Requiem for a Dream - Movie Review

Topics: Addiction, Heroin, Drug addiction Pages: 5 (2029 words) Published: April 26, 2011
Requiem for a Dream
Setting: Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn, NY
Brief summary of video content:
Requiem for a Dream follows four main characters, whose lives spiral out of control on drugs. Sara Goldfarb, played by Ellen Burstyn, is the mother to Harry, played by Jared Leto. His girlfriend in the movie is Marion Silver, played by Jennifer Connelly, and Harry’s best friend is Tyrone (Ty), played by Marlon Wayans. All four of them start using drugs and then wind up in the cycle of addiction. Harry, Ty, and Marion realize they can make some serious money selling heroin, so they start and do quite well for a short time. Their stash of money keeps growing. Marion is the only one who in the beginning questions the idea of selling, but she soon realizes she has access to an almost unlimited supply of heroin for herself. She snorts the heroin, whereas Harry and Ty mainline theirs. Now quickly about Harry’s mother, Sara Goldfarb: she is widowed, lives alone in a building with other senior women, and gets a call to go on an Infomercial Show she always watches on TV. When she submits her paperwork, she pulls out her favorite dress and realizes she needs to go on a diet. A friend suggests a local Doctor for diet pills and so begins Sara’s downward spiral, albeit on prescription speed. By the end of the movie, all of the characters are deep in their addictions. Sara Goldfarb does so much speed she hallucinates. As the heroin in their community dries up, Harry and Ty head out on a trip to Florida to buy some more heroin. They don’t get too far, as Harry’s shooting arm is abscessed and he needs immediate medical attention. At the hospital he and Ty get arrested. The final scene in the movie for Ty shows him detoxing off of heroin in jail. Harry’s last scene is in a hospital, waking up his arm has been amputated. Marion, who stays in New York, sells her body for a huge baggy of heroin, and in her last scene she is rolling up in the fetal position holding her dope. And finally, Sara Goldfarb, is institutionalized with a nervous breakdown, and receives electro-shock treatment. The last picture of Sara, she is in hospital garments, and has a blank stare on her face. Identification of the addictive substances used by movie characters and impact on behavior: The addictive substances in the movie are prescription amphetamines, sedatives, and heroin. There is also some sporadic marijuana use, although it is not the primary substance of addiction. For the three young characters their drug of choice was heroin. There are scenes in the movie which associate the preparation of the drug, the dosing, and then a picture of the persons eyeball as their pupil dilates. For Harry and Ty there is a brief close-up image of a lighter, a metal cup with water begins to boil, a brief sight of a needle, and then the drug entering the vein. Since Marion ingests her heroin differently there is a brief picture of powder heroin, then a dollar bill rolled up, lines of heroin on a mirror, and then the sound of snorting as we see the heroin disappear. This is followed with the camera zooming out and the audience can see the main characters lying on the floor in a drug-induced euphoria. Sara Goldfarb uses her prescription amphetamines, and similarly there is a close-up image of her taking the pills and then the camera focuses on her zipping around her apartment cleaning and such. At the end of the day she takes a different pill and quickly falls asleep in her chair. There is one scene where she is in bed and tossing and turning; obviously the sleeping pills had quit working and she has become unable to sleep.

Critical Analysis:
A. Description of the messages in the movie that relate to substance abuse.

The movie depicts substance abuse variously. For the three young characters their drug use seems recreationally fun; that quickly disappears as the characters find themselves addicted and strung out. For Sara Goldfarb, she does...
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