Ben is Back <><>

11/10/18

This is the second St. Louis International Film Festival film I saw. I didn't like this movie. I got a bad taste early on and held onto it throughout the movie. This is a drama made up of an addict story and a wild goose (domesticated dog) chase.

All of the drug/recovery/addiction related story elements feel like tropes. It seems like the writers wanted to capitalize on America’s focus on the opioid epidemic. The story just isn't very believable.

The other half of the movie, the goose chase, has just as many tropes. I understand what the writers were trying to go for, un-dyeing love of a mother, but it lands flat. Beautiful Boy does a much better job with addiction and family dynamics. There will be lines that loved ones won't cross. Beautiful Boy plays with the lines while Ben is Back runs right past them.

The fact that I was taken out of the story so early on means I didn't really connect to the characters. For a drama the acting was great, but for the situation in the movie it felt overdone.

This is the movie that people whose lives haven't been affected by addiction can go into, enjoy, and come out thinking they have a better idea of what it’s like. The only problem is, it is a fictionalized portrayal that combines all of the worst fears of someone whose loved one is struggling with a substance abuse problem. Toss in the fact it is on Christmas Eve, and you can really see how much the writers wanted to elicit an emotional response from their target demographic. This was a movie made to make money off of upper middle class suburban parents. You could further add that it is targeted at liberals. They attack doctors, the health insurance system, and pharmacies.

Lastly, in a 5 person household, excluding Ben, how odes the family own a Subaru wagon and an Audi A3? It must be tight when all five people have to go somewhere together. Subaru could probably use some of the footage of sporty driving in a dusting of snow through a NYC suburb.

I don't think this needs to be seen in theaters. It is a drama, but the locations they filmed in don't need to be supersized.

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©2019 by Sean Whitehurst