction and recovery through the eyes of a father, David Sheff (Steve Carell), who watches his son, Nic (Timothée Chalamet), as he struggles with the addiction.
Best Quotes (Total Quotes: 22)
[referring to Nic]
David Sheff: There are moments that I look at him, this kid that I raised, who I thought I knew inside and out, and I wonder who he is. He’s been doing all sorts of drugs, but he’s addicted to crystal meth, which seems, uh, to be the worst of all of them. And I guess I’m here because I just want to know all that I can about all of it. Know your enemies, right? So, my two big questions are, what is it doing to him, and what can I do to help him?
[on the phone]
Man: Marin General Hospital. How may I help you?
David Sheff: Hi. My son has gone missing, and I wanted to check to see if he had, uh, maybe had been brought in, or if there’d been an accident.
Man: Can I have name and description, sir?
David Sheff: Nicolas Sheff. S-H-E-F-F. He is eighteen years-old. He is just over six feet tall. About a hundred and thirty pounds, maybe less. I don’t know. Um, he has shoulder length brown hair and green eyes.
Man: Thank you. Please hold.
David Sheff: Okay.
Man: Mr. Sheff?
David Sheff: Yes.
Man: Uh, there’s no one by that name, sir.
David Sheff: Okay. Thank you.
David Sheff: You know what we should do, we should go surfing.
Nic Sheff: Yeah.
David Sheff: That sound good?
Nic Sheff: I’m kind of into other things now, you know?
David Sheff: Reading misanthropes and seriously depressed writers.
Nic Sheff: Oh, come on, they’re, they’re kind of great, though, right?
David Sheff: I get it. It’ll pass though. It always does.
Nic Sheff: What does?
David Sheff: The feeling of being alienated and isolated.
Nic Sheff: Huh, that really helps. Thanks for the advice, Dad.
David Sheff: Okay.
Nic Sheff: Alright. That was, that came out wrong. I’m sorry.
David Sheff: Why?
Nic Sheff: I don’t know. Um, when I tried it, I felt, I felt better than I ever had, so I just kept on doing it.
David Sheff: I was worried that you were smoking too much pot. Meanwhile, you’re out doing every drug on the planet, and hiding it and lying? Why?
Nic Sheff: I don’t know. Um…
David Sheff: Why, Nic, tell me why?
Karen Barbour: Ease up.
Nic Sheff: I don’t know.
David Sheff: I thought we were close. I thought we were closer than most fathers and sons.
Nic Sheff: Yeah, I feel like you’re always disappointed in me. You’re disappointed I didn’t go to college.
David Sheff: Can you blame me?! Just, uh, not too long ago, you were reading and you were writing, and you were on the water polo team. And look at us now!
Nic Sheff: Dad…
Karen Barbour: Can you please stop?
David Sheff: This isn’t us! This is not who we are!
Karen Barbour: Just stop. Just, please, both of you stop.
Nic Sheff: Dad, I’m really sorry about everything. Dad, I’m so, I’m really sorry, Dad.
David Sheff: Nic, what you have, you’re going to find it again. And you’re going to get it back.
David Sheff: Just where are you going to go? You can’t just leave. This is ridiculous. Come on.
Karen Barbour: Will you talk to us? I mean, really we just want to talk to you.
David Sheff: Why not try to help us understand. Alright?
Karen Barbour: Or just let us help you.
Nic Sheff: I don’t want your fucking help. Don’t you understand that?
Karen Barbour: No.
Nic Sheff: No, you don’t. Jesus Christ, then what the fuck is wrong with you, then, huh? What the hell is wrong with you people?
David Sheff: Nic.
Nic Sheff: No, you fucking suffocate me!
David Sheff: Hey. Oh…
Nic Sheff: You fucking suffocate me!
David Sheff: Woh, it’s us? We’re the problem? No. You know what, you’re the one who’s doing it! You’re the one who’s causing it! And you’re the only one who can stop it! Fucking solve it!
[Nick meets David at a diner]
David Sheff: So how are you doing?
Nic Sheff: I’m doing great. You know, just, um, um, just doing what needs to be done.
David Sheff: What does that mean?
