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Ben is Back


Stars: Julia Roberts, Lucas Hedges, Courtney B Vance, Kathryn Newton, Rachel Bay Jones, Tim Guinee

Director: Peter Hedges

...and that spells trouble - for his Mom (Roberts), stepfather (Vance), sister (Newton) and two-step-siblings. For Ben (the clean-cut Hedges, son of the director) is a multi-drug addict, dealer and big-time thief, who has been responsible for at least one death.

Against the advice of his sponsor, Ben's back with his family for a 24-hour visit. From the start, and quite apart from hiding all the pills in the house, Mom handles things badly. Her behaviour alone is enough to drive anybody back to heroin.

But that's not all: melodrama runs wild, as a series of events so unlikely (in a 24-hour period especially) as to invite derision results in Ben and Mom driving into the snowy night to rescue their dog, kidnapped by dealers who want Ben to perform one last task (how could they tell in advance that he'd be around?).

Roberts, with what look like new breast implants, emotes vividly, while Hedges takes frozen-faced morosity to new levels.

For connoisseurs of such things, incidentally, this may be the first example of someone vaping on screen.

David Quinlan

USA 2018. UK Distributor: STX International. Colour by Arri.
103 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 14 Mar 2019