One thing is certain today, time has changed and there’s an evolution in the cultural perception of alcohol and drug addiction. This ailment continues to wreck the lives of nearly 24 million people in the United States alone, that’s not including the countless many who suffer emotionally while trying to support their loved ones battling addiction.
In order to discontinue the preservation of outdated stigmas as well as the false information surrounding addiction. There’s a need to accurately portray what addiction truly is, and it is no surprise to see writers, artists, directors, and producers working continuously on making films that address the menace of addiction.
After searching and sifting through the good, bad, and awful here’s a list of the best movies about addiction and recovery.
Flight is a movie that’s pretty accurate about addiction as it depicts a very remarkable perspective on alcohol and drug addiction. Starring Denzel Washington as the main character is ostensibly a successful commercial pilot, whose secret battles with drugs and alcohol become disclosed publicly after a crash. Every action and inaction has properly presented the way an addict feels when placed in a tough situation that’s leading to exposure of their addiction. Despite his miraculous landing after the crash, saving lives on board yet his addiction seemed to outweigh his heroism to the general public. While that’s very sad, the judgment and blame often placed on addicts by folks who don’t understand addiction. This movie among many things also brings to light the reality of living a reasonably functioning life of a drug addict, as so many among us don’t even recognize addiction as an issue until it’s no longer a secret. The main takeaway here is simply acceptance.
When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story (2010)
Barry Pepper and Wynona Ryder were perfectly placed to act the roles of Lois and Bill. This movie is another depiction of the downside of addiction/alcoholism, and it gets it right. The character Lois without a doubt was the spine of Bill’s movement. Anyone who has read, the “AA Big Book” know about all the trials Lois went through. Her struggles were heavy and beyond Bill’s drinking, but even when he was soberly trying to develop a program that would transform lives.
An Australian indie also made it on our best movies about addiction list. Candy was released in 2006 and is another film that truly shows the addiction not just to alcohol and drugs but also to love. The movie has three segments that are: Heaven, Earth, and Hell, these describe two young lovers at the epicenter of a journey through addiction. There’s a deeply shared experience with drugs almost every addict can relate as they go through that is, from their first time using to the very last time in rehab. The movie also closely examines the relationship between romance and drug abuse, which unfortunately, so many times go hand-in-hand.
The movie Ray is mainly categorized in the biography genre that tells the story of the late Ray Charles, but a huge part of Ray’s story has to do with his addiction to heroin which makes this worthy to be on our list. The movie doesn’t exactly get into details about Ray’s addiction and recovery, but it’s a good story all the same. In the movie, his drinking, using associates to either yield to their addiction or they chose to get clean. That’s a genuine view of the legendary recovery saying “Jails, institutions or death”.
Initially released in 2001, the movie Blow is a personification of the life of George Jung, who was a notorious cocaine kingpin that reigned from the early 1970’s to mid-1980. Although this is basically categorized as a crime drama, it certainly is more like a movie about addiction. Its documentary nature gives a real insight of the struggles that George Jung had to face both emotionally, physically and judicially with addiction. Even though he had money and power, the mere possibility of losing it all couldn’t keep George off cocaine. His descent into madness as a result of drug addiction quickly takes over center stage in the movie, which truthfully did depict the ugly side of cocaine as it was so popular at that time.
28 Days (2000)
It may come as a surprise to many, but Sandra Bullock played the most adorable alcoholic and drug addict. Words that almost contradict each other and ironic for there’s almost nothing adorable in real life about addicts, yet as the movie progresses the depth of Bullock’s character is candidly revealed. This movie deals with quite a number of issues recovering addicts can relate with as well as anyone who find themselves in rehab. The supporting cast tends to be both tragic and quirky at the same time. The climactic end, which Gwen calls upon her “Higher Powers” was well executed in such a manner that anyone who’s ever experience such a moment would totally understand. While there’s a lot of laughter in this movie, you might need to keep some tissue nearby as there are certain raw emotional moments anyone in recovery can relate to. The ailment of addiction really knows no bounds and can happen to almost anyone.
Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas (1998)
Debuted in 1998, this movie centers on two men who artfully embark on a psychedelic binge of using drugs in the city of Las Vegas. It’s really a movie about addiction because in spite of their situation worsening a result of their drug use. The duo chooses to take even more psychedelic drugs as a solution to their impending problems. It precisely and almost perfectly illustrates the insanity of addiction, and the various types of chaotic circumstances addicts frequently find themselves in.
My Name Is Bill W. (1989)
We’ve saved the best for last, with the movie about Bill W, the founder of AA. My Name is Bill W, went from a book to a made for television movie about the founder of AA himself, Bill W. This movie is a brilliant depiction of Dr. Bob and Bill’s journey, which gave birth to the powerful global movement of Alcoholics Anonymous. Just in case you don’t get to watch many of the movies listed here, this one comes very highly recommended, and is considered a must-watch movie on addiction.
With so much distortion of information continually circulating with regards addiction, it’s important to appreciate the movies that truthfully show addiction in the raw, unpleasant, and destructive form it is, rather than the glamorous and fun way that’s more popular. It’s imperative that drug abuse and addiction should be seen for what it really is so viewers can better understand what we are really dealing with.
Let’s also take a moment of silence for those suffering addicts and alcoholics, for their struggle is very real. And once we begin to perpetuate the facts by helping people to understand it more holistically, then we can truly begin fighting back addiction.