(Release Info U.K. schedule; March 15th, 2019:
● Everyman 96 - 98 Baker St, Marylebone, London W1U 6T, 10:15 AM
● Red Carpet Cinema, Barton under Needwood, Barton Marina, Staffordshire, DE13 8AS, 13:25 PM
● Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds, 73 Brudenell Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 1JD, 18:10 PM)
"Ben Is Back"
Nineteen-year-old Ben Burns (Lucas Hedges) unexpectedly returns home to his family's suburban home on 'Christmas Eve' morning. Ben’s mother, Holly (Julia Roberts), is relieved and welcoming but wary of her son staying clean. Over a turbulent 24 hours, new truths are revealed, and a mother's undying love for her son is tested as she does everything in her power to keep him safe.
On 'Christmas Eve' morning, 19-year-old Ben Burns unexpectedly returns to surprise his family at their cozy suburban home. His mother Holly is thrilled to be reunited with her son but wary about his ability to stay clean, while Ben’s distrustful sister Ivy (Kathryn Newton) and common-sense stepfather Neal (Courtney B. Vance) fear he will wreak havoc on their lives as he’s done so many times before. After Ben launches a charm offensive that wins over his young half-siblings, Holly agrees to let him stay for the holiday on one condition; for the next 24 hours, she will personally monitor his every move. That evening the family returns from a church Christmas pageant to find that their house has been ransacked. Worse still, their beloved dog is missing. It’s a message that Ben’s past has caught up with him and old debts must be paid. Heading into the frigid night, Ben and his mother embark on a quest to recover the dog from whichever of Ben’s former associates may have taken him. Along the way, as he tries to make things right and she learns unsettling truths about her son’s life, Holly does everything in her power to keep Ben safe. "Ben Is Back" is an intimate look at a mother struggling to protect her son from himself.
What happens in one day if a young man in recovery comes home when it’s probably too early for him to return. What it’s like to get to the point where you do these really harmful things to yourself just so you can get high. Going in and out of rehab, struggling. Have no business taking on a daily basis. What you didn’t realize is that it's just as prevalent, if not more, in suburban and rural parts of America. The film shows the contrast between Ben’s wholesome family life and the gritty subculture in which much of the film’s third act takes place. It's a homeless tent city. But the deeply conflicted look on Holly Burns face when she arrives home to find her oldest son Ben on her doorstep makes it instantly clear that this family faces a profound challenge of it's own, one that cuts across economic and social strata. That’s not to say that Holly does everything right. She makes a lot of questionable choices. But she never makes them with malicious intent. They always come from this aching hope to be a protector and a provider for her children. This mother who will not give up on her child no matter what.
Ivy is not just be the bratty perfect sister. She’s disappointed in Ben but at the same time she loves her brother and cares deeply about him. That said the core of their relationship. Neal is Ben’s level-headed stepfather. He sees what’s going on in this family with the most clarity. He loves his wife and loves his family, so the question becomes; is tough love the best solution? Are we enabling Ben, or protecting him, or saving him? We've to make some very tough calls. "Ben Is Back", opens on a family that seems at first glance. Affluent, attractive and loving, with their talented teenage daughter singing in the choir and their adorable younger children dressed up for a Christmas pageant, the Burnses evoke a modern version of a 'Norman Rockwell' painting.
Hedges compresses his story into a single 24-hour time frame, starting the movie on 'Christmas Eve' morning. The script really speaks to the myriad ways addiction can impact a family. This is a complex story about a flawed family of all shapes and sizes and the unique struggles they face. It's a funny tale of an imperfect family doing their best in an imperfect world. The film explores how one broken, hurting person can impact all the members of his family. It’s a thriller with lots of twists and turns, lots of surprises, lots of gasping. It's a riveting story of love, forgiveness and redemption. Home may be where the heart is, but it’s also the source of pain, confusion and psychological turmoil. One thing is certain; this will be a 'Christmas Day' to remember..Above all, "Ben Is Back" is a really good yarn and very moving.
"Ben Is Back" forces audiences to put themselves in the position of a parent who would do anything to help their child, but doesn’t know how, or if, they can. There are a hundred different narratives for every family. But the one concept to put across in this movie is just to not give up on each other. It's a non-judgmental portrait of characters who are each suffering from a disease that’s often perceived as a moral failing. There's a stigma around people who struggle with addiction. The film creates some sense of understanding around how hard it's to be dealt that hand. Rather than offering simplistic answers, "Ben Is Back" aims for a nuanced look at how well-meaning people often respond imperfectly to situations beyond their control. The kind of movie where when you leave the theater, you feel more alive and more open to other people’s experiences and you’re reminded of the fragility and beauty of life.