Ben is Back

Coming to Cinemas 31 January 2019

Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea) star in this drama about a mother and her drug-addicted son, written by Oscar nominee Peter Hedges (About a Boy).

19 year-old Ben (Hedges), in recovery, returns to his family's suburban home on Christmas Eve. Ben's mum, Holly (Julia Roberts), is relieved and welcoming but wary of her son staying clean. Over a turbulent 24 hours, her undying love for her son is tested as she struggles to keep him safe.


Directed by

  • Peter Hedges('Pieces of April', 'Dan in Real Life', 'The Odd Life of Timothy Green')

Written by




Hollywood Reporter


The film is aware of the weight of its subject but loathe to behave like an "important" film - focusing instead on the specificity of one sick young man and the family that loves and fears him in almost equal measure.

Screen International


Julia Roberts blasts through this family reunion drama-turned-thriller with one of the most forceful performances of her career.

The Guardian


There are good intentions and good performances here, but they're squandered in a movie that isn't quite sure what it should be and how far it should go.

Variety (USA)


Most movies are focused directly on the present moment, following along with a story as it unfolds, but "Ben Is Back" is different, creating the sense that the lives of each of its richly shaded characters continues even when she or he is not on-screen.

Los Angeles Times


"Ben Is Back" may lose its way early and often, but it is rarely in danger of losing hold of your attention.



Ben Is Back makes you dream of a world in which no one needs movies like Ben Is Back.

New York Times


What is so moving and effective about Roberts's work here is her shrewd subversion of her long-established persona.