In Brooklyn, parallel stories are told of four people who, despite their aspirations for something greater, find themselves imprisoned in their respective drug addictions. Harry Goldfarb (Jared Leto) is a heroin junkie who believes he can make it big as a drug dealer along with his best friend Tyrone C. Love (Marlon Wayans). Harry’s girlfriend Marion Silver (Jennifer Connelly) gets caught up in his drug-centric world and would do just about anything to feed her cocaine addiction. Meanwhile, Harry’s lonely, widowed mother Sara (Ellen Burstyn) develops her own addiction to diet pills, in an effort to lose a drastic amount of weight for a prospective television appearance.
I like the way I feel. I like thinking about the red dress and the television and you and your father. Now when I get the sun, I smile.
Movies have the ability to transport the viewer to worlds they’re unfamiliar with, whether it’s in a galaxy far, far away, or just in a different state of mind. Requiem for a Dream definitely falls into the latter category, showing the underbelly of drug addiction, something I’m personally unfamiliar with. Going into the film, I thought it’d be solely focused on addiction to hard drugs, but it also showed the dangers of becoming too dependent on seemingly harmless pills. Ellen Burstyn’s storyline elevates the film from just being another “drugs are bad” message movie. She gives an outstanding performance as a woman trying to achieve her dream of being a beautiful figure on TV; it’s hard to watch at times, as she struggles to keep a handle on her sanity.
Requiem for a Dream is one of those films that I always see constantly hailed as one of the best made in modern times, and after watching it for myself, I can see why others have praised it. Admittedly, while I admire most of the film’s technical aspects, it’s a film I can’t fully get behind. Maybe it’s because of the bleak subject matter and its presentation of the ugliest aspects of our world, but for me, it was just too overbearing a lot of the time, much of which I attribute to the film’s redundant editing techniques. Still, without the redundancy, I suppose one couldn’t fully get the idea of the gruesome cycle drug addiction takes on an individual, and it made watching the movie a much more harrowing experience. Overall, I do think it’s a well-made movie and I’m glad to say I finally sat down to watch it… it’s just a movie that I don’t plan on watching again.
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Directed by: Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans
Oscar Nominations: Best Actress (Ellen Burstyn)
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