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Beautiful Boy Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Parents just don't understand. Read full review


Grae Drake Profile

Well done but tough to watch. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Michael Sheen and Maria Bello both have wrenching moments in this quiet, oblique drama. Yet the movie isn't really convincing.

    Read Full Review

  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Michael Rechtshaffen

    Directing from the nonjudgmental script he wrote with Michael Armbruster, Ku's assured, unadorned documentary style allows his leads ample breathing room to inhabit their devastated characters.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    A film like this can end honestly in only one way, and Ku is true to it. Life will go on, one baffling day after another. There can be no release, only a gradual deadening.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Beautiful Boy reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 16+

Agonizing, moving drama about a family torn by tragedy.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this intense, deeply moving drama deals with a horrific tragedy: the aftermath of a shooting spree at a college campus. A character is shown wielding a gun, and there are plenty of references to the actual shooting, though there's little actual gore. Still, plenty of psychological wounds are on display, and the subject matter can be quite upsetting/disturbing, especially for younger viewers. There's some swearing (including "f--k") and scenes showing a couple making love (a woman's breast is briefly glimpsed) and getting drunk to forget their pain.

  • Families can talk about how the movie portrays family relationships. Are the characters and their interactions believable? How does the film's central violent act affect them?
  • Parents, talk to your kids about violence in schools: How can they stay safe? Can incidents like the one in the movie be prevented?
  • How do you feel about the way the movie handled the tragic shooting at the center of the plot? Was it depicted sensitively in light of similar real-life events? How does the media typically address this kind of violence?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: From the wreckage of a terrible tragedy rises one positive message: Time and love can heal and bring forgiveness. 

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: Sam's parents, though broken, still find a way to be compassionate and open to what's to come.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Allusions to and brief news clips about a character who stormed around a college campus and shot innocent bystanders, killing some of them. It's not visually gory, but it's visceral. Some discussion of how he then killed himself (he's shown briefly wielding a gun). Another character has a meltdown at an office and screams at his colleagues. A married couple has a loud, brutally honest argument.

  • sex false3

    Sex: A couple has drunken sex (not much is seen, though some movements under a sheet suggest intercourse). A bare breast is briefly visible.

  • language false3

    Language: Relatively infrequent use of words like "f--k," "hell," and "damn."

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Some products like Yoplait and FunYuns are name-dropped or shown, but there's not a lot of selling happening.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: A grieving couple gets drunk (drinking shots of hard liquor), trying to momentarily forget their deep-seated sadness.