ADDICTION is a disease that does not discriminate.

That is what we are reminded of in director Felix van Groeningen’s quietly moving and at times heartbreaking, Beautiful Boy.

The true story, from the producers of Moonlight and 12 Years A Slave, is based on the memoirs of father and son, David and Nic Sheff, following Nic’s recovery from a crystal meth addiction and battles with various other drugs.

Although Nic’s parents separated, he grew up in a loving home and had great prospects for college and career due to his high intelligence and passion for writing.

So what was the reason for his drug problems?

One is not really given – and that is quite apt because the film shows that desperately trying to find a cause often only leads to more pain and deteriorating relationships.

In this sense, Beautiful Boy cleverly shifts the perspective and puts the main focus on Nic’s dad David and the unwavering support he offers his son even when tough love is the only option.

The film’s narrative is a jigsaw of different years in Nic’s life from five to 18 and the moments when Nic is just a child are more poignant than any of the grittier scenes because you understand in a heartbeat what David is later going through.

Breaking free from his comedy typecast, Steve Carell is exceptional as David Sheff. He portrays the father’s sense of helplessness and brooding, misplaced feeling of guilt that it is possibly his fault with great depth and emotion. His chemistry with Timothée Chalamet as Nic on that rocky road is also powerful.

But what is not entirely convincing is Chalamet as a drug addict.

From addiction to recovery to relapse and back again, he always looks fairly healthy and clean and tidy despite his character effectively being a prisoner within himself.

Director Felix van Groeningen also holds back on showing the full depths of Nic’s drug hell, presumably to give the film a wider appeal. The nightmarish Requiem for a Dream this is not.

But as a story about the unbreakable bond between a father and son tested to breaking point, Beautiful Boy is very moving.

RATING: 7/10