Ben Is Back (15)



Drama (2018)
103mins US

Starring: Julia Roberts, Lucas Hedges, Courtney B Vance, Kathryn Newton
Director: Peter Hedges
Writer(s): Peter Hedges
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Holly Burns-Beeby returns from Christmas shopping with her level-headed daughter Ivy and six-year-old son Liam to find her oldest child Ben standing awkwardly in the driveway. He has come home for Christmas, apparently with the blessing of his sponsor from the sober living house where he has been receiving treatment and support for drug addiction. While Holly is delighted by the unexpected family reunion, Ivy fears Ben will fall from grace and she telephones her stepfather Neal to come home.

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LondonNet Film Review
Ben Is Back (15)

The return of a recovering drug addict to the fold throws festive preparations into disarray in Academy Award-nominated writer-director Peter Hedges' sensitively observed drama. Anchored by powerhouse performances from Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges, Ben Is Back explores the devastation wrought by addiction on various members of a fractured New York family, who are divided about whether to support a wayward teenager after a litany of painful relapses and mistakes...

Ben Is Back. Copyright: BBP West BIB, LLC. Caption: Julia Roberts as Holly Burns-Beeby and Lucas Hedges as Ben Burns-Beeby in Ben Is Back, directed by Peter Hedges. Photo: Mark Schafer. All Rights Reserved.The film's emotional heartbeat is the seemingly unbreakable bond between a fiercely protective mother and her 19-year-old son, who repeatedly pushes away his biggest supporter for fear of letting her down. Again. "If you really knew me, you'd be done with me," Lucas Hedges' conflicted child tells Roberts' lioness during a night-time journey of self-discovery, which occasionally strains credibility as Peter Hedges' picture glides towards its tearful final reckoning. A nicely calibrated script doesn't short-change the two leads including a stand-out sequence at an addiction support group meeting, where Ben publicly apologises for the pain he has inflicted on his loved ones while his mother sits silently behind him, tears welling in her eyes. Ben Is Back traverses similar rocky territory to Beautiful Boy, albeit without graphic scenes of drug-taking.

Holly Burns-Beeby (Roberts) returns from Christmas shopping with her level-headed daughter Ivy (Kathryn Newton) and six-year-old son Liam (Jakari Fraser) to find her oldest child Ben (Hedges) standing awkwardly in the driveway. He has come home for Christmas, apparently with the blessing of his sponsor from the sober living house where he has been receiving treatment and support for addiction. While Holly is delighted by the unexpected family reunion, Ivy fears Ben will fall from grace and she telephones her stepfather Neal (Courtney B Vance), who races home to remonstrate with his wife. She agrees to personally take charge of her boy for Christmas. "You do not leave my sight because, for the next 24 hours, you are mine," Holly warns Ben. Tensions inside the tinsel-laden Burns-Beeby home detonate when the family returns from Midnight Mass to find someone has broken into the house and taken the family's dog. Neal lays the blame squarely on Ben's shoulders and the young man heads into the night flanked by Holly to make amends.

Ben Is Back is an actors' showcase and Roberts and Lucas Hedges excel in fraught exchanges. The mystery of the dognapping provides a loose framework for writer-director Peter Hedges to explore dynamics between family members and test their resolve to breaking point. He has a sharp ear for snappy dialogue and gives the impressive ensemble cast the time and space they need to convincingly plumb the depths of their characters' inner turmoil.

- Jo Planter

Ben Is Back. Copyright: BBP West BIB, LLC. Caption: Julia Roberts as Holly Burns-Beeby and Lucas Hedges as Ben Burns-Beeby in Ben Is Back, directed by Peter Hedges. Photo: Mark Schafer. All Rights Reserved.


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Rest of UK and Irish Cinemas

Listed in alphabetical order by city/place name followed by cinema name.

