Beautiful Boy (2018) Script

So, this is for, uh, New York Times Magazine?

No. I'm sorry, that... there... mm... no, I freelance.

I write for different magazines, but this is a personal matter.

A personal matter?

Yes, I'm sorry. Is that okay?

No, it's absolutely okay.

May I ask what-what this is regarding and...?

Uh, it's about my son.

Okay. How can I help?


There are moments that I look at him, this kid that I raised, who I thought I knew inside and out, and I wonder who he is.

He's been doing all sorts of drugs, but he's addicted to crystal meth, which seems, uh, to be the worst of all of 'em.

And I guess I'm here because I just want to know... all that I can about... all of it.

Know your enemies, right?


My two big questions are, wh-what is it doing to him, and what can I do to help him?

Marin General Hospital. How may I help you?

Hi. My son has gone missing, and I wanted to check to see if he had... uh, maybe had been brought in or-or if-if there'd been an accident.

Can I have name and description, sir?

Nicolas Sheff.


He is...

18 years old.

He is just over six feet tall.

About 130 pounds.

Maybe less. I-I don't know. Um...

He has shoulder-length brown hair and green eyes.

Thank you. Please hold.


Mr. Sheff? Yes.

Uh, there's no one by that name, sir.

Okay. Thank you.

He's been gone for two days.

What do you mean he's gone?

What's going on? I don't know.

I don't know. Two days?

Why didn't you tell me sooner?

Uh, I didn't want to worry you, I guess.

I just... I'm his mother, David.

Didn't you see this coming?

Uh, no.


No, no, I didn't see it coming.

If I'd seen it coming, I would've done something.

It was just a question, David. Jesus.

I haven't been talking with him a lot lately.

Well, maybe that's why you shouldn't be giving me advice in parenting, right?

Fuck, Vicki.

Can we just not blame each other right now? That's...

Who's blaming who here?

If I hardly ever see him, it's because he's supposed to come to I.A. for the holidays but always finds a reason not to come.

Well, that's not my fault, is it?


Here's your little brother.


Just support his head.

Hi, Jasper.

Hi, little boy.

This is amazing.

He's sticking his tongue out.

Hi. Nice to meet you.

Bye. Bye.

I'll miss you this summer. Me, too.

Okay, write me. Write me back.

Work on your French.

Oui, madame.

Have a great summer.

And say hi to your mom.

Everything. Everything.


Come on.


Where have you been? Yeah, I just need to sleep, all right? What have you been doing?

I just need to sleep, all right? Leave me alone.

Guys, go downstairs.

I'll be there in a minute.


Look, man, I'm-I'm, uh...

I'm really sorry, all right? And-and I, uh...

I fucked up, and it was a mistake, but... it was a one-time mistake, all right? I learned my lesson.

I don't want to go through this shit again, all right? So...

Let's just go inside. No.

They're professionals.

Let's just listen to what they have to say.

Look, I'm 18, all right?! You can't force me!


This got out of hand, right?

Don't you think?

Come on.

All right.

Okay. Okay.

I'm doing it for you.

He needs treatment. And fast.

There's still a lot of drugs in his system.

And, worst of all, he's in denial.

Um, can you help him?

Oh, yeah. I mean, a lot of the people here are not here by choice.

And they have just as much chance as anybody.


So, we have a free bed.

So, if you want, we can check him in for a 28-day treatment and then we evaluate.

Um... what is your success rate?

On the high end, 80%.

On the low end, 25%.

Look, he will have daily consultations with a staff psychiatrist and physician.

We have daily N.A. and A.A. meetings.

He'll be monitored very closely.

Thank you.

And last page.



Why are you always in this room?

You hardly ever come out of here.

It's like you're a vampire.

I read.

I draw.

You know what we should do?

We should go surfing.


That sound good?

I'm kind of into other things now, you know?

Reading misanthropes and seriously depressed writers.

Oh, come on, they're... they're kind of great, though, right?

I get it.

It'll pass, though.

It always does.

What does?

The feeling of being alienated and isolated.

Huh, that really helps.

Thanks for the advice, Dad.


All right. That was...

That came out wrong. I'm sorry.


All right. Your-your idea.


Hey, Dad.

So, we feel he's made great progress.

Right, Nic? Hi. -Hey.

That's great. That's great.

So we should maybe talk about the coming weeks, Nic.

Mm. I think I need to... I think I need a little bit more time in rehab. So if it's... if it's all right with you guys, I was wondering if I could stay in the halfway house here.

The halfway house is an open living facility with follow-up every night, and we would help him find a job.

Right. I don't want to... go to college... right now. Oh?

Okay. Uh, um, and do what?

I think I need to be independent.

Dad, I'm telling you, this is...

It's gonna be good.

What is he gonna do, make coffee for the rest of his life?

You know what, Frederick told me that they have friends that had a son that did a four-week program and that wasn't enough and now he's doing a year program.