Nic Sheff: Just being responsible for myself, and I’ve quit on my own, you know, so I got five days now. I feel like I’m doing well, but I just need, um, I just need a few hundred bucks, though.
David Sheff: Nic, I can’t give you any money.
Nic Sheff: Yeah. Okay. It’s just two hundred bucks. I just need, um, I just need to get some shit together. I want to go to New York.
David Sheff: New York?
Nic Sheff: Yeah. I need to get out of San Francisco. There’s too many, all these fucking bad vibes here all the time. Yeah, I just need a few hundred bucks.
David Sheff: Why don’t we just have lunch and talk? We can do that, right?
[Nic nods his head]
Nic Sheff: Hm. Hm.
Nic Sheff: I’m sorry, Dad. Um, I just need some fucking money, alright? So please just give me some fucking money.
David Sheff: And then what? Where does this end?
Nic Sheff: This is, I got to see this one through. This is kind of working out for me right now. I got five days sober.
David Sheff: It doesn’t look like it’s working out, Nic.
Nic Sheff: Oh, it doesn’t look like it’s working out? So what, then, therapy? Huh?
David Sheff: No. You can come home.
Nic Sheff: No. That wouldn’t…
David Sheff: We’ll make it work. Please. Nic. Please. I’ve been doing some research.
Nic Sheff: Been doing fucking research? You got to be kidding me, Dad.
David Sheff: No. You think that you have this under control.
Nic Sheff: Mm-hmm.
David Sheff: And I understand how scared you are.
Nic Sheff: I understand why I do things, it doesn’t make me any different, alright? I’m attracted to craziness, and you’re just embarrassed because I was like, you know, I was like this amazing thing, like your special creation or something, and you don’t like who I am now.
David Sheff: Yeah? Who are you, Nic?
Nic Sheff: This is me, Dad. Here, this is who I am. You don’t like what you see?
Nic Sheff: You know, the more I think about it, Mom should’ve gotten custody. Because you always got to be fucking controlling everything all the time.
David Sheff: You’re allowed to be mad at me, Nic. I made mistakes. I understand that. I wish that I hadn’t, but I did. But, God, what you’re saying right now doesn’t make any sense.
Nic Sheff: You’re doing this right now! You’re fucking controlling me right now!
David Sheff: It’s not you. It is not you, Nic. It is the drugs talking.
Nic Sheff: What does that even fucking mean, huh?
David Sheff: Psychological terror! It’s what addicts do!
Nic Sheff: What the fuck are you doing right now, huh? What is this? What are you doing, huh?
Nic Sheff: Oh, man. I didn’t want it to go like this. Alright. I should go, Dad.
David Sheff: Let me, let me book you a room.
Nic Sheff: No, Dad.
David Sheff: At a hotel for a couple of nights.
Nic Sheff: No. Dad.
David Sheff: Why don’t we just go get some food?
Nic Sheff: Dad, I should go.
David Sheff: Can you say good-bye, at least?
Nic Sheff: Bye, Dad.
David Sheff: Do you know how much I love you?
[young Nic shakes his head]
David Sheff: If you could take all the words in the language, it still wouldn’t describe how much I love you. And if you could gather all those words together, it still wouldn’t describe what I feel for you. What I feel for you is everything. I love you more than everything.
Young Nic Sheff: Everything?
David Sheff: Yeah, everything.
[young Nic embraces David]
[speaking at an AA meeting]
Nic Sheff: I know now I need to find a way to fill this big black hole in me. Anyway, so I’m fourteen months clean. I have a job at a rehab. It’s fulfilling to help other people get sober. I have a sponsor, Spencer. He shows me how great my life can be sober. And, um, I still have family. My mom’s been amazing. My dad’s been amazing, too. I want them to be proud of me.
[on the phone]
Spencer: Welcome to the real world.
Nic Sheff: Oh, I don’t want to live in the real world. I’m so sick of living in it.
Spencer: That’s your disease talking to you, man.
Nic Sheff: Oh, I’m trying.
Spencer: By trying to isolate you. Trying to kill you. You know this, man.
Nic Sheff: I don’t feel like I have a disease, Spencer. I feel like…
Spencer: Well, you got to.
