On Christmas Eve drug addict Ben turns up at his family home and only his mother Holly is happy to see him. We slowly find out that he has caused so many problems over the years and its difficult to tell if he is on the road to recovery.
This really is a truly emotional journey of a film as we get to know Ben and see how much his mother still adores him. No matter what he has done to her and the rest of the family in the past her love and bound to her son is still as deep as ever. He is an addict but he is 77 days clean. Does Holly actually believe that though? She really wants to, her husband Neal is more dubious along with Ivy. Lacey and Liam are two young to fully understand and are happy that their older brother is back home. He instantly falls back into being big brother and playing games with his younger siblings. While Holly frantically hides all of the drugs they have in the house. She will never be sure if he can go without anything. I guess that is the scariest thing really never actually knowing or being able to believe someone you love unconditionally.
I guess it doesn’t really get much harder hitting than a story about drug addiction especially when it involves a still teenager. I think the only problem for this film is that it comes not too long after Beautiful Boy. Both of which are similar stories in terms of the addict. Lucas Hedges has really impressed me in recent years and he does the same in this film, doing a fantastic job as Ben. He really does seem to get better with each and every role he takes on which is truly a joy to watch unfold.
Nothing joyful about this film though as it will really test your patient towards an addict. What will you believe from them? Everything or nothing. Some scenes are truly heartbreaking as these are things families have to deal with on a daily basis. The graveyard scene really was something else, showing just how traumatic it is for a mother to watch a child harm themselves in such a horrific way as they don’t see the damage.
Julia Roberts really was outstanding and I just love how she seems to be getting even better roles as she is getting older. I hope this is just the start for some amazing characters to continue showing off just how talented she is as an actress. She is so much more than the 90s rom-com queen that everyone thinks about. I love the direction her career is still going in! Working very well with Hedges in each and every scene they share. Courtney B. Vance offers good support as well, in the limited screen time he has due to the storyline.
I am not saying it is a great film though, it is very well acted but the story is a little bit weak, I feel it needed more than just one night as everything just happened too quickly. It would have worked better over more days to really build the characters and more room for development. I wasn’t really sure what to make of the ending either!