‘Ben is Back’ is the most important film about addiction in recent history

Nineteen-year-old Ben Burns unexpectedly returns to his family’s suburban home on Christmas Eve. Ben’s mom, Holly, is relieved and welcoming but wary of her son’s drug addiction. Over a turbulent 24 hours, new truths are revealed, and a mother’s undying love gets put to the test as Holly does everything in her power to keep Ben clean.


I had the honor and pleasure of talking to screenwriter Peter Hedges (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?) a few weeks before the release of this movie and I’d have to call the experience cathartic.

First of all, I am a recovering addict. For me to put my stamp of approval on any film dealing with addiction can only mean one thing: they got it right. From codependency within the family right down to the portrayal of the vicious beast that lives inside all addicts who can only be arrested, never eliminated.

Lucas Hedges did an amazing job showing the many terrifying facets that make up the addicted self. And I don’t even have the words to talk about how amazing Julia Roberts is as a mother who is driven to save her son from this insidious disease. What I can say is this: BEST ACTRESS 2019.

The holidays are hard for all families, but especially for ones with addiction issues. Do yourself a favor and see this movie. I feel totally comfortable saying that it’s the most important movie I’ve seen all year.

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