I wish you wouldn't talk to everybody about it.

What does that got to do with anything?

To protect Nic. I mean, at some point, he's gonna want to get on with his life.

And maybe it's best that not everybody knows about this.


Can we not make this about me?

Uh... All right.

Look, Nic needs some more time.

And that's fine.

Okay? Okay.


Yeah, okay.


David Sheff.

Hi, Mr. Sheff.

This is Annie Goldblum from the Ohlhoff Center.

Oh, yes. Hi. Hello.

Listen, I am sorry to disturb you, but I need to inform you about Nic.


He left the facility today during free time, and he hasn't returned since.

I'm sorry, Mr. Sheff, but please don't despair.

This happens.

But I...

I thought you said he was doing so well.

You should think of this as part of the process.

Relapse is a part of recovery.

Relapse is part of recovery?

Yeah. It-it's a part of Nic's learning process.

Well, uh, that's... that's like saying crashing is part of pilot training.

Look, he'll be back, and probably really quick.

Do you have somebody out looking for him?

It is not our responsibility once he leaves the facility.

Okay. But he is welcome to...

Excuse me.

Have you seen a kid hanging out around here?

No. No?

Okay, thank you.

Wow. They don't want to deal with that.

Hey, Dad, you want to smoke this?

Hey, whoa.

Wait. What...? Stop.

Put that away. We'll smoke this together.

No, no, no. No. Are you cra...

That's crazy. Well, I know you smoke.

Y... Well, yeah. I... So let's smoke together.

No, no, no. Occasionally, like...

Look, let's smoke to... let's smoke together. -Listen.

Or I could just... You know what? No, stop it, stop it.

Stop. Stop. I'll just light it here a...

You know what? You're right.

I'll just light it here alone.

Don't. Occasionally, from time to time... Yeah?

I will have a hit or two at a party, but it's been a while, so just...

Oh, okay, so then just smoke... have-have a celebratory joint with your son.

N-No. God, come on.

No. No, you're amazing.

You got... you applied to six colleges, you got into all of them?


Stop doubting yourself.

Look at you.

Give me that. Give me that.


Nice-nice hit. That was a good hit.

What? Well...

Thank you. This is a nice... thing to do.

You did a lot of drugs, right?

I, uh...

Yeah, I did my share.

I experimented with some drugs.

I did.

But not harmless. What, is this...?

There was a guy, and... No, no.

This is the lecture part?

Right? Yes.

Dad, you worry too much, all right?

Everyone does it. Just be careful.

It's just a little pot. I'm just partying a little.

It's just... you know, it's just once in a while.


I deserve to party a little now.

"Deserve to party." I do.

Look, it just... it takes the edge off things.

It-it... it-it takes the edge off of stupid all-day reality.


What is stupid about reality?

You know, just like... like daily, stupid things that don't matter.


You cannot say dumb shit like that, or you're gonna start believing it.


Thanks for bringing that, Karen.

This is my home.

A couple of weeks ago, you told me that you had only done crystal meth once.

And the story has to be bigger than that, right?

Mm-hmm. There's more to it.



We need to know.

We need to know.

I think I always liked it.


Anything. Pot, alcohol, Ecstasy, cocaine, LSD.

And you've been doing all of that for what... years?

A couple years, yeah.

And crystal meth?

Just a couple months.


I don't know.


When I tried it, I felt...

I felt better than I ever had, so...

I just kept on doing it.

I was worried that you were smoking too much pot.

Meanwhile, you're out doing every drug on the planet?

And hiding it and lying?


I don't know. Um... Why?

Nic, tell me why. Ease up.

I don't know. I thought we were close.

I thought we were closer than most fathers and sons.

Yeah, I feel like you're always disappointed in me.

You're disappointed I didn't go to college.

Can you blame me?!

Just, uh, not too long ago, you were reading and you were writing, and you were on the water polo team.

And look at us now.

Dad... -Can you please stop? This isn't us.

This is not who we are. Just, please, both of you, stop.

Dad, I'm really sorry about everything.

Dad, I'm so...

I'm really sorry, Dad.

Nic, what you have...'re gonna find it again.

And you're gonna get it back.

Ow, ow, ow.






Hey, Dad.


How's New York?

Fine. Good.

Good interview today.

Nice. How are you?

Oh, I'm-I'm doing good. Yeah.

Yeah? You sure?

Yeah. I don't... well...


It's, uh...

What's going on?

Uh, we had this great group session, and one of the guys here was saying he would do anything for a chance to go to college, but he can't.

Okay. -And when we were talking later, he said, "You could still go to college. Don't be an idiot.

Go to college."

I don't know, it's just crazy.

I realized I don't think I should stay behind.

I love writing.

And I feel like I'm good at it, and I do it a lot, but... obviously, there's still a lot for-for me to learn and...

Anyway, um...

I'd love to give it a go, if... you know, if it's all right with you guys.

