Julia Roberts delivers one of her finest performances in a film that is critically-acclaimed and is currently tearing up the Netflix charts.
By James Brizuela | Published
Julia Roberts has certainly proved that she can lead films of every genre. That is the case for a critically acclaimed film that is currently in the top 10 on Netflix. That film is called Ben Is Back. The film sees Holly Burns (Roberts) take on the role of a strong mother who must do what she must to keep her son Ben (Lucas Hedges) safe after he gets hooked on prescription drugs. Holly is severely tested as she tries to keep her son sober after his most recent stint in rehab. Though she is happy to see him for the holidays, she believes that Ben might affect the lives of her children in a negative way.
Ben Is Back was released in 2018, and was more of an underground feature for Julia Roberts. The film was only able to achieve making $12 million in the theaters against a $13 million budget. That is atrocious considering Roberts has been in some massive films. However, the film was critically acclaimed. The performances from Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedgers were lauded by everyone. The film currently holds a “certified fresh” critic rating of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes. The audience score is also a respectable 69%. Lucas Hedges was nominated and won an award for Best Performance by an Actor 23 and Under at the Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society Awards.
Ben Is Back follows the lives of Holly Burns (Julia Roberts) and her family. She comes home during the holidays to find her son, Ben, in the driveway. Ben has been in a rehab facility but left to visit his family after his sponsor tells him that it would be a good idea to take a trip home. Holly allows Ben to stay on the condition that he never leaves her sight. While shopping, Holly sees the doctor that got Ben hooked up on prescription drugs. The doctor now has dementia but was giving Ben too many prescription drugs after he had been in a snowboarding accident. Ben ends up having drugs on him, which Holly finds, and takes him to a cemetery to have him pick out his grave. When they return home, the family finds that their house was robbed, and their dog is gone. Through another drug addict, Spencer, they find out who has taken their dog. Ben then leaves to get his dog back. Without getting further into the plot, we will let you all take a chance on the film to finish the story. You can see a scene from Roberts’s wonderful acting below:
Ben Is Back stars Julia Roberts, Lucas Hedges, Courtney B. Vance, Kathryn Newton, Rachel Bay Jones, and David Zaldivar. Peter Hedges wrote and directed the film, and he is the father of Lucas Hedges. Peter Hedges is an Oscar-nominated writer whose career includes such wonderful films as What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Dan in Real Life, Pieces of April, and The Good Dinosaur. The dramatic and beautiful way in which Peter writes his screenplays is felt in all his work. Even in times in which there is humor apparent, like in Dan in Real Life, you can still feel the pure emotionality.
Ben Is Back was lauded by critics for the film taking the pitfalls and tropes of family dramas but subverting them to a refreshing level. That is certainly true for this film and more important by the performances in the film. Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges work so well with one another, and they make you feel like they are truly a family torn apart. Addiction is something that a lot of people face in their lives, so this film tugs at the heartstrings of many people. Although Ben is an addict, he is not a terrible person, and though his mother is tough on him, she loves him deeply. The film is a good reminder that a mother’s love is eternal.
Ben Is Back is currently streaming on Netflix, so anyone who wants to check out one of the best performances by Julia Roberts can go watch this film right now. It may not have made a ton of money at the box office, but it still stands in the upper echelon of the films that Roberts has been in. Lucas Hedges is spectacular in the film as well. Go watch it and see why it remains critically acclaimed.