Just a little disclaimer: this review is out of my normal jovial tone whenever I write for the blog, as it is a topic that touches on serious topics which also resonate with me. It will get a bit emotional, so don’t tell me I warned you of the feelings!

Ben Is Back tells the story of a son sneaking out of rehab to spend Christmas with his family despite his sponsor’s advice not to. Ben Is Back tells the story of a family half-joyful and half-wary of their prodigal family member’s return. Ben Is Back tells the story of a mother ready to move heaven and earth to rescue her son from the tempting snares of falling back to his old life of addiction and drug-smuggling.

Julia Roberts went out of her niche roles to play noble mother Holly Burns, which is actually the first I’ve seen her do so. The moms in the audience I was with quickly saw themselves in her role, readily relating on how they’d be ready to do anything for their children. I, meanwhile, relate to Ben (played by Lucas Hedges of Lady Bird fame) who is problematic in many levels but just wants to be back to the life he had before bad choices ruined it. Once in their shoes, you will feel how effective Kathryn Newton (Ivy, Ben’s sister) and Courtney B. Vance‘s (the stepdad) characters are in providing contrast to the main characters.

While I have nothing to say in terms of visuals and soundtrack, as they aren’t really remarkable this time around, I have a lot to say on the screenplay. The movie’s story is possibly the story of a lot of families in the country and abroad. It is also a Christmas movie out of the ordinary, as it doesn’t exactly tackle the happiness that comes with the season. It also shows the harsh reality of how a family is affected with the affliction of one and how one’s healing is the whole’s healing as well, albeit in waves and crests.

To sum up, Ben Is Back is a prodigal son story that has a realistic, if not happy, ending. It is definitely a movie you should watch as a family, at least with your mom. And, once the movie is over, give them hugs and tell them you love and appreciate them, okay? Okay.

Too much feelings at this point? Maybe the next review won’t have as much, because I’m turning Netflix back on and will be watching about the jolly man in red. Stay tuned!

And Merry Christmas, geeks!

We’d like to thank Reality Entertainment for this special screening.

Ben Is Back
Plot90%
Music85%
Casting90%
Cinematography90%
Design90%
89%Overall Score
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"I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative." - Swift, 2016.