Yeah. I'll talk to Karen and to your mom.

Back here.

Have you met your roommate yet?

Yeah, he seems nice.

He's just in the hall.

I feel for you, though.


No worries. I'll educate him.

Before you know it, he'll be listening to John Zorn.


Well, I better get going.

All right.

Everything. Everything.

So, this is a poem by Charles Bukowski.

Uh, this man saved my life multiple times, so...

"I changed jobs and cities, "I hated holidays, "babies, history, "newspapers, museums, grandmothers, marriage, movies, spiders..."

I want to see it, I want to see it! Oh!

"...garbagemen, "English accents... Nice. Go, go, go!

"...Spain, France, "Italy, walnuts and the color orange.

"Algebra angered me, opera sickened me, "Charlie Chaplin was a fake and flowers were for pansies."


Come here.



Where's your bathroom?

Hey, is there a bathroom I can use?

Sure, honey.

I'll show you where it is.

Go right up, to the left.

Hey, Dad. Hey, Nic.

How you doing? What's going on?

Oh, no, everything's going great here, yeah.

Oh, hey, thanks for sending the money.

I really appreciate that.

Yeah, you always hog the fondue.

Oh, uh, Patrick and Phil are going hiking tomorrow, so they'd like us to join them.

Are Jasper and Daisy here, by any...?

They're not here. No?

No. -Oh, they didn't want to see me?

No, they didn't want to see you. Oh, that's tough to hear.

Uh, well, I'm gonna just have a seat on this couch and think about that, huh?

Oh! Whoa! Whoa!

Oh, my God! Oh, my God, it's Daisy!

Oh, Jasper!

Oh, my God, you guys have gotten so much bigger!

Oh! Oh, my God, you're so...!

Okay. Denmark, 1632.

Oh, no. We...

Like to look back at the history of Hula-Hoops.

So important to, uh, the culture of peace and wisdom.

Um, a man named George... Hoopulu.

Was, uh... was, uh...

And he thought...

"Well, I'm going to develop something that I..."


Hey. Uh...

Hey. Um...

I was wondering, do you think I could use your car tonight?

'Cause I just... I want to go to a meeting.

Oh. You got a meeting tonight?

Yeah, sure.

Y-You good?

Yeah. I just...

They're crazy. Yeah.

They're really excited you're home.

I mean, I'll see you in the morning, I guess. -Okay.

All right.

Yep! Mm!

Where is it?!

I don't have it!

Where is it?!

I don't have it!

Guys, guys, guys, guys, guys.

Where is it?!

Guys, guys, stop it. I don't know!

Stop. Calm down. What's going on in here?

She took my money!

I didn't.

Okay, all right. Come on, go downstairs and see Mommy, all right? You took them!

-Don't, don't, don't. Stop, stop.

I didn't take it, Daddy. I know you didn't. All right.

Just go downstairs and have some breakfast.

Hey, what happened?

They're gone.

Okay. Are you sure you had it in there?

Yeah. I had them yesterday. Okay.

Jasper's savings disappeared.

Yeah? That's weird.

Did you take his eight dollars?


You heard me.

Why would I?

It disappeared, and somebody has to have done it.

Right, so it's me.

This is fucking ridiculous.

Are you using again?

Am I using again? No.

Are you high right now?

What the f...? No.

Fuck you. "Fuck you"?

Don't talk to me that way.

Are you high right now?


You're not using right now?

Are you using?

No, Dad, I'm not fucking high right now!


Listen, it was a gamble to send you to college.

Everybody supported it.

I'm glad that you went.

Relapse is a part of rec...

Relapse is part of recovery.

So we're gonna get... I better leave.

David? Hey.

Just... where-where are you gonna go?

You can't just leave. This is ridiculous.

Come on. Will you talk to us?

I mean, really... we just want to talk to you.

Why don't... Try to help us understand.

Or just let us help you. All right?

I don't want your fucking help. Don't you understand that?

No. -No, you don't. Jesus Christ, then what the fuck is wrong with you, then, huh?

What the hell is wrong with you people? -Nic.

No! You fucking suffocate me. Hey.

Oh... You fucking suffocate me!

Whoa, it's us? We're the problem?

No. You know what, you're the one who's doing it!

You're the one who's causing it!

And you're the only one who can stop it!

Fucking solve it!



So, this is for the, uh, New York Times Magazine?

Oh, no.

I'm a... I-I write.

I freelance for different magazines, but this is... this is a personal matter.

A personal matter? Yes. I'm sorry.

Is that okay? Uh, no, it's absolutely okay.

May I ask what-what this is regarding?

Uh, it's about my son.


He's been doing all sorts of drugs, but he's addicted to crystal meth, which seems, uh, to be the worst of all of them.

And I guess I'm here because I just want to know all that I can about all of it.

So, uh, crystal meth, uh, gives the user a feeling of instant euphoria... at least, when he takes it.

