Toronto Film Review: Julia Roberts in ‘Ben Is Back’

Seventy-seven days.

That’s how long Ben Burns (“Manchester by the Sea” discovery Lucas Hedges) has been clean when he shows up at his family’s house for Christmas.

Judging by the look on Julia Roberts’ face — a tangle of delight, concern, fear, and forgiveness that’s simultaneously universal and something only this one living actress could convey so well — his return is the best present any mother could hope for.

As for the rest of the family, they’re not so sure.

Ben has a nasty habit of relapsing and ruining the holidays, and anything could happen in the next 24 hours.“Ben Is Back” is the story of one day in the lives of the Burnses, during which this prodigal son will test the love of everyone who cares about him — and remind audiences everywhere why world-class empathy generator Roberts is what writer-director Peter Hedges described as “the mother

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