Rain, Fog, Snow + Felix van Groeningen’s Beautiful Boy (2018)


ON: top of the world

IN: the clouds 

W/: a really good latte 

It is unusually gray and rainy in the only location in San Francisco that consistently has sun beaming through its windows. Reveille Coffee Co. is up there as far as SF coffee goes. Personally, it is my favorite. I stumbled across this coffee shop on the interwebs– the way all modern romances begin.  How did we meet? It was around 3am and I was watching this vlog.

(Side note: SF doesn’t get a lot of vlog coverage. Its a shame.)

Anyway if you’re strolling around SF and you can see the Transamerica Pyramid — you’re close enough to make your way to Reveille Coffee Co. A plain ol’ hot latte w/ almond milk will have you feel like a better human-being after your first sip. 

However, this post is not JUST about the wonder of having swirls of foamy milk and silk coffee rest gracefully on your tongue — this post is about love, and its limitations (if such a thing exists).

Not far from this coffee shop, a couple weeks back, I saw Beautiful Boy (2018). Something in me died in the theater the day I saw that film.

Beautiful boy still

This is how it goes: you buy your ticket, sans popcorn. Then you proceed to sit in a state of woozy frustration, loss, hope, and awe for 112 minutes. Then the theater ejects you and spits you out into the chilly San Francisco street. Suddenly everything is colder, and everyone looks a little lonelier. And you’re asking yourself: can you both love and protect yourself? Can you both love, and feed your self interest? What wouldn’t you do for those you love?

This is not a film you can easily shake off. It will sit with you. Groeningen’s film is not muted in the least. The film does not hint at bad behavior nor glance over moments of bliss– it exposes rebellion and hurt with little prompting, and yet, its gentleness sugars over.

Cold, and buried in my PSMS (post screening mental state), I left this film with one really big question: Are there limitations to love? 

In Beautiful Boy (2018) David Sheff (Steve Carell) can’t really save his son (Timothée Chalamet) despite his efforts (an understatement). Love pours out of him, love almost drowns him, but love is not enough.

Or is it?

We tend to think of love as an abstract– as a feeling. But love is much bigger than a feeling. God is love. This means that love is unchanging. Love is unfailing.

Maybe, if love has any limitation — it is that it cannot be hate. As God does not sin, maybe love’s only “limitation”/boundary is its opposite.

Love is patient, love suffers long. Love cannot be impatient nor dependent on a ‘quick fix’. (See 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7).

1 Corinthians 13: 8-9:

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part.

Let this give you hope and faith that even in the darkest times, unfailing love still stands.

And yet still: the greatest of these is love.

NOTE: I really enjoyed Groeningen’s ability to capture San Francisco as more than just a setting, but as a character within itself.  *heart eyes emoji*  [Venom (2018) is another film that did a very good job of capturing the city’s beauty, and its pain.]

Anyway, I’m off to SFO. Leaving the fog for a little snow.

Happy Thanksgiving.