You know, but when it wears off, with a depletion of as much as 60% of the dopamine, the user has to up the doses.

He has to double it, triple it just to feel something, causing even more nerve damage, which, uh, increases the compulsion to use.

Horrible cycle.

What's up? Hey.

Just doing some research.


Are you hungry?

You want to get something?

Most guys just ask me for a blow job.

Oh, no. No, I'm just offering something to eat.

Maybe talk a little, if you're up to it.

Meth changes the brain physically.

Here we see the loss of dopamine receptors in a meth user's brain.

Now, I'm gonna show you something else here.

Do you see, uh, right here there are these two red, uh... large, red spots right here? Yeah.

Okay, what that shows is hyperactivity in the amygdala.

And the amygdala is a region of the brain that is linked with anxiety and fear.

Here the amygdala is screaming.

What this shows us is that there is a biological basis, uh, that meth users may be unable... not unwilling, but unable... to participate in normal treatment programs.

I was in rehab, too.

Three times.

Ran away every time.


It was hell.

Wanted to die.

Why was it hell?

All that God shit.

Also, you just don't know how good it gets when it gets good.

It's hard to explain.

Feels like cocaine but multiplied by, like, a thousand.

Or, like, a million.

What does this mean for Nic?

Look, Mr. Sheff, I...

I don't know who promised you what, but the success percentage is in the single digits.


What about your parents?

What about them?

Don't you think they're worried about you?

Shouldn't you... let them know that...

They don't care.

Well, I think they do.

What the fuck do you know?

I gotta go.

Oh. Okay.


Hey! Hey! Hey, now!


I'm gonna try some Klingon on you.


You know what I said? May I have a Coca-Cola?


That's it.

That's exactly what I asked.

Can I have a Coca-Cola?

All right. If you ask me in Klingon, maybe I'll get you a Coke.


Oh, wow.

This hasn't changed at all.

This place.

Hey. So, how you doing?

I'm doing great.

You know, just, um... um... just doing what needs to be done.

What does that mean?

Just being responsible for myself and...

I've quit on my own, you know, so...

I got five days now.

I feel like I'm doing well, but I just need, um...

I just need a few hundred bucks, though.

Nic, I can't give you any money.



It's just 200 bucks. I just need, um...

I just need to get some shit together.

I want to go to New York.

New York? Yeah.

I need to get out of San Francisco.

There's too many...

All these fucking bad vibes here all the time.

Yeah, I just need a few hundred bucks.

Why don't we just have lunch and talk?

We can do that, right? Mm.


How... how's Karen and, uh... and the kids?

Okay. They ask about you.

It's their step-up next week, and I know they'd love you...

Dad, you're, uh... you're guilt-tripping me, all right?

No, I'm just saying...

I should feel horrible about myself.

I know they wanted you to be there, that's all.

I'm sorry, Dad.

Um... I just need some fucking money, all right?

So please just give me some fucking money.

And then what? Where does this end?

This is... I got to see this one through.

This is kind of working out for me right now.

I got five days sober. It doesn't look like it's working out, Nic.

Oh, it doesn't look like it's working out?

So what, then, therapy? Huh? -No.

You can come home. No.

That wouldn't... We'll make it work. Please.



I've been doing some research. Been doing fucking research?

You got to be kidding me, Dad. No...

You think that you have this under control.

Mm-hmm. -And I understand how scared you are.

I understand why I do things... it doesn't make me any different, all right? I'm attracted to craziness.

And you're just embarrassed, 'cause I was, like, you know...

I was, like, this amazing thing, like, your special creation or something, and you don't like who I am now. Yeah?

Who are you, Nic? This is me, Dad.

Here. This is who I am.

You don't like what you see?

You know, the more I think about it...

Mom should've gotten custody.

Because you always gotta be fucking controlling everything all the time.

You're allowed to be mad at me, Nic. I made mistakes.

I understand that. I wish that I hadn't, but I did.

But, God, what you're saying right now doesn't make any sense. You're doing this right now!

You're fucking controlling me right now! It's not you.

It is not you, Nic. It is the drugs talking.

What does that even fucking mean, huh?

Psychological terror.

It's what addicts do. What the fuck are you doing right now, huh?

What is this? What are you doing, huh?

Oh, man.

I didn't want it to go like this.

All right.

I should go, Dad.

Let me... let me book you a room. No, Dad.

At a hotel for a couple of nights. No. Dad...

Why don't we just go get some food? Dad, I should go.

Can you say good-bye, at least?

Bye, Dad.

Where does he sleep?

Um, don't worry about that, sweetie.

He's fine.

Um... maybe he has a friend and he sleeps there.

Mm-hmm. Yeah. Maybe. Dolphin.

Hope so. Need "E."


Can I call him? Hmm.

No. I tried.

His phone's disconnected. Can I send him a message?

Maybe he'll get lonely and turn his phone back on?

That's a good idea.

Yeah. Let's try that.


