Ben is Back


Set on Christmas Eve, Peter Hedges’ tense domestic drama sees recovering young junky Ben (Hedges) return from rehab to his suburban family home, ostensibly with the permission of his sponsor. His mother Holly (Roberts) greets him with open arms, despite the stern protestations of other family members. In its early scenes, Ben is Back is an engrossing affair. It’s hard to fathom Ben’s true intentions, with Hedges bringing both vulnerability and dangerous charm to the role. Meanwhile Roberts oscillates between states of joy and fear in a manner that’s moving to behold. Alas, the film goes off the boil in a bizarre final act, morphing into a hokey thriller that sees mother and son embark on a reckless quest to rescue their kidnapped dog. Still, it’s never boring, which is more than can be said for this month’s other star-studded addiction tale Beautiful Boy.

Ben is Back | Directed by Peter Hedges (US 2018) with Julia Roberts,Lucas Hedges. Starts January 10. 

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