By Nick Romano
October 11, 2018 at 10:54 AM EDT

Ben Is Back

  • Movie

As the new Ben Is Back trailer debuts, another awards hopeful gains momentum.

The latest footage from the film, written and directed by Peter Hedges, gives audiences a taste for Julia Roberts‘ performance as a mother fighting for her son, who struggles with drug addiction. Lucas Hedges, acclaimed star of Manchester By the Sea, portrays that son and together the actors have grabbed critics’ attention.

Ben Is Back sees the titular Ben Burns unexpectedly arriving at his mom’s house on Christmas Eve morning. Holly (Roberts) is wary of his seemingly improved condition, but she welcomes him in spite of objections from her daughter (Lady Bird‘s Kathryn Newton) and new husband (The People V. O.J. Simpson‘s Courtney B. Vance). What unfolds is a tumultuous 24 hours in which Holly’s love is tested.

As Peter said of casting his son as Ben, “I wrote the script never believing he would be in it because he was pretty clear he never wanted to be directed by me again after the thrill of working on Dan In Real Life. I think it almost ended everything.” Roberts’ involvement seemed to change his mind. “I think he felt that we had to really talk about it… because it’s a very odd thing and potentially a horrible thing for a son to have to work with his father. It just is,” Peter added. “But it was an amazing experience. I’m sure it was odd for everyone.”

Ben Is Back will open in theaters on Dec. 7.

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Ben Is Back

  • Movie
release date
  • 12/07/18
  • Peter Hedges
  • Julia Roberts,
  • Lucas Hedges,
  • Courtney B. Vance
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  • Ben Is Back