The New Movie 'Beautiful Boy' Is Actually Based On TWO Different Books

by Melissa Ragsdale
Amazon Studios

You are probably already hearing the buzz about the movie Beautiful Boy, the heart-wrenching true story of a family coping with their teenage son's addiction and recovery. Beautiful Boy is based on a book — two books, actually. The first, Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction, was written by David Sheff, and the second, Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines, was written by his son, Nic Sheff. The movie hits theaters Oct. 12, but you can learn more about the books upon which it is based below.

Tweak: Growing Up On Methamphetamines chronicles Nic Sheff's experience with drug addiction. (In the movie, he's played by Call Me By Your Name star Timothée Chalamet.) In the memoir, Sheff recounts how he drunk for the first time at the age of 11, and in the years that followed, developed addictions to crystal meth and heroin. It's a wrenching an illuminating examination of what it's actually like to be a young person whose life is disrupted by drug addiction.

The second book in the pair is Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction by David Sheff, who is portrayed by Steve Carell in the film. Beautiful Boy tells a different side of the same story, chronicling David's experience of Nic's recovery journey. This book focuses on what it's like to be the family member of someone affected by addiction and poignantly chronicles the fraught emotional journey that David Sheff underwent. A journalist by profession, David Sheff wrote Beautiful Boy as a means of coping with the difficult situation.

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These two books and their accompanying film could not be more timely. The Sheffs' story is certainly one worthy of paying attention to, as there are many families going through very similar struggles today — often in secret. "Our family's story is unique, of course, but it is universal, too, in the way that every tale of addiction resonates with every other one," writes David Sheff in the introduction to Beautiful Boy.

Whether or not you have direct experience with addiction, Beautiful Boy will certainly open your mind and heart to the complexities of the disease. Once you watch the film, you definitely want to pick up the books that inspired it. Tweak and Beautiful Boy, especially when read together, are sure to give you an even more in-depth understanding of the emotional story of the film Beautiful Boy, as well as a deeper glimpse into the real lives upon which it is based.