Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Addiction Films in 2013

The Sundance Film Festival in Utah ended Sunday and drug and alcohol addiction were a central theme of this year’s festival. Recent PTR Blogs have covered films of 2012 that depicted addiction and recovery and we are excited to see more film portrayals of addiction and mental health disorders that educate the public, reduce stigma and spark discourse that otherwise may be considered taboo. The films at Sundance this year reportedly covered topics from porn and sex addiction to depression and anxiety.

For example, in Don Jon's Addiction, the increasingly popular actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a man with a heavy porn addiction whilst being in a relationship with innocent women (Scarlett Johansson) who prefers romantic comedies. Commenting on the movie that he wrote and directed, Gordon-Levitt said, “I wanted to tell a love story. . . what gets in the way of love is people objectifying each other.” He said that he tried to portray addiction in the film through the objectification of characters and added, “I think people objectify lots of things, whether it’s about connecting with another person, friends and family, your spirituality...Rather than really connecting with it, people turn it into an object they can consume, and that’s what this movie is about.”

The other films included Crystal Fairy, in which characters use mescaline on a road trip through the Chilean Desert, Kill Your Darlings which portrays the life of the young Allen Ginsburg and the beat generation through the lens of alcohol and benzedrine abuse, and a film called Touchy Feely about a massage therapist who uses ecstasy to drown out his anxiety and depression.

Whether or not these films glorify drug use or show the true grit of addiction as Flight and Smashed did - or if any of the films show the idiosyncrasies of mental illness the way Silver Linings Playbook did is unknown. However, we hope that movies about addiction and mental illness continue to thrive, provide realistic portrayals and spark necessary discourse. Stay tuned for our reviews of these movies in 2013...

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