BEN IS BACK
Directed with a quiet urgency by Peter Hedges, this gripping family drama stars Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges as a mother and son who must grapple with a history of addiction and broken promises on Christmas Eve.
When Holly (Julia Roberts) told her son Ben (Lucas Hedges) that all she wanted for Christmas was to have him out of treatment and back home for the holidays, she never expected to find him knocking on the front door on Christmas Eve. 11 months clean, Ben assures her that he’s doing great in his program and that this time will be different. Listening to her heart before her head, she wants nothing more than to believe him and welcomes Ben back home despite the protests of his teenage sister Ivy (Kathryn Newton) and his step-father, played by the stalwart Courtney B. Vance. Eventually a yuletide détente is reached and, with several rules in place and Holly’s jewelry hidden away, the reunited family cautiously carries on, even as all-too-recent memories of past broken promises and relapses threaten to spoil their seasonal celebrations. Returning from a church pageant later that evening to find their house ransacked, Holly and Ben head out into the crisp, chilly night— him, ruefully determined to make things right and her, steadfast in her hope that this time, finally, she can save him. An intimate, personal take on the effects of the ongoing opioid crisis, Ben Is Back makes one family’s struggle so real and immediate it’s easy to forget these are actors and not your own neighbors. Roberts gives a career-best performance as a mother torn between her unabiding love of her son and the realities of the disease he’s fighting against, while Lucas Hedges demonstrates once again that he’s one of the most gifted actors of his young generation. Together, the two make BEN IS BACK a riveting story of love, forgiveness and redemption.
CAST: Julia Roberts, Lucas Hedges, Courtney B. Vance, Kathryn Newton
Guests anticipated to attend.
OPENING NIGHT PARTY
The Liberty View at the Independence Vistor Center
599 Market Street (enter via Market Street only)
10:00PM – 1:00AM
After the Opening Night screening, join PFS to kick off the 27th Festival at The Liberty View, overlooking Independence Mall. Enjoy lite bites and drinks from our sponsors.
All sales are final. Admission is not guaranteed after scheduled start time.
CLICK HERE to return to the 27th Philadelphia Film Festival schedule.