From Friday 15th March
To Thursday 21st March

- Aberdeen, Cineworld Aberdeen - Queens Link
- Altrincham, Everyman Altrincham
- Ashford, Ashford Picturehouse
- Basildon, Cineworld Basildon
- Belfast, Dundonald Omniplex
- Belfast, Movie House Dublin Road
- Birmingham, Cineworld Birmingham
- Birmingham, Everyman Birmingham
- Bournemouth, Odeon Bournemouth BH2
- Bradford, Picturehouse Bradford At The National Media Museum
- Brighton, Komedia
- Brighton, Odeon Brighton
- Bristol, Everyman Bristol
- Bristol, Showcase Bristol Cinema De Lux
- Bristol, Vue Bristol Cribbs Causeway
- Cardiff, Cineworld Cardiff
- Chelmsford, Everyman Chelmsford
- Coleraine, Movie House Coleraine
- Cork, Cork Omniplex
- Cork, The Gate Cork
- Crawley, Cineworld Crawley
- Dublin, Cineworld Dublin
- Dublin, Dublin Rathmines Omniplex
- Dublin, Movies @ Dundrum
- Dublin, Movies @ Swords
- Dublin, Odeon Coolock
- Dublin, Savoy
- Dublin, Vue Dublin
- Dun Laoghaire, IMC Dun Laoghaire
- Edinburgh, Cameo Picturehouse
- Edinburgh, Odeon Edinburgh Lothian Road
- Edinburgh, Vue Edinburgh Omni Centre
- Ellesmere Port, Vue Cheshire Oaks
- Epsom, Odeon Epsom
- Gerrards Cross, Everyman Gerrards Cross
- Glasgow, Cineworld Glasgow - Renfrew Street
- Glasgow, Everyman Glasgow
- Gloucester, Cineworld Gloucester Quays
- Greenhithe, Showcase Bluewater
- Guildford, Odeon Guildford
- Harrogate, Everyman Harrogate
- Hemel Hempstead, Cineworld Hemel Hempstead
- Ipswich, Cineworld Ipswich
- Leeds, Everyman Leeds
- Leeds, Vue Leeds The Light
- Liverpool, Everyman Liverpool
- Liverpool, Picturehouse At FACT
- Manchester, Odeon Manchester Great Northern
- Manchester, Odeon Trafford Centre
- Manchester, Vue Manchester Printworks
- Milton Keynes, Cineworld Milton Keynes
- Newcastle upon Tyne, Cineworld Newcastle Upon Tyne
- Norwich, Odeon Norwich
- Nottingham, Cineworld Nottingham
- Oxford, Odeon Oxford Magdalen Street
- Oxted, Everyman Oxted
- Plymouth, Vue Plymouth
- Portsmouth, Vue Portsmouth
- Reading, Showcase Reading Cinema De Lux
- Reading, Vue Reading
- Renfrew, Odeon Braehead
- Sheffield, Cineworld Sheffield
- Southampton, Harbour Lights Picturehouse
- Southampton, Odeon Southampton
- Stevenage, Cineworld Stevenage
- Stratford-upon-Avon, Everyman Stratford-Upon-Avon
- Stratford-upon-Avon, Stratford Picturehouse
- Tunbridge Wells, Odeon Tunbridge Wells
- Winchester, Everyman Winchester
- York, Everyman York
From Friday 22nd March
To Thursday 28th March

- Aberdeen, Cineworld Aberdeen - Queens Link
- Altrincham, Everyman Altrincham
- Basildon, Cineworld Basildon
- Belfast, Dundonald Omniplex
- Belfast, Movie House Dublin Road
- Beverley, Parkway Cinema
- Birmingham, Cineworld Birmingham
- Bournemouth, Odeon Bournemouth BH2
- Brighton, Odeon Brighton
- Bristol, Vue Bristol Cribbs Causeway
- Cardiff, Cineworld Cardiff
- Cleethorpes, Parkway Cinema
- Coleraine, Movie House Coleraine
- Cork, Cork Omniplex
- Crawley, Cineworld Crawley
- Cromer, Regal Movieplex
- Dublin, Cineworld Dublin
- Dublin, Dublin Rathmines Omniplex
- Dublin, Movies @ Dundrum
- Dublin, Movies @ Swords
- Dublin, Odeon Coolock
- Dublin, Savoy
- Dublin, Vue Dublin
- Dun Laoghaire, IMC Dun Laoghaire
- Edinburgh, Odeon Edinburgh Lothian Road
- Edinburgh, Vue Edinburgh Omni Centre
- Ellesmere Port, Vue Cheshire Oaks
- Epsom, Odeon Epsom
- Falmouth, Phoenix Cinema
- Glasgow, Cineworld Glasgow - Renfrew Street
- Glasgow, Everyman Glasgow
- Gloucester, Cineworld Gloucester Quays
- Guildford, Odeon Guildford
- Harrogate, Everyman Harrogate
- Hemel Hempstead, Cineworld Hemel Hempstead
- Ipswich, Cineworld Ipswich
- Leeds, Vue Leeds The Light
- Manchester, Odeon Manchester Great Northern
- Manchester, Odeon Trafford Centre
- Manchester, Vue Manchester Printworks
- Milton Keynes, Cineworld Milton Keynes
- Newcastle upon Tyne, Cineworld Newcastle Upon Tyne
- Norwich, Odeon Norwich
- Oxted, Everyman Oxted
- Penzance, Savoy
- Portsmouth, Vue Portsmouth
- Reading, Vue Reading
- Renfrew, Odeon Braehead
- Sheffield, Cineworld Sheffield
- Stevenage, Cineworld Stevenage
- Torquay, Central Cinema
- Tunbridge Wells, Odeon Tunbridge Wells


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