6.9/10
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27 user 90 critic

Ben Is Back (2018)

Trailer
2:26 | Trailer
A drug addicted teenage boy shows up unexpectedly at his family's home on Christmas Eve.

Director:

Peter Hedges

Writer:

Peter Hedges
Reviews
Popularity
162 ( 17)
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Julia Roberts ... Holly Burns
Lucas Hedges ... Ben Burns
Courtney B. Vance ... Neal Beeby
Kathryn Newton ... Ivy Burns
Rachel Bay Jones ... Beth Conyers
David Zaldivar ... Spencer 'Spider' Webbs
Alexandra Park ... Cara K
Michael Esper ... Clayton
Tim Guinee ... Phil
Myra Lucretia Taylor Myra Lucretia Taylor ... Sally
Kristin Griffith ... Mrs. Crane
Jack Davidson Jack Davidson ... Dr. Crane
Mia Fowler ... Lacey Burns-Beeby
Jakari Fraser ... Liam Burns-Beeby
Cameron Roberts Cameron Roberts ... James Lamson
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Storyline

Follows the charming yet troubled Ben Burns (Hedges), who returns home to his unsuspecting family one fateful Christmas Eve. Ben's wary mother Holly Burns (Roberts) welcomes her beloved son's return, but soon learns he is still very much in harm's way. During the 24 hours that may change their lives forever, Holly must do everything in her power to avoid the family's downfall.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language throughout and some drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 December 2018 (Spain) See more »

Also Known As:

Ben Is Back See more »

Filming Locations:

New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$80,733, 9 December 2018, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,374,293, 17 January 2019
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lucas Hedges is one of two actors in 2018 playing drug addicted children. The other is Timothée Chalamet in Beautiful Boy (2018). Hedges and Chalamet appeared together in Lady Bird (2017) the previous year. See more »

Quotes

Neal Beeby: If you were black, you would be in jail right now.
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User Reviews

 
Written and Directed by His Dad
25 December 2018 | by dogmaticdogsSee all my reviews

Lucas Hedges had a wonderful start of a career. Attractive, and born to rich Hollywood connected parents, he was given opportunities to star in some really great films that most actors could only dream of, and he did well in them. Lately, however, he seems in over his head. His acting in Ben is Back and Boy Erased was just not believable. I am concerned he is turning into the next Jaden Smith with his parents giving him more than he is ready for, and him thinking he deserves it all and more.

The writing and direction by Lucas' dad was pretty weak.

Julia Roberts married to a domineering black man, and driving her son around to drug dens? Get serious people.

Lucas willing to kill himself to rectify a situation in which a drug dealer who is owed a debt has his crew break into Lucas' family home, kidnap the family pet, and hold it hostage as leverage, while being careful not to do too much damage or steal anything, and never once expressly threatening any real harm to the animal? Yes, you read that right. Not to mention that the drug dealer forgot to tell Lucas that he is holding the pet hostage, causing Lucas to spend all night looking for his lost lil buddy. Huh?

Crime bosses that look like they could get beaten up by the residents of your local nursing home, obsessed for months, if not years, about getting revenge for unpaid balances of less than $1,000? How slow can business be?

A serial addict over-dosing on one hit?

Women walking up to Lucas and saying "you're hot!"? Knowing that this was written by his dad, that is one proud papa, not to mention slightly creepy.

Gay sex for drugs with your high-school teacher? If you want to go for shocking, you have to at least try to be original.

It goes on and on.

I was hoping for a great independent film about addiction, but this is not it. If you want to see that, watch Requiem for a Dream. It is everything this movie is not. Another option, but not as epic as Requiem, would be Beautiful Boy. I like Lucas, but Lucas Hedges v. Timothée Chalamet is no contest. It is an interesting comparison in that Lucas and his dad are trying desperately to get Lucas on the same career trajectory as Timothee (i.e., Timothee does Call me By Your Name and Lucas follows with Boy Erased, Timothee does Beautiful Boy and Lucas follows with Ben is Back). However, whereas Timothee always shocks with a mind-blowingly convincing performance, Lucas is just pretty good.

All that said, I enjoyed the movie. Mainly because I find it fascinating to see what happens when you write a movie because you are 100% obsessed with your son achieving super-stardom by any means necessary. Talk about a case of stage parenting gone wild. Just wait for it to be released on cable and realize it is grade B at best.


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