Beautiful Boy is a film based on the memoirs “Beautiful Boy” by David Sheff and “Tweak” by his son, Nic Sheff, following the harrowing experience of meth addiction and recovery through a father, son and family’s eyes through the years.
This 2018 film is unique in its perspective of not only following a young person through his journey of drug addiction, but in also following the perspective of his parents and family — and particularly his father — through it, as well. Families are in the best position to help a loved one struggling with substance use, though it’s often difficult to see how.
We assembled a discussion guide to accompany the film, in the hopes that it will spark conversation about substance use, how the characters in the movie handle it, and what you might do in your own family. After viewing the film, use the questions and the resources to guide a discussion in your own family.
“People told me to 'let go' of my son, because they claimed he must 'hit bottom'. But I could never let go. Now I know that we don’t want any person who’s ill with a disease to hit bottom. We want to get them help right away."
Both David and Nic have contributed over the years to Partnership resources for parents and families. Learn about their work, and some of their perspective and advice below.
David is a journalist and author of The New York Times best-selling books “Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy” and the memoir “Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction.” He’s also written for The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Playboy, Wired, Fortune, and National Public Radio (NPR)’s All Things Considered. Scott Simon of NPR said that “Beautiful Boy” made Sheff “one of the country’s most prominent voices on addiction — not as a doctor, an addict or an academic expert, but as a father.”
Nic Sheff is the author of two memoirs about his struggles with addiction: The New York Times bestselling “Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines” and “We All Fall Down: Living with Addiction.” Nic lives in Los Angeles, California where he writes for film and television.