Hollywood tends to exaggerate and glamorize stories in order to make them more marketable, especially in cases that involve sensitive topics like drug addiction. Addiction can be an emotional topic for many moviegoers because so many people are personally affected by it. Although many stories that feature addiction in it are embellished to be more entertaining, the reality of the disease often does not need further exaggeration.
Movies About Addiction
Movies about addiction take us to places we may have never visited on our own. While these movies may exaggerate some features of addiction, their exploration of the topic is important to understand the destructive nature of drug and alcohol use. Some movies that feature the effects of addiction include:
- Trainspotting: Trainspotting explores the nature of heroin addiction in a harrowing tale following a group of friends. The story follows friends through storylines that become increasingly grim as they progress. The film includes depictions of an infant dying due to neglect, the painful reality of withdrawal, and the contraction of HIV. Trainspotting also explores the desire to get clean and the difficulty of doing so when surrounded by enabling peers in a troubling environment.
- Traffic: Traffic is a modern story about the war on drugs. Following multiple storylines, over time, we see how all of the characters are connected to one another. A conservative judge is chosen to lead the Office of National Drug Control, but he is not aware of the fact that his own daughter struggles with a serious drug addiction. The story also follows a man involved with the cartel who is arrested. His wife chooses to act after realizing her husband’s true identity, which sets in motion a number of events with dramatic outcomes.
- The Basketball Diaries: This movie highlights the reach of drug addiction, depicting a story about high school boys becoming addicted to heroin. Starting the story as a basketball star with a team that seems unbeatable, the main character who occasionally got stoned with friends has spiraled into a world that involves stealing, robbing, and killing. As the story develops, he ends up in trouble with the law as many who struggle with addiction do.
- Requiem for a Dream: This movie follows the lives of four friends as their various addictions develop. Heroin and pills are viewed as a way to achieve their dreams, but over time, they end up losing everything. Drug abuse takes its toll on the characters’ physical and mental health, leaving them in a place where they can no longer be independent.
- Flight: Flight is the story of a pilot with a drug and alcohol addiction. While he has been able to sustain his job with his addiction for some time, a mechanical failure during a flight requires him to jump into action to save the lives of everyone on the plane. While only 6 people lost their lives in the incident, the mandatory investigation of the event causes his addiction to be revealed, resulting in charges being brought against him.
- Candy: This story follows the journey of a woman who falls in love with a free-spirited man. His lifestyle includes the use of drugs, which begins to consume the woman as well. While it starts off harmless, over time, they sink further into heroin addiction and begin lying, stealing, and manipulating loved ones to support the habit. Over time, the drug claims the life of a close friend and drives the two apart from one another.
- Everything Must Go: A man loses his job due to his alcoholism. Showing up drunk to work too many times, he arrives home to find all of his belongings out front. His wife has kicked him out and cut off access to finances. He pretends to be having a yard sale and takes up residence in the yard as he tries to figure out the future. As time passes, he begins to experience withdrawal symptoms and must come to terms with how his addiction cost him his life.
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: This movie follows a couple of men driving to Las Vegas with a suitcase filled with drugs. During their trip, they begin using numerous drugs and their behavior becomes increasingly erratic. The two men encounter countless bizarre situations that are fueled by the substance abuse and worsen over time.
- Gia: This movie follows an aspiring model on her journey to fame. She quickly rises to the top with the help of a powerful agent, but when her agent unexpectedly dies, she begins experimenting with drugs to cope with her emotions. While others attempt to intervene to help her, she begins using more dangerous drugs and eventually contracts HIV from a shared needle. Ultimately, she dies from complications with AIDs.
- 28 Days: This film follows the story of a woman who struggles with alcoholism. While those around her notice she drinks a lot, she does not believe she has a problem. Once her alcoholism interferes with her sister’s wedding day, she is forced to face the reality of her substance abuse and take it more seriously. When faced with the choice of entering rehab or going to jail, she begins her journey in recovery and learns how to make amends with her loved ones.