Nic Sheff Discusses "Beautiful Boy" Movie

By Maggie Ethridge 11/30/18

"The movie felt so real and they got so many details of our life right that it felt like reliving the most painful parts of our lives.” 

Nic Sheff talks about Beautiful Boy movie  on Good Morning America
Photo via YouTube

The memoirs Beautiful Boy by David Sheff and Tweak by Nic Sheff have been made into a tender, heart-wrenching movie—Beautiful Boy.

Nic Sheff recently gave an interview to Parade magazine on the incredible emotions and experiences of watching his life play out on the screen, with Timothée Chalamet portraying Nic as a teenager struggling with addiction, and Steve Carell portraying Nic’s dad David Sheff.

Nic watched the movie for the first time as a 36-year-old family man who's been clean for eight years. The shock of being pulled back into his painful past was clear, as Nic told Parade, “I saw it the first time with a close friend in a private screening. I definitely cried all through the movie. It was so emotional. The movie felt so real and they got so many details of our life right that it felt like reliving the most painful parts of our lives.”

Nic felt grateful to be able to leave the theater and return to his life as a husband and writer. “Watching the movie was such a reminder of everything we went through as a family and just how lucky I am to be alive and to have my family back,” he said.

Although Nic’s parents spent a lot of time and money to help him achieve sobriety, Nic credits his survival, in large part, to sheer luck. “There’s no reason I survived when so many of my friends have died from this disease,” he said to People. “There’s nothing I did that they didn’t do, or my family did that their families didn’t do. I just got super, super lucky.”

Still, Nic gained sobriety through his own hard work and surrender to the reality that his life was out of his control. “For me getting and staying sober has really depended on my willingness to do what the experts tell me to do. Once I became willing to follow the directions of doctors and people in the recovery program, I began seeing the results in my life.”

For people in the grips of addiction, this can often be the hardest part: admitting powerlessness and accepting help.

The movie’s careful reimagining of Nic and David’s memoirs were successful in conveying the suffering that addiction causes families as well as the unconditional love that saw them through.

“Love never gives up,” the movie reiterates.

Nic’s life is now one he never could have imagined, he told Parade.

“The main thing for me is when I was growing up and when I was struggling with sobriety I just never thought that it would be possible to be happy on a daily basis and to wake up and not just be like totally consumed with anxiety, depression, fear and hopelessness. I just didn’t think that I would ever be able to live a contented life and to be able to say that 95% of the time I feel really happy.”

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Maggie May Ethridge is the author of Atmospheric Disturbances: Scenes From a Marriage (Shebooks, 2014) and the recently completed novel, Agitate My Heart. She is a freelance writer published in Rolling Stone, VOX, Washington Post, The Guardian and many others. Find her at her blog Flux Capacitor or on LinkedIn or Twitter.