Addiction-Related Movies Are At An All-Time High
You know something has officially hit the mainstream when Hollywood comes calling. And with the opioid crisis front-and-center in today’s headlines, it’s no surprise that movie and television studios are rushing to bring more stories about it to the masses. Everything from documentaries, to heavy dramas, to Netflix binge shows are being produced at a rapid pace in the hopes of piquing public interest.
MarketWatch.com put out an interesting article that kind of sums up this latest trend. They noted that Hollywood has visited addiction many times over the decades, with the 1980’s being a particularly prolific period (highlighting famous films like Less Than Zero, Bright Lights Big City and Clean and Sober).
Now, however, another wave is being ushered in. This year alone saw the release of movies like The Glass Castle (featuring Oscar-winner Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson), Stronger (with Jake Gyllenhaal), Smalltown Crime and the upcoming The Tribes of Palos Verdes featuring Jennifer Garner and Alicia Silverstone. All touch upon drugs, painkillers and alcoholism in a significant way.
On the documentary front, Marketwatch has pointed out two films which particularly focus on opioids. HBO’s Meth Storm follows users in working class neighborhoods and points out the “endless cycle of addiction, poverty and incarceration.” We’ve actually seen it already and highly recommend setting aside time for a viewing.
The complete Meth Storm trailer is below.
Another doc called Heroin(e) has already arrived on Netflix and illustrates the deadliness of shooting up. Offering an intimate glimpse of real first responders and recovery patients, it does provide some home amid the disparity of the crisis. You can watch that trailer below as well.
The Marketwatch piece made a point to interview a few industry insiders as well; as a way to understand the increase in addiction-related media content. Though studios certainly have the bottom dollar in mind, analyst Paul Dergarabedian believes the trend is driving an artistic creative need as well.
“Filmmakers like to reflect on, and be inspired by, what’s going on around them and with the opioid crisis affecting so many people, it’s no wonder they’re attracted to this subject in increasing number,” Dergarabedian told the site. “Addiction is rife with cinematic and humanistic sensibilities.”
And interestingly enough, this topic is also becoming more prominent in the theatre world. Over in New York, more and more Broadway shows are beginning to tackle addiction. Plays like Downtown Race Riot (featuring Chloe Sevigny) and People, Places and Things are receiving rave reviews and drawing in big crowds.
If stories like these offer heartfelt interpretations and bring more attention to the crisis, then we support them wholeheartedly.