Stars: Timothée Chalamet, Steve Carell, Maura Tierney, Christian Covery, Amy Ryan
Adapted from two memoirs by San Francisco journalist David Sheff, this earnest and slightly dull drama chronicles the toil on a family when the eldest son becomes addicted to drugs. At first sight Sheff (Carell), a successful journalist whose work has featured in The New York Times and Rolling Stone, appears to be leading an idyllic lifestyle, with his luxury house on the North Californian coast, a good-looking, intelligent, teenage son Nic (Chalamet) from his first marriage, and two younger children from his happy second marriage to Karen (Tierney). Fancying himself as an enlightened and hip dad, Sheff is happy to share a spliff with his son. But when Nic goes to college he become addicted to harder drugs and a grim cycle of cleaning up and getting hooked again ensues. The picture, while well-acted, particularly by Chalamet who continues to impress, has a vague TV movie-ish feel and, unwisely keeps the focus broadly on Carell’s blandly concerned father, when Nic is a far more compelling presence. And while the problem doubtless cuts across class barriers, it would be more relatable and involving to see how a similar story would play out with a less well-heeled family who are without seemingly endless time & resources.