Nic Sheff: This isn’t like fucking cancer. This is my fucking choice. I put myself here.
Spencer: Yeah, you did. You did put yourself there.
David Sheff: My son is out there somewhere, and I don’t know what he’s doing! I don’t know how to help him!
Karen Barbour: You can’t!
[on the phone]
David Sheff: Nicolas called. He sounds desperate. He’s going to die if we don’t do anything.
Vicki Sheff: Well, he’s going to die even if we do. Nothing we do has any effect on him. I failed. I know you feel ashamed, okay? So do I. But you’ve done great, David. And Karen too, so thank you for that. You were up for it when I wasn’t, and I’m not giving up now. Never. But I can’t do it alone. I need your help.
David Sheff: I don’t think you can save people, Vicki.
Vicki Sheff: You can be there for them, can’t you?
David Sheff: I’m done.
[David and Karen are at a group support meeting]
Rose: I had a rough week. Some of you know, some of you don’t. I, um, I lost my Frances this week. She died of an overdose on Sunday. So I guess I’m in mourning, but I realized something else. I’ve actually been in mourning for years. Because even when she was alive, she wasn’t there. When you mourn the living, that’s a hard way to live. And so, in a way, it’s better, I guess. She was a dear, dear young woman. I always felt I needed to stay strong, that there’d be some future event, and I’d need all of my strength for it. But there are no events after this one. I hope she’s not in pain now. Bye, Frances.
David Sheff: How’s he doing?
Vicki Sheff: The doctor’s with him now. He said it’s close to a miracle Nic survived with all the drugs in his body.
[lines during credits]
Nic Sheff: [voice over] Either peace or happiness, let it enfold you. When I was a young man, I felt that these things were dumb, unsophisticated. I had bad blood, a twisted mind, a precarious upbringing. I was hard as granite. I leered at the sun. I trusted no man and especially no woman. I was living a hell in small rooms. I broke things, smashed things, walked through glass, cursed. I challenged everything, was continually being evicted, jailed, in and out of fights, in and out of my mind.
Nic Sheff: [voice over] Peace and happiness were to me signs of inferiority, tenants of the weak and addled mind. But as I went on with my alley fights, my suicidal years, my passage through any number of women, it gradually began to occur to me that I wasn’t different from the others, I was the same. They were all fulsome with hatred, glossed over with petty grievances. The men I fought in alleys had hearts of stone. Everybody was nudging, inching, cheating for some insignificant advantage. The lie was the weapon, and the plot was empty. Darkness was the dictator.
Nic Sheff: [voice over] Cautiously, I allowed myself to feel good at times. I found moments of peace in cheap rooms just staring at the knobs of some dresser, or listening to the rain in the dark. The less I needed, the better I felt. Maybe the other life had worn me down. I no longer found glamour in topping somebody in conversation, or in mounting the body of some poor, drunken female whose life had slipped away into sorrow. I could never accept life as it was. I could never gobble down all its poisons. But there were parts, tenuous magic parts, open for the asking.
Nic Sheff: [voice over] I began to feel good. I began to feel good in the worst situations, and there were plenty of those.
Nic Sheff: [voice over] I walk out into the blazing sunshine. The whole day is mine, temporarily anyhow. The whole world is at the throat of the world. Everybody feels angry, short-changed, cheated. Everybody is despondent, disillusioned. I welcomed shots of peace, tattered shards of happiness. I embraced that stuff like the hottest number, like high heels, breasts, singing, the works. Don’t get me wrong, there is such a thing as cockeyed optimism that overlooks all basic problems just for the sake of itself. This is a shield and a sickness. The knife got near my throat again. I almost turned on the gas again. But when the good moments arrived again, I didn’t fight them off like an alley adversary. I let them take me. I luxuriated in them. I bade them welcome home. I even looked into the mirror once having thought myself to be ugly. I now liked what I saw. Almost handsome. Yes, a bit ripped and ragged. Scars, lumps, odd turns. But all in all, not too bad. Almost handsome. Better at least than some of those movie star faces like the cheeks of a baby’s butt. And finally I discovered real feelings for others, unheralded.
Total Quotes: 22
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