Box art for Beautiful Boy

Beautiful Boy


Bill (Michael Sheen) and Kate's (Maria Bello) already strained marriage is tested when their college-age son commits a shocking act of violence that reverberates across the country.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 16
1 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
2 out of 5
Positive role models
2 out of 5
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Agonizing, moving drama about a family torn by tragedy.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this intense, deeply moving drama deals with a horrific tragedy: the aftermath of a shooting spree at a college campus. A character is shown wielding a gun, and there are plenty of references to the actual shooting, though there's little actual gore. Still, plenty of psychological wounds are on display, and the subject matter can be quite upsetting/disturbing, especially for younger viewers. There's some swearing (including "f--k") and scenes showing a couple making love (a woman's breast is briefly glimpsed) and getting drunk to forget their pain.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about how the movie portrays family relationships. Are the characters and their interactions believable? How does the film's central violent act affect them?
  • Parents, talk to your kids about violence in schools: How can they stay safe? Can incidents like the one in the movie be prevented?
  • How do you feel about the way the movie handled the tragic shooting at the center of the plot? Was it depicted sensitively in light of similar real-life events? How does the media typically address this kind of violence?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 0
    see all Beautiful Boy reviews
  • Audience


Audience Reviews

4 stars

Really depressing. Michael Sheen turns in another great performance.

- burgerstar, Monday, October 31, 2011

3 stars

Hard to watch, well written and acted, Beautiful Boy is an uncomfortable, but yet compelling drama. A film that explores the aftermath of such a tragedy from the "other" side was well overdue, and Beautiful Boy does a generally good job of capturing the shock, shame, and confusion such family members suffer. At the same time, the circumstances of the shooting, and particularly the boy itself, do feel a little to cliche and too "ripped from the headlines". There's very little nuance to the kid, and the parents relationship starts off too ambiguous. This weakness is outweighed, however, but the direction which doesn't opt for easy answers for forced drama, but lets it build organically and authentically. 3.5/5 Stars

- fb704730572, Monday, July 2, 2012

3 stars

"Beautiful Boy" is a fairly good melodrama about a married couple struggling to comprehend why their son commits a Columbine-style massacre at his college. The subject matter is great, and Michael Sheen and Maria Bello really put their all into their performances. But there's something missing. It doesn't go beyond what you'd expect from a melodrama on a basic-cable channel. The script is just too thin. The direction from Shawn Ku (his first feature film) is sensitive but a bit pedestrian.

- dunmyer, Sunday, November 13, 2011