Yeah? Okay. Let's go.

Hey, Dave, close your eyes.


And... open 'em!

Oh. Wow.



This is Julie Ford at the Bellevue Hospital in New York.

Is Nic Sheff your son?

Uh, Mr. Sheff, I'm sorry we missed each other earlier.

So, Nic is still experiencing some respiratory depression, but his vital signs are returning.

Sir, we're ready for departure.

Okay, okay.

Um... may I talk to him?

No, that won't be possible. Sir, I need you to turn off the phone. -Believe me, we shouldn't wake him up.

Mm-hmm. -Try again in a few hours, though, okay?

Okay. Uh, would you let him know that... -Sir. Sir.

Please. -Would you please let him know that I'm on my way?

He checked out.


Against doctor's orders.

No, no, he O.D.'d. I'm sorry, sir.

He pulled out the I.V. and catheter, and left.

How long ago?

Ten to 15 minutes.

I'm sorry, sir.


Look, I've thought about it, and I'm done with drugs.

This is it.

I'm telling you, Dad.

I'm done.

And how would that work?

I mean, after what just happened.

Now, if you're in the area, evacuation orders and details, including relocation centers, can be found on...

So, at 3:00, we have a conference call with the intake people in Mississippi.

That's all for now.

3:30, the one in New Mexico.

And 4:00, the one in Oregon.

I did some research on the one in New Mexico.

Mm-hmm. They charge $40,000 a month.

You know, it's not even that well rated.

We'll just skip that one.

Listen, if a spot opens up here in Los Angeles, maybe that's the best solution for now.

I'll hear back from them in an hour. -Mm.

Give it a rest, David.

Why don't you let me take over for now?




Will you check on me every 15 minutes?


Do you want to bring one of your dinosaurs, too?

How about a book?

No? Okay.

Hey. Hey.

Can I have a hug?


Why not?

Are you mad at me?

'Cause you have to go?


Well... you'll be happy to see Mommy, though, right?

I want you to know something.

When you come back, I'm gonna be here... right... I'm gonna be right here for you.


And call me when you miss me, and I'll call you.

Do you know how much I love you?

If you could take all the words in the language, it still wouldn't describe how much I love you.

And if you could gather all those words together, it still wouldn't describe what I feel for you.

What I feel for you is everything.

I love you more than everything.


Yeah, everything.


That's my mom.

I'm really glad you came to I.A.

You know that, right?

You just don't know what it is to be...

Please don't do this, Mom. Okay.

I'm sorry. Okay.

All I could think about was you.

I know this must sound meaningless, but I'm sorry.

I'm-I'm sorry.

Oh, Nicky.

You are such a darling.

You know that, right?


Hey, come on, old man!

You're being so disrespectful. I'm not being disrespectful.

You're being so disrespectful.

I'm coming for you! Oh, motherfucker!

Uh-huh. You about to look at my ass, baby!

You about to look at my ass!


That's what I get for helping.

Why'd you pull that hard?

I'm sorry. Why do you hate me?

How does this feel?

Like I'm a real human being.

One day, I tried methamphetamine...

Yeah. That felt good.

...and I thought, "This is what's been missing."

I felt complete.

Today's a good day.

Yeah, I've been chasing that high ever since.

No matter... how much meth... or whatever else I can find to shoot up into my body...

I do, it's never enough.

And I went to a couple of rehabs, I detoxed, they would talk about disease, sure, but... it never clicked.

Until one day I woke up in a hospital and someone asked me, "What's your problem?"

And I said, "I'm an alcoholic and an addict."

And he said...

"No, that's how you've been treating your problem."

Mm-hmm. That's right.

I know now I need to find a way to fill this... big... black hole in me.

Anyway, so...

I'm 14 months clean.

I have a job at a rehab.

It's fulfilling to help other people get sober.

I have a sponsor, Spencer.

Shows me how great my life can be sober.

And, um, I still have family.

My mom's been amazing.

My dad's been amazing, too.

I want them to be proud of me.

You all right?

What's wrong? You nervous?


Thank you for marrying me.

Thank you for being a perfect partner in an imperfect world.

Thank you for introducing me to your amazing son.

Uh, I'm here for you, and I'm here to stay.

Karen, thank you... for loving me.

And thank you for loving him.

Looks him square in the eye, and he says, "Superman..."


Hey, good to see you. Good to see you.

Hey, Daisy. Hey, Daisy!

Hey, Jazzy Jeff.

What's going on, man?

Hey, man, I miss you more than the sun misses the moon at night.


Hey, Karen. Hey.

Thank you for inviting me.


Go, Daisy! Go, Daisy! Go, Daisy! Go, Daisy!

Go, Daisy!

Hey, honey.

Go, Daisy, go!


Oh! Ah, you!

It's Daisy!


"If the marker is depleted

"in meth addicts' brains, "it's likely there is a loss of nerve terminals

"and the brain damage is irreversible.

