Verdict: Two fine performances makes this film shine!
Julia Roberts is the mother of all mothers. In Hollywood, the actress has proved just that in recent years through her character choices. Writer and director Peter Hedges’ film Ben is Back has hit theatres in India this festive season. The film stars the Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges in major roles. While many know that whatever film Julia Roberts touches turns into a hit, a special mention needs to be made of actor Lucas Hedges who has had an incredible run in the film industry recently. His films Boy Erased, Lady Bird, and Manchester by the Sea are considered some of the best films in the past years. The combination of Lucas, the emerging star and Julia, the superstar is what got us all hyped up about the film. Did the film live up to the expectation? Let’s find out.
What’s Ben is Back About:
Ben is Back follows the life of the Burns family. On one Christmas eve, their eldest son Ben Burns (Lucas Hedges) surprises his family by returning back home from rehab. Though startled, Holly Burns (Julia Roberts) welcomes her son home with an open-heart. But her daughter Ivy (Kathryn Newton) and her second husband Neal (Courtney B. Vance) are not so open about the return of Ben. Although Neal is initially reluctant to have him spend the night away from the rehab he agrees to have him home just for one day and on one condition. The condition is that Ben is not to leave his mom’s sight till the time he is home. Ben who has been sober for 77 days agrees to the condition but Ben’s troublesome past catches up with him soon. On the same night, their dog Ponce is stolen by someone who has a beef with Ben. Holly and Ben then go out on a hunt for Ponce through the empty and dark streets of their city. Holly soon discovers things about her son’s troubled past as a dealer and as an addict which leaves her shocked.
As a staunch optimistic mother, Roberts delivers yet another powerful performance. This is not the first time she has played the role of a protective parent trying to help her son cope with issues. In the film Wonder as a mother of a boy with a deformed face and she delivered a superbly strong performance and she has done the same here. Lucas Hedges as a recovering drug-addict does a splendid job in a role written so perfectly by his father Peter Hedges who also happens to be the director of the film. The mother-son dynamic has been beautifully portrayed in Ben is Back, which is not something we see on the screen very often. The film’s plot deals with drug addiction and how families are affected because of it and the director handles it really well.
What Could’ve Been Better:
Though the story is about an addict and his past, it doesn’t really give us many details about them. A lot of questions remain unanswered and are left up to the audience’s imagination. Director Peter Hedges only touches the tip of the iceberg with Ben is Back.
Why You Should Watch:
Watch this film for two mind-blowing performances. Julia Roberts nails it like she always does and she is matched perfectly by Lucas Hedges who is on a roll with some works lately. Ben is Back, so is Julia Roberts.