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Ben is Back

"Hedges is as excellent as he was in 'Manchester By the Sea,' but it's fair to say the movie belongs to Roberts. It's a career peak, and a performance that deserves to be seen no matter how crowded your holiday moviegoing schedule." - Associated Press

"Suburban mother Holly Burns (Julia Roberts) cautiously welcomes her 19-year-son Ben (Lucas Hedges) home for the holidays. Why the hesitation? The young man has gone AWOL from rehab. Mom may be mollified by her son’s vow to return to treatment the day after Christmas. But will he keep his promise? And even with 77 days of treatment behind him, can he stay clean until then?

"That’s the premise that fires up Ben Is Back, a drama from writer-director Peter Hedges about a mother and son dancing around the issue of trust over 24 hours of fraught tension. There’s both joy and a threat in its title: Addicts are notorious liars, and Ben has proved himself a master of the game.

"Everything seems initially sunny, if a little fraught — until some encounters in his old neighborhood on Christmas Eve begin to paint a chilling picture of the boy’s past and a hint of things to come.

"Through it all, Roberts runs a gamut of emotions that remind us of what a powerful actress she is. Her vital and touching teamwork with Hedges, who keeps getting more impressive with each role, is what makes the film special. Thanks to them — and Hedges Sr., a director with an uncanny knack for finding the emotional core of a scene — Ben Is Back is unflinching and unforgettable." -- Rolling Stone

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