"However, when I tested for VMAT2, I found normal levels." So that's optimistic.

Normal levels is optimistic, yeah. It's...

It is. Okay.

No. I'm not... I was just checking.

No, no, that's good. Okay.

Basically... the fried...

Nic's fried nerve endings can grow back.

They say it can take two years, but...

Two years? Yeah.

But that's great, David.

Hey. Hey.

You're kind of late. Yeah. It was a great meeting, and after, we went to the speaker's house and watched a video and... saw my sober sponsee bros earlier, so...

No phone?

Oh, my cell was dead.

Would you be okay to do a drug test?

Yeah, I mean, sure.


You understand why, right?

Yeah. I mean, I should've called to let you know, so...

I trust you... we just need to have some sort of proof.

That's about as contradictory as it gets.

But... I know. I know.

I'll do it. No worries.

Nothing to hide.


Hey, you're doing great.

You really are.

By my count, 485 days clean.

Wow. Come on, that's...

I'll just leave it in the bathroom, right? Okay.

All right.

Good night, Dad. Good night.

I love you. I love you, too.

All right, Jasper, you ready? Yep.

Let's go, let's go, let's go.

Hey. No, no, no, wait.

Jasper, I don't want you to go out there. -What?

Mom, we won't go far, I swear!

The waves are too big. It's too dangerous.

But I am a great swimmer.

I've been in waves way bigger than this.

Yes, I know that, but I don't want you to...

Yeah, I'll stay close. Nic will stay close, you see?

Karen, I'm gonna stay...

I'll stay close. Nic can go in.

That's fine. You, no.

And that is final.

We'll see about that.

Hey! Okay. It's fine.

It's fine.

Should we just play a game instead?

Uh... Yeah?

Are you a hurfboard?

No. No?

Are you a hicycle?

No. No?

Okay. Uh, are you edible?

Not really.

Not really? Not really.

So, sort of.

So, um... are you a house?

Yes. How did you know?

You know, I can read your mind.

Ooh... Ooh...

I know you're a great swimmer.

I'm gonna be there to cheer for you at your next swim meet.

How does that sound?



Hey, is it weird to see me after all this time?

Or no?

I guess it was, at first.

Okay. -I thought you might be different.

But you're just the same old Nic.

That was a great weekend. Mm-hmm.

Go, Nic!

Bye, Nic! Bye, Nic!

Bye, Nic!

One day at a time, man.

Congratulations. Welcome to the real world.

Oh, I don't want to live in the real world.

I'm so sick of living in it.

-That's your disease talking to you, man.

Oh, I'm trying. By trying to isolate you.

Trying to kill you. You know this, man.

I don't feel like I have a disease, Spencer.

I feel like...

Well, you got to. -This isn't like fucking cancer.

This is my fucking choice. I put myself here.

Yeah, you did. You did put yourself there.

Are you gonna let me talk or what?

Okay? Like, you're a writer, right? So write.

You're good at it. This is your day. This is a choice.

What do you want to do now? Fucking...

Once you get high, you lose all your choices.

If you get high, you lose everything. -Right.

All right, so you got to keep choosing the right way.

Right. That's right.

You choose the right way.

Right. All right, hey, listen, I'm gonna give you a call later, all right?

Uh, I-I feel like I'm gonna do all right.

You blowing me off now?

You gonna call me and waste my time?

Don't waste my time. I'm here for you, man.

You know what, look, I'm having some steaks tonight.

Why don't you come over for dinner.

All right, I'll see you then. You...

That sounds great. I'll see you then.

Yo, Nic, Nic. Yes, sir. I'll see you then.

Nic... All right, bye-bye.

Nic Sheff.

Lauren. What?

What are you...

Wow, it's been a long time.

What-what are you doing here?

Just, uh...


I've been sober for a while, but I'm seriously looking to party right now.

I got what you need. We have E, we have pills, man.

We have E. I told you, I told you.

Can you get me a cup of water and a spoon?


All right.

Mm-hmm. All right.

Here you go. Thank you.

Cotton and a spoon.


All right, that's it.

That's it.


Your call has been forwarded to an automated voice messaging system.

At the tone, please record your message.

It's Dad again.

I feel like you might have been a little down when you left, Nic, so I'm here to talk if you need to.

All right.

So you have no idea where he is?

Uh, Spencer told me he heard from him.

He was having a difficult time, but he was pulling through.

But, yeah, he's not at work, he's not at home.

He's unreachable on his cell. Damn it. Damn it. Vicki, he left here two days ago. Why didn't you check on him?

You're supposed to be taking care of this kid, right?

What the fuck, David?

Who's been taking care of him the last year?

Well, you could've checked on him.

I mean, what the fuck is your problem?

What do you think I do all day?

Besides, we can't run surveillance on him 24/7.

I think you need to go to the police right now and file a missing persons report, okay?

Stop yelling at me! No, I'm not gonna stop yelling at you, Vicki. I hate it when you do that.

