Felix van Groeningen’s Beautiful Boy tells the harrowing true story of addiction and the destructive nature of drug abuse on not only the individual in question, but more so on those around them. The film is based upon memoirs written by David Sheff (played by Steve Carell), and another by his addict son, Nic (played by Timothée Chalamet). The dynamic between the two of them serves as the main narrative for the story, with subplots and a number of different timelines unfolding throughout.

It is in these timelines that the the harsh reality of the film is depicted. The happier past works to juxtapose the brutal present. One moment you're watching a father laugh at his son reciting rock song lyrics, and the next you're watching him search for his child: OD'd in the back alleys of LA.

Long performance-driven scenes also cement the brutality of drug abuse, as Carrell hopelessly pours his heart out to deaf ears. A few times throughout the two hours, the story will reach a peak, and on the leveled top – an interaction between Carrell and Chalamet will leave the viewer on the edge of their seat, completely enveloped by the story. Scenes like this would not be possible were it not for the outstanding cast.

The balance between the two leads works very well as Chalamet could easily crowd out a less experienced co-star, however (and fortunate for the producers), Steve Carell shines as bright, if not brighter, than his younger colleague. Carrell is famed for his comedy performances (Anchorman, Despicable Me, The Office, but between these has always found more serious roles to occupy himself (Little Miss Sunshine, Foxcatcher). It is likely that after the release of Beautiful Boy he will be known for his darker, character-driven drama’s potentially just as much as his roles in lighter films.

In terms of negatives, there is little to draw on but a stronger female presence may have been needed. Maura Tierney plays the role of supportive step-mother well, but is lost against the larger stars. A scene is shoehorned in where she does leave the back seat – but ultimately it comes to nothing.

Furthermore, Amy Ryan gets a small part as Nic’s mother which could have been better developed but bear in mind that with any true story, condensing 20 years into 2 hours requires some sacrifices.

The gritty details prevent this from falling into a trap of any sort of unrealistic representation. The music is fantastic (Sampha plays as the credits role – listen below), the story is gripping, and the acting may go unbeaten this year. Go and see this as soon as you can.