Addiction is a topic that has been handled in Hollywood for decades. While most of the films on this list are more recent, the industry has a long history of tackling what was once a highly taboo subject, and has never been afraid to touch on the grittier, yet still painfully human aspects of substance abuse and its consequences.
It shouldn’t be any surprise that Hollywood seems to enjoy taking on the dark and chaotic world of addiction, since it has a very long and intimate history with it. Actors, directors and others in the industry are no strangers to both recreational drug use and addiction. The lifestyle, pressure and other factors have led many a star to lose everything in pursuit of that first high. Although in the movies, the stars are often playing your average Joe or Jill who’s gotten caught up in the world of addiction. These films cover numerous aspects of addiction, drug use, relationships and the drug world. Most are highly acclaimed films that are brilliantly directed and acted.
For people in recovery, it can sometimes be a shuddering reminder of a lifestyle that is fortunately in the past. For those who have never experienced addiction, films like these may provide a peek into a world beyond their understanding.
You can have everything going for you and lose it all. Addiction doesn’t discriminate. Basketball Diaries illustrates this point perfectly.
Great performances and directing make this a compelling film, but also leaves you feeling as though you got punched in the gut. Along with the above film and Trainspotting, featured below, Requiem for a Dream is one of the best-known modern films that deals with addiction.
Set in Edinburgh, Trainspotting deals with the gritty realities of heroin addiction. It is a film that pulls no punches and isn’t for the faint of heart.
Although the film is decades old, it shows the power of opiate painkiller addiction. The movie is edgy and has a Bonnie and Clyde feel to it, but there’s no questioning the realness of addiction and the costs that it brings.
Spun is a dark and at times, comical look into the world of meth addiction. It’s a movie, to be sure, with a slightly exaggerated flavor, but it does show you the unglamorous, gritty and insane world of the meth addict. It’s not easy to watch — most of these aren’t — which is what makes it accurate. If these movies were comfortable to watch, they certainly wouldn’t be realistic.
This is a movie that explores all facets of addiction and drug culture. What gives it the most realistic angle though is the storyline of Caroline, played by Erika Christensen. She is the daughter of Robert Wakefield (Michael Douglas) and an honor roll student who gets addicted to crack. What this film really brings to light is not just the nature of addiction, but also the futility of many of the measures meant to fight the war on drugs.
A heartbreaking and realistic tale of addiction to alcohol and the lifestyle that goes with it. It really delves into what an alcoholic’s bottom looks like, as well as the codependent relationships that are often spawned. There are some difficult-to-watch scenes, as well as a certain level of humanity and compassion that makes the film very human.
We could split hairs and say that this classic film deals with alcohol and not drugs, but the addiction is one and the same. This movie is superbly acted and gives a realistic picture of how substance abuse can ruin lives. You’ll notice that at the beginning of the film, the female lead talks about her addiction to chocolate, although she never had a drinking problem. It’s a slight nod to the fact that while a person may not dive straight into substance addiction early on, the
What happens when a successful businessman’s minor coke habit gets out of control? This is a good look at how drug use can escalate into addiction and spiral out of control.
Okay, so the movie is a surreal and not terribly realistic jaunt into a weekend filled with weirdness and excess with the larger than life Las Vegas as a backdrop. However, what is accurate is the sheer magnitude of insanity, unmanageability and chaos that can come with rampant addiction. It goes to show how completely detached from reality an addicted person can get, and how the insanity of addiction can lead people to use anything and put their own lives in danger without a second thought, as well as the lives of others.
Granted, these are all just slick, well-acted Hollywood films, but each movie offers a glimpse into aspects of addiction, depravity, degradation, hopelessness and grief while also keeping it real with moments of compassion, clarity and humor.
If addiction is affecting your life, help is available. Addiction is a disease that affects millions of people in the U.S. every year. While the media may occasionally portray addiction as some sort of life sentence or a story that never has a happy ending, this simply isn’t true. Recovery from addiction is possible, with help.
An intervention is often the best way to convince someone you love to get the treatment they need to overcome addiction. It isn’t easy confronting a family member about their problem, and denial and fear are often barriers to the solution. A professional intervention can help break through the barriers of defensiveness, denial, fear and miscommunication so that your loved one can begin to understand that they need help and become willing to get it. Call Intervention Services, Inc. to find out how we can help your family. The benefits of a professional intervention extend to the family, as they receive support and help. Healing and hope begin when you pick up the phone. Call 1-877-478-4621 today.