Because you're just... You're totally crazy.

What are you even doing there?!

Fucking unfair, David! No, no! Listen to me!

What are...




Could you call my phone, please?

What's going on?

He's gone.

How do we even know he's in I.A.?

I mean, he could be in San Francisco. He could be... he could be in fucking Mexico, for all we know.

I need to go.

Yeah, but I need you to stay.

Well, Vicki can't handle it like I...

I don't care about Vicki. This isn't about Vicki.

Okay, why don't you just relax and try to be reasonable.

What? You be reasonable. I am being reasonable.

Is this reasonable?!

No! It's not!

How can I be?!

My son is out there somewhere, and I don't know what he's doing!

I don't know how to help him!

You can't!

I can't sleep.

You can't sleep?

I can't sleep.


Good night, Daddy.

Good night.

Let go!

Airplane flying!

Fly away! Fly!

No. Uh-uh. Come on, not you. Come on. -DAVID: Hold on.

Get back in. Guys, come on. Hold on. Hold on, honey.

Wait. Good dog.

I thought Nic was gonna be here today.

Uh, no. Something came up.

Can I call him?

No, no. You can't.

It's not gonna be possible.

Why not?

Because it's not.

Is Nic back on drugs again?

All right.

Come on, Jasper! Whup.


You got it?

Oh, fuck. Okay. Hey, Lauren.

Lauren, let's go. What?

We got to go.

What's going on? Here.

We got to go.


I think I just saw Nic.


I think I just saw Nic and a girl running away.


Uh, no. Stay inside.

Okay. No.

All right, no. Stay inside! I am not kidding, all right?

Stay there.


Shit. Never again.

It's okay. Hey. What do we do? What do we do?

It's all right.

That was so terrible.

Oh, fuck!

Nic? Nic? Nic!


Oh. No. No. No.

Come on!

I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry.

Okay. Okay.

911. What is your emergency?

Yeah. Hi. Uh, I got a f... I'm-I'm with a friend.

She just O.D.'d, and, uh, I need an ambulance, I need some help.

Sir, do you know CPR?

Yeah, I'm doing it right now. I just...

Uh, we... You-you guys, you got to send an ambulance, too, all right? What is your location?

Yeah, I don't know.

Y-You-you guys are gonna have to trace the call.


Hello? Sir, are you still there?


Sir? Sir?

Look up.

Honey, look up for me.

Can you look up this way over here?

Hey, look, we're gonna need to take you to the ER.

I-I don't... I don't want to. I-I...

We need to take you to the ER. I'm fine.

She doesn't want to go to the ER. She's...

She's... No, she's not okay. We need to take her to the ER. But she doesn't want to go.

No, sir, she needs to go!


You have a problem with that, I can inform the police.

Goddamn it.

You're gonna come and meet me, right?

Yes. Yes! You promise?

I love you.

I love you, too.

You promise you're gonna meet me? Yes, Lauren.

I'll come fucking meet you. What do you want from me?

Okay, okay. Jesus fucking Christ.

David Sheff.

Hey, Dad. It's me.

Nic? Yeah.

Please don't hate me, Dad.

I know I did wrong.

I want to stop, but please, please, please, please, please, please no rehab, all right?

Just let me come home. You know what?

I realize it's actually I... I-I need to be home.

You guys, you guys are gonna give me the strength to stop.

All right?

That's not going to happen.

I wish that I could help you, but I can't do that.

I c... I can't.

Oh, please help me, Dad.

No, Dad. I just need a little bit of help.

Please help me. I want to come home.

All I can tell you is what you already know.

Dad, why aren't you fucking listening to me?

Call your sponsor. I don't want to talk to my sponsor now. I want to talk to you.

Get help.

I love you. Dad, what...

And I hope that you get your life together.

I love you, too.

I love you.

Hello. Nicolas called.

He sounds desperate.

Gonna die if we don't do anything.

Well... he's gonna die even if we do.

Nothing we do has any effect on him.

I failed.

I know you feel ashamed, okay?

So do I.

But you have done great, David.

And Karen, too, so thank you for that.

You were up for it when I wasn't, and I'm not giving up now.


But I can't do it alone.

I need your help.

I don't think you can save people, Vicki.

You can be there for them, can't you?

Look at this.

I'm done.

Oh. Okay? I...


Hey, everybody.

Time to get together.

I... I had a rough week.

Some of you know, some of you don't.

I, um...

I lost my Frances this week.

She died of an overdose on Sunday.


I guess I'm in mourning, but I-I...

I realized something else.

I've actually been in mourning for years.

'Cause even when she was alive, she... she wasn't there.

When you mourn the living, that's a hard way to live.

And so, in... in a way, it's-it's... it's better, I guess.

She was a dear, dear young woman.

I always felt...

I needed to... to stay strong, that there'd be some future event, and I'd... I'd need all my strength for it.

But there are no events after this one.

I hope she's not in pain now.

Bye, Frances.



How's he doing?

The doctor's with him now.

He said it's close to a miracle Nic survived with all the drugs in his body.

"Either peace or happiness, "let it enfold you.

"When I was a young man, I felt that these things

"were dumb, unsophisticated.

"I had bad blood, a twisted mind, "a precarious upbringing.

"I was hard as granite.

"I leered at the sun.

"I trusted no man and especially no woman.

"I was living a hell in small rooms.

"I broke things, smashed things, "walked through glass, cursed.

"I challenged everything, "was continually being evicted, jailed, "in and out of fights, in and out of my mind.

"Women were something to screw and rail at.

"I had no male friends.

"I changed jobs and cities.

"I hated holidays, babies, history, "newspapers, museums, grandmothers, "marriage, movies, spiders, garbagemen, "English accents, Spain, France, Italy, "walnuts and the color orange.

"Algebra angered me.

"Opera sickened me.

"Charlie Chaplin was a fake.

"And flowers were for pansies.

"Peace and happiness were to me signs of inferiority, "tenants of the weak and addled mind.

"But as I went on with my alley fights, "my suicidal years, "my passage through any number of women, "it gradually began to occur to me that I wasn't different

"from the others, I was the same.

"They were all fulsome with hatred, "glossed over with petty grievances.

"The men I fought in alleys had hearts of stone.

"Everybody was nudging, inching, "cheating for some insignificant advantage.

"The lie was the weapon, and the plot was empty.

"Darkness was the dictator.

"Cautiously, I allowed myself to feel good at times.

"I found moments of peace in cheap rooms

"just staring at the knobs of some dresser

"or listening to the rain in the dark.

"The less I needed, the better I felt.

"Maybe the other life had worn me down.

"I no longer found glamour

"in topping somebody in conversation

"or in mounting the body of some poor, drunken female

"whose life had slipped away into sorrow.

"I could never accept life as it was.

"I could never gobble down all its poisons.

"But there were parts, tenuous magic parts, "open for the asking.

"I reformulated.

"I don't know when... date, time, all that...

"but the change occurred.

"Something in me relaxed, smoothed out.

"I no longer had to prove that I was a man.

"I didn't have to prove anything.

"I began to see things.

"Coffee cups lined up behind a counter in a cafe.

"Or a dog walking along a sidewalk.

"Or the way the mouse on my dresser top

"stopped there, really stopped there, "with its body, its ears, its nose.

"It was fixed, a bit of life caught within itself, "and its eyes looked at me, and they were beautiful.

"Then it was gone.

"I began to feel good.

"I began to feel good in the worst situations, "and there were plenty of those.

"Like, say, the boss behind his desk.

"He is going to have to fire me.

"I've missed too many days.

"He's dressed in a suit, necktie, glasses.

"He says, 'I am going to have to let you go.'

"'It's all right, ' I tell him.

"He must do what he must do.

"He has a wife, a house, children, "expenses, most probably a girlfriend.

"I'm sorry for him.

"He's caught.

"I walk out into the blazing sunshine.

"The whole day is mine, temporarily anyhow.

"The whole world is at the throat of the world.

"Everybody feels angry, short-changed, cheated.

"Everybody is despondent, disillusioned.

"I welcomed shots of peace, tattered shards of happiness.

"I embraced that stuff like the hottest number, "like high heels, breasts, singing, the works.

"Don't get me wrong, "there is such a thing as cockeyed optimism

"that overlooks all basic problems

"just for the sake of itself.

"This is a shield and a sickness.

"The knife got near my throat again.

"I almost turned on the gas again.

"But when the good moments arrived again, "I didn't fight them off like an alley adversary.

"I let them take me. I luxuriated in them.

"I bade them welcome home.

"I even looked into the mirror once

"having thought myself to be ugly.

"I now liked what I saw.

"Almost handsome.

"Yes, a bit ripped and ragged.

"Scars, lumps, odd turns.

"But all in all, not too bad.

"Almost handsome.

"Better at least than some of those movie star faces

"like the cheeks of a baby's butt.

"And finally I discovered

"real feelings for others, unheralded.

"Like lately, like this morning, "as I was leaving for the track, I saw my wife in bed, "just the shape of her head there, "covers pulled high, just the shape of her head there.

"Not forgetting centuries of the living and the dead

"and the dying, the pyramids, "Mozart dead, but his music still there in the room, "weeds growing, the Earth turning, "the tote board waiting for me.

"I saw the shape of my wife's head, "she so still.

"I ached for her life, "just being there under the covers.

"I kissed her on the forehead, "got down the stairway, got outside, "got into my marvelous car, fixed the seat belt, "backed out the drive.

"Feeling warm to the fingertips, "down to my foot on the gas pedal, "I entered the world once more, "drove down the hill past the houses

"full and empty of people.

"I saw the mailman, honked.

He waved back at me."