A marriage adrift; two islands floating on a river of miscommunication, passion suffocated by the repetition of the mundane; a child away for the first time; his cohesiveness, the acrylic holding the unit together missing, only adding to the nothingness, meaningless moments of a hardly endured existence of never looking or seeing the partner, the co-creator of the “beautiful boy.”
This intimate portrait of a family torn asunder, dealing with a nightmare of horrific proportions is magnificently directed buy Shawn Ku. Not being a fan of the hand- help camera technique, in this instance it works wonderfully; the audience is in the rooms and minds of the parents and is unprotected from the grief, agony of the incomprehensible; it is impossible to turn away, any parent can understand questioning how and why, and could they have stopped or seen the devastation festering, heinous havoc a beloved child could visit upon the world.
Maria Bello and Michael Sheen as Kate and Bill (parents of Sam) give performances of raw power and veracity. Their stages of pain, loss, denial, accusations, intellectual acceptances; trying to cope with the unimaginable, unanswered questions, lacerated emotions leave a depleted, hollow ache in the viewer, realizing there is no formula, prescription for healing.
It was brave and timely to tackle an issue largely shunned; good people, normal individuals, parents, unsuspecting, unobservant, lacking mendacious instincts, or tools; sabotaged, plummeted by incredulous, evil actions perpetrated by someone loved unequivocally. Living beyond the intolerable, unbearable, unthinkable. “Beautiful Boy” succeeds in divining a fissure of hope, a respite from the torture; if not clairvoyance, recognition that some riddles are destined never to be solved.