Preview, “Ben is Back” could be Oscar bait for Julia Roberts, Lucas Hedges

Peter Hedges is that rare screenwriter and director whose movies are about character and emotion and family, old grievances and new hope, a sense of place.

He scripted “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” based on his novel, and wrote and directed “Pieces of April” and “Dan in Real Life,” and hasn’t had a big screen project since the resonant but unsuccessful, honestly-titled “The Odd Life of Timothy Green.”

Look at his emotionally-available movies and it’s easy to see how Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges is a chip off the old block.

And when your son is Lucas, fresh off the Oscar-nominated breakout turn in “Manchester by the Sea,” and “LadyBird” and everything he touches gets noticed, Dad can get his calls returned and land Julia Roberts, who is rumored to be behind the awards-season push of this prodigal son tale — “Ben is Back.”

The trailer doesn’t give away much, but pedigree speaks volumes, here. A good cry? Put money on it.

Look for “Ben is Back” Dec. 7. 

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