In the movie industry, addiction is often used as a theme or subtheme. Whether part of a true story or used to add emotional depth, it’s typically displayed in a negative manner. The focus can be narrowed to only show a character’s fall into addiction and rarely do movies portray addiction from a realistic point-of-view. Here are a few movies about recovery that provide multiple perspectives of addiction.
“All of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.” –Davis from Grand Canyon (1991)
My Name is Bill W
My Name is Bill W is a movie released in 1989 and is based on the life of one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. Bill Wilson (James Wood), one of the founders of AA, is the main character of the film. It is a story of Wilson’s successful business career decimated by his overbearing alcoholism. Wilson tried many times to stay sober through a variety of means but inevitably failed. The climax of the movie is when Wilson meets a man named Dr. Bob (James Garner). The first meeting between these two men is when AA was created. This is a must see for anyone in sobriety, family members and loved ones affected by alcoholism.
The Basketball Diaries
The Basketball Diaries is a true story based on the life of Jim Carroll. A young Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the main character. Jim Carroll, a teenager and successful basketball player, soon finds his dreams smashed. A story of a basketball player turned homeless heroin addict. Falling deep into the depths of addiction, he finds himself selling his body to support his habit. Carroll ends up in jails and mental institutions. He will have a chance to regain his sanity; the road will be long and difficult.
Airline pilot Whip Whitaker (Washington) miraculously lands his plane after a mid-air catastrophe but questions arise as to who or what was really at fault. The film follows Whip and his journey with addiction and recovery. He struggles with alcohol and cocaine abuse among many other substances, and struggles to repair his relationship with his coworkers and family.
Transpotting was released in 1996. The main character Renton (Ewan McGregor) is a teen and active drug addict in Edinburgh, UK. He is a heroin addict, but has decided to clean up despite outside influences. The films tours through the depths of Edinburgh all while keeping Renton’s struggle the main focus. Renton gives sobriety many attempts but he fails countless times. The pressure from his friends is too much. Finally he realizes he needs to make a choice, should he leave his friends in Edinburgh to get sober or stay on the path he’s currently on?
Requiem for a Dream
Requiem for a Dream is a film that was released in 2000. Among movies about recovery, this is the most graphic portrayal of four paralleled individuals trapped in the tragic cycle of addiction. It is a dark and controversial film but is necessary. This eye opening experience will take you into the realities of four addicts. The real life portrayal creates awareness and criticism alike. You will see the subculture that these addicts reside in and witness their attempts to change. Heartbreaking and shocking, their struggles shine light on a growing global pandemic.
Movies About Recovery Can Inspire Treatment
Movies about recovery can be the inspiring push that people need to seek recovery. Morningside Recovery is a leader in the fields of mental health and addiction treatment. We offer many addiction treatment services, including:
If you or a loved one are struggling with heroin addiction and need help, please don’t hesitate to call. You may reach us at (855) 631-2135. Our helpline is open 24/7 and our treatment specialists will assist you in finding the right treatment option for you.