'Ben Is Back' Review: Outstanding movie highlights 'renaissance of Julia Roberts'

NEW YORK (WABC) -- "Ben Is Back" is being praised for its performances and its timely story about one family's attempt to cope with addiction.

The movie was shot in and around Rockland County. Julia Roberts plays a mother; Lucas Hedges, her son.

This job of a movie critic is always easier when one LOVES the movie, and I think this one is outstanding. I sat down with both stars recently in Midtown Manhattan.

In the movie, Hedges' character Ben is back: home for the holidays and struggling to recover from the drug addiction that threatens to tear his family apart.

Hedges doesn't face these issues himself in real life but he can relate.

"Some of my closest friends, actually, very much resemble Ben's track," he said.
As a teenager, Hedges was nominated for an Oscar, thanks to his performance in "Manchester by the Sea." His new movie was made by his father, Peter Hedges, and he said he drew from his own experiences.

"I grew up in a family ravaged and nearly destroyed by alcoholism," he said.

His script was so good that it drew the attention of an Oscar winner who is often ranked as one of the best performers of her generation: Julia Roberts is back in a big way.

She never really left, of course, but this role and hers in "Homecoming" on Amazon, are so great,

It seems like the renaissance of Julia Roberts, so, I asked, why right now?

"It just is," Roberts said. "I'm not some incredible, lifetime mathematician that I could orchestrate any of these things in my 30 years in show business. I mean, this was a beautiful piece to get to be a part of, and 'Homecoming' was an incredible experience, and they are just holding hands right now."

Even though her kids are older, working as a mother is not easier, Roberts said.

"You can't just fold them up in your luggage and hit the road," she said.

And then came that famous smile, and I went away just as happy as when I first interviewed her 28 years ago!

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