6.7/10
9,431
76 user 140 critic

Ben Is Back (2018)

Trailer
2:26 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Prime Video

A drug addicted teenage boy shows up unexpectedly at his family's home on Christmas Eve.

Director:

Peter Hedges

Writer:

Peter Hedges
Reviews
Popularity
1,045 ( 194)
1 win & 9 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Boy Erased (2018)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The son of a Baptist preacher is forced to participate in a church-supported gay conversion program after being forcibly outed to his parents.

Director: Joel Edgerton
Stars: Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Joel Edgerton
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The true story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, her struggles for equal rights, and the early cases of a historic career that lead to her nomination and confirmation as U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice.

Director: Mimi Leder
Stars: Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer, Justin Theroux
Biography | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

When Lee Israel falls out of step with current tastes, she turns her art form to deception.

Director: Marielle Heller
Stars: Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant, Dolly Wells
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A young woman embraces her pregnancy while she and her family set out to prove her childhood friend and lover innocent of a crime he didn't commit.

Director: Barry Jenkins
Stars: KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Regina King
The Mule (2018)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A 90-year-old horticulturist and Korean War veteran turns drug mule for a Mexican cartel.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Patrick L. Reyes, Cesar De León
Destroyer (2018)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A police detective reconnects with people from an undercover assignment in her distant past in order to make peace.

Director: Karyn Kusama
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Toby Kebbell, Tatiana Maslany
Stan & Ollie (2018)
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Laurel and Hardy, the world's most famous comedy duo, attempt to reignite their film careers as they embark on what becomes their swan song - a grueling theatre tour of post-war Britain.

Director: Jon S. Baird
Stars: Steve Coogan, John C. Reilly, Shirley Henderson
Beautiful Boy I (2018)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Based on the best-selling pair of memoirs from father and son David and Nic Sheff, Beautiful Boy chronicles the heartbreaking and inspiring experience of survival, relapse, and recovery in a family coping with addiction over many years.

Director: Felix van Groeningen
Stars: Steve Carell, Maura Tierney, Jack Dylan Grazer
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Mary Stuart's attempt to overthrow her cousin Elizabeth I, Queen of England, finds her condemned to years of imprisonment before facing execution.

Director: Josie Rourke
Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Jack Lowden
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A couple find themselves in over their heads when they foster three children.

Director: Sean Anders
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne, Isabela Moner
What They Had (2018)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Bridget returns home at her brother's urging to deal with her ailing mother and her father's reluctance to let go of their life together.

Director: Elizabeth Chomko
Stars: Hilary Swank, Michael Shannon, Robert Forster
Vice I (2018)
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The story of Dick Cheney, an unassuming bureaucratic Washington insider, who quietly wielded immense power as Vice President to George W. Bush, reshaping the country and the globe in ways that we still feel today.

Director: Adam McKay
Stars: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Julia Roberts ... Holly Burns
Lucas Hedges ... Ben Burns
Courtney B. Vance ... Neal Beeby
Kathryn Newton ... Ivy Burns
Rachel Bay Jones ... Beth Conyers
David Zaldivar ... Spencer 'Spider' Webbs
Alexandra Park ... Cara K.
Michael Esper ... Clayton
Tim Guinee ... Phil
Myra Lucretia Taylor Myra Lucretia Taylor ... Sally
Kristin Griffith ... Mrs. Crane
Jack Davidson ... Dr. Crane
Mia Fowler ... Lacey Burns-Beeby
Jakari Fraser ... Liam Burns-Beeby
Cameron Roberts ... James Lamson
Edit

Storyline

Follows the charming yet troubled Ben Burns (Hedges), who returns home to his unsuspecting family one fateful Christmas Eve. Ben's wary mother Holly Burns (Roberts) welcomes her beloved son's return, but soon learns he is still very much in harm's way. During the 24 hours that may change their lives forever, Holly must do everything in her power to avoid the family's downfall.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language throughout and some drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 December 2018 (Spain) See more »

Also Known As:

Ben Is Back See more »

Filming Locations:

New York, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$80,733, 9 December 2018, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,703,184, 21 February 2019
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's premiere was at TIFF in Toronto, Canada in September 2018. See more »

Quotes

Holly Burns: Why don't you take care of *our* kids and I'll deal with mine.
See more »


Soundtracks

Jingle Bells 2
Written by Kevin James Harris
Courtesy of Crucial Music Corporation
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
"Ben Is Back" vs. "Beautiful Boy": and the winner is...
22 December 2018 | by paul-allaerSee all my reviews

"Ben Is Back" (2018 release; 103 min.) brings the story of Ben and his family. As the movie opens, it is Christmas Eve and Holly is watching her kids at their church choir practice. Upon returning home, Holly is stunned to see her son Ben waiting for them. It turns out Ben has been in rehab, but left the rehab place so as to spend Christmas with his family. Holly's teenage daughter (and Ben's sister) Ivy thinks this is a huge mistake. "This time it will be different', Holly tells her. When Holly's husband (and Ben's stepdad) Neal comes home, he insists that Ben must return to his rehab. After arguing, Holly and Neal compromise: Ben can stay for 24 hrs. but Holly will be with him every waking second... At this point we are less than 15 min. into the movie but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is the latest movie from writer-director Peter Hedges ("The Odd Life of Timothy Green"). Here he delves into a topic that is getting much attention these days: a parent dealing with their son's addiction. The entire movie plays out over that 24 hrs. period that Ben shows up out of the blue. The big news is of course that Hedges cast his (Oscar-nominated) son Lucas Hedges as the addict. This is the 3rd movie in a span of 2 months I've seen starring Lucas Hedges: "Mid90s", "Boy Erased" and now this. He truly is one of the up-and-coming talents in Hollywood. But even better is Julia Roberts as his mom Holly. She perfectly conveys the sense of terror and desperation as she tries to keep control of the situation. "We can't save them, but you'll hate yourself if you don't try", comments a woman who lost her daughter to addiction. Which leads me to that other recent movie about the very same topic, albeit brought in a dramatically different way: "Beautiful Boy", starring Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet. When comparing these two films, the shortfalls of "Ben Is Back" become evident very quickly, in particular in the movie's last 45 min. when there are questionable plot holes the size of Manhattan for no apparent reason. In the end, "Ben Is Back" still is worth checking out for the strong performances of Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges. Kathryn Newton (as Ben's sister Ivy) also does quite well. But let's be clear: "Beautiful Boy" is the better movie.

"Ben Is Back" premiered at this year's Toronto International Film Festival to good acclaim. It finally opened this weekend at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati, and I couldn't wait to see it. The Friday early evening screening where I saw this at was attended poorly (6 people, including myself). I honestly can't see this playing in theaters very long. For that the movie is too downbeat, even more so considering that we are in the Christmas-New Year's holidays. Maybe this will find a wider audience once it expands onto other platforms (and away from the year-end holidays). Either way, I encourage you to check it out, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.


11 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 76 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed