Spoiler alert! Contains major details about the end of "Homecoming" Season 1 on Amazon Prime. NEW YORK – You won't see much of Julia Roberts' famous megawatt smile in her latest on-screen outings. In Peter Hedges' drama "Ben Is Back" (in theaters Friday in New York and Los Angeles, expands to additional cities through December), the Oscar-winning actress delivers one of her most moving performances yet as the solicitous Holly, whose son Ben (Lucas Hedges), a recovering opioid addict, shows up on the family doorstep on Christmas Eve and asks to spend the holiday together. It's a 180-degree turn from her role in Amazon Prime's twisty, 10-episode "Homecoming" (now streaming) as the reticent and at times terrifying Heidi Bergman, who is hired as the lead administrator of a mysterious operation for returning veterans. But when she learns the government-sponsored Homecoming program's true intentions – to wipe soldiers' … [Read more...] about Julia Roberts on ‘Ben is Back,’ ‘Homecoming’ spoilers and why she can’t eat gnocchi anymore
Oscar winner Julia Roberts, one of the universe's biggest stars, is earning critical raves for her performance in "Ben Is Back." The story is poignant and timely, with Roberts playing a loving mother dealing with her opioid-addicted son (Lucas Hedges). USA TODAY film critic Brian Truitt echoed the chorus of praise for Roberts, calling it "her best film work since her Oscar-winning turn in 2000’s 'Erin Brockovich.' ” But as awards season heats up, Roberts has been shut out for "Ben Is Back." No nominations for Screen Actors Guild Awards, Critics' Choice or Golden Globes. What's going on? "Julia Roberts' awards season omission for 'Ben Is Back' is the most perplexing of anyone this year," says Dave Karger, special correspondent for movie site IMDb.com. "She gives an incredible performance. In a normal year, she would be squarely in the running." But Roberts entered a highly competitive best-actress field late in the season. The … [Read more...] about Julia Roberts is getting raves for ‘Ben Is Back,’ so why has she been shut out of awards?
The first half of the film is a beautifully emotional drug addiction family drama, but the last half of the movie flips into a different story. One day. That's all 19-year-old Ben Burns (Lucas Hedges) has to prove that he is sober enough to be around his family for Christmas. But a lot can happen in one day. And in "Ben is Back," it sometimes feels like too much is going on, leaving unanswered questions. Whether that's good tis up to the viewer. Ben's two young siblings are thrilled to see him again, seemingly unaware of his former drug addiction. His mother, Holly (Julia Roberts), is happy to see him, too. She still believes in him enough to keep a happy front, but she's skeptical enough to hide drugs and jewelry in the house. But Ben's sister Ivy (Kathryn Newton) is skeptical from the moment she sees him on the front porch. She even calls her stepdad, Neal (Courtney B. Vance), who rushes home to warn his wife. Ben destroyed the last two Christmases, according to … [Read more...] about ‘Ben is Back’ review: Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges deliver, story not as much
Julia Roberts has been in the spotlight for about 30 years, and fans come up to her all the time, but one encounter stands out in her memory. In an episode of The Hollywood Reporter's "Awards Chatter" podcast, Roberts recalled being in the bathroom of a Georgia movie theater when she realized just how famous she had become. "There was a woman in the bathroom who said, 'Hey, girl in stall number one, were you in 'Mystic Pizza?' " Roberts remembered. To her surprise, the woman then slid something under the stall and asked if she would sign it. "Uh, not right now," Roberts recalled saying while laughing. "I thought, 'wait, this is different,' " she told THR. Roberts also noted the way fame has changed since her career began. She mused it now seems like people become famous overnight. "It kind of catapults now in a way where you can't just enjoy the one moment," she said. "It seems to go from zero to a million overnight and in that, I think you lose your sense of … [Read more...] about Julia Roberts dishes on the bathroom encounter that made her realize she was famous
In “Anatomy of a Scene,” we ask directors to reveal the secrets that go into making key scenes in their movies. See new episodes in the series each Friday. You can also watch our collection of more than 150 videos on YouTube and subscribe to our YouTube channel . In “Ben Is Back,” Lucas Hedges plays the title character, a heroin addict who returns home from rehab to be with his family at Christmas. Julia Roberts portrays his mother, Holly, who has welcomed her son with a mixture of joy and trepidation. In this scene, Holly is taking her son shopping, but what begins as a loving trip to the mall turns into a moment of panic. The film’s writer and director, Peter Hedges (also Lucas’s father), discusses the nuances of the scene. Read a review of “Ben Is Back.” Read an interview with Peter Hedges and Lucas Hedges. Sign up for the Movies Update newsletter and get a roundup of reviews, news, Critics’ Picks and more. … [Read more...] about Watch Julia Roberts Move From Joy to Panic in ‘Ben Is Back’