Timothée Chalamet’s latest movie Beautiful Boy definitely paints an ugly picture of drugs, but that wasn’t his goal.
“Our hope is that it’s not a glorification of drugs or a warning against the glorification of drugs because that’s not what the movie’s about,” Chalamet told PEOPLE after Monday’s special New York City screening of the film for high school students.
“It’s not about, ‘Hey don’t do this thing,'” he said.
While the Oscar nominee, 22, believes that message is important, he stressed that Beautiful Boy has a different purpose.
“The ‘don’t do drugs because they will ruin your life’ narrative, which is very true and very important to know, is out there as effectively as it should be, so this movie tried to address things around it and not that direct message.”
Beautiful Boy, based on the memoirs written by recovering addict Nic Sheff (played by Chalamet) and his father David Sheff (played by Steve Carell), is more about how addiction affects relationships.
“It’s supposed to portray David and Nic’s story as a firsthand warning of how addiction can ruin one’s life in the personal context, but perhaps more eye-opening, the movie shows how devastating it can be to everyone around the addict,” Chalamet explained.
Sheff and Chalamet hosted a screening of the film for hundreds of New York City high school students, and after, they sat on a panel and answered their questions. One student asked if there was any lesson Chalamet wanted to impart with this movie besides not to “get too mixed up in drugs.”
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“I’m not the authority on this but…that’s obviously the first message, not to do that, but we shouldn’t be naïve to it either and I’m sure people in high school, even in here, have been exposed to that stuff, too, already,” Chalamet answered.
He told PEOPLE, “That’s the goal in having the high schools there, for the prejudices around use and addiction be re-examined.”
Chalamet was recently nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance in the film. Beautiful Boy is currently playing in theaters.