Sunday, December 13, 2015

"Beautiful Boy": how a mass shooting affects the parents of the perpetrator

Beautiful Boy” (2010, directed by Shawn Ku, written with Michael Ambruster) was filmed two years before Aurora and Sandy Hook (and three years after Virginia Tech), but hits pretty hard how a shooting affects the parents of the perpetrator,

In LA, Bill and Kate (Martin Sheen and Maria Bello) are considering separation, while their son Sammy (an attractive Kyle Garner) seems out of touch as a freshman in college spending his first semester away from home.  One morning they hear about a deadly shooting on Sammy’s campus, killing around 14.  They try to reach Sammy and can’t.  In about an hour, police officers show up at their home.  They learn the worst possible news:  Sammy has killed himself and was the perpetrator.

For much of the rest of the film, the couple has to deal with the ire of other parents, who blame them for the deaths.  Their marriage is at first closer again, but then disintegrates as Sammy leaves.  He has to say he wishes has son had never been born. What’s disturbing is that the parents had regarded their son as “perfect”.  There are a few scenes where others attack the parents (as with one deleted scene in a supermarket).

Being a parent brings its risks in the best of circumstances.

The official site (Anchor Bay) on imdb has been overlaid with a site in an Asian language. The film is available on Netflix DVD and Amazon Instant Play ($2.99).

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