What Makes a Good Movie About Addiction?
Art imitates life. Addiction is a common theme in media and literature. There are a lot of great movies about drug addiction out there, and some not-so-great ones. What makes a good movie about addiction? It’s very hard to say, but you know it when you see it.
Films are subjective. Addiction is also subjective. What one person likes may not be what another person likes. What makes one person an addict doesn’t always make another one an addict.
We see a lot of movies centered around addiction and depending on your substance abuse they can affect you differently.
There are a lot of differences between addiction on film and reality. After all, movies are movies. They do not always reflect how things go in real life. A lot of films have happy endings, and unfortunately, the events we go through in life do not always result in a happy ending.
There are some movies about substance abuse that glorify it. There are a lot of drug-related movies that are over the top and downright comical. A film like Scarface is a good example of that.
Best Movies About Addiction
I was a really bad heroin addict, so for me, a film like “Requiem for a Dream” spoke to me like no other. That is by far one of the best movies about addiction.
It doesn’t just resonate with me because of the heroin aspect, it is a perfect representation of addiction in general. What set that film apart from others was how it portrays craving something.
It shows how you can be addicted to far more things than drugs. It shows how much we are addicted to everyday things like coffee and sugar, yet we don’t view it the same as a hardcore drug addiction.
The fact of the matter is, we all have cravings for things that aren’t good for us. That film did a great job of showing the relationship between food addiction and drug addiction
“28 Days” forms another great movie about addiction recovery. Sandra Bullock stars as an alcoholic who ruins her sister’s wedding and crashes a limousine.
She is then given the choice of jail or rehab. She chooses rehab and is initially bitter toward the process. Eventually, she buys in and starts to get better.
It shows the ups and downs of recovery and is a good representation of the process. Getting sober isn’t an easy task. Just because you go to rehab doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods yet.
Detox and recovery are a huge step toward getting clean, and it’s a process that requires a lot of work on your part.
Movies About Drug Addiction on Netflix
When I decided to get sober, I chose to go to the Circle of Hope recovery center. It was a scary decision, but it was much needed. I had been a heroin addict for several years and was abusing other drugs whenever I couldn’t get heroin.
I started as an opiate addict, and when the pills got to be too expensive, I switched to heroin. Unfortunately, a lot of people go this route, which is why the opiate epidemic is as bad as it is now.
One of the best movies about drug addiction on Netflix is a documentary called “Heroin(e)”. It follows several people in a small town in West Virginia as they try to recover from opiate addiction.
Netflix has a lot of other good films centered around addiction, including “6 Balloons” and “Rust Creek”.
Documentaries about addiction were a very vital tool in getting me sober. Sometimes it’s nice to see the real thing to get a better picture of what real people are dealing with.
Narrative movies can only do so much. There have been a lot of great documentaries on addiction. I would highly recommend a documentary called “American Drug War”, which highlights the war on drugs in the United States.
What to Watch in Treatment for Addiction?
When you’re in rehab, you have plenty of time to reflect on your current position. You also have plenty of time to watch movies and TV shows about addiction. I watched a lot of the series, “Intervention” in rehab.
“Intervention” is a very popular show about addiction and some of the stories they tell hit close to home. It’s interesting to watch the progression of someone’s addiction and recovery.
Sometimes, people don’t always get clean. That show doesn’t sugar coat anything or make it seem like every story is a success story. Unfortunately, with drug addiction, there are not always happy endings.
Despite all the treatment options and resources, the drugs can be too powerful for some people to overcome.
I watched the film “Leaving Las Vegas” when I was in treatment, and it had a big effect on me as well. Nicholas Cage plays an alcoholic screenwriter who goes to Las Vegas to drink himself to death.
The thing that hit me about that film was it was based on a true story. It was originally written as a loose autobiography by John O’Brien, who himself was an alcoholic.
He committed suicide not long before the film adaption of “Leaving Las Vegas” was released. That book and film show how it can be very easy to succumb to your addiction and lose hope. It’s a bleak reality that a lot of addicts face.
Film vs. Reality in Depicting Addiction
It can be hard to separate reality from fiction sometimes. When you’re watching any movie, you are suspending disbelief and accepting that what you’re seeing is fantasy.
It can be the same with films about addiction. Sometimes a lot of Hollywood films don’t always show addiction in an honest light. They don’t take the time to fully focus on the process.
I’ve found that independent films often have more substance to them. For anyone who has suffered from drug addiction, it can be a very difficult thing to replicate on film. No matter how good a movie is about addiction, you have to remember it is a movie.
There are a lot of movies that center on addiction, however, there are not as many movies about sobriety itself. A lot of these films show the entire journey instead of focusing on the result.
It’s not hard to understand why. Beyond having to be entertaining, movies have to have a structure that shows a whole character’s arc. It’s more interesting to show someone from the beginning of their addiction to the end of it.
“Clean and Sober” starring Michael Keeton is a good example of a movie that focuses more on sobriety. “Everything Must Go,” an occasionally humorous look at alcoholism starring Will Ferrell, is another well-rounded look at the real-life struggles of someone with a substance abuse dependency.
Any good movie about addiction should come from a real place. You can tell if the filmmakers did their research or not. Some key things make a good movie about addiction.
A good movie about drugs or alcohol should show you the dark side of addiction. It should show you a character transforming into a different person. You truly are a different individual when you are deep into substance abuse.
Nothing matters except the drug. Anything beyond getting high is a chore. If a movie about addiction captures this well, then it’s worth checking out.