Addiction is not a concept that is not new to playwrights, screenwriters, novelists, and songwriters alike. The circumstances surrounding addiction often provide the perfect arch for a story line. There is a tragic hero, in this case the person who really is a good person at heart, but just can’t overcome their fatal flaw-that being addiction. There are characters who provide the antithesis of what the protagonists needs to create tension and drama that leads to the climax of the plot.
There is always a problem, a struggle resolving the problem, and either a sad or happy ending. Unfortunately for most addiction based stories, the ending is not one that makes you cry tears of joy. Addiction is undoubtedly sad-but it sure does create a good movie.
Here are some of the most notable films about addiction to ever grace the silver screen:
Walk the Line
The classic Johnny Cash story. This movie came out in 2005 and Reese Witherspoon won an Oscar for best actress. The film was also nominated for many other Oscars including best editing and best costume design, though it did not win. The film did go on to win 44 awards, however.
The plot follows the tragic story of the infamous Johnny Cash who throughout his successful career became addicted to amphetamines and barbiturates. He used the substances to stay awake during tour. While substance abuse and addiction is common amongst entertainers, the use of drugs in Cash’s life fortunately didn’t lead to his cause of death. Cash died of complications from diabetes in 2003.
Who knows exactly why so many artists and entertainers alike fall prey to the clutches of drugs and alcohol. Though triggered by different things, the stressful and hectic lives that entertainers live can often lead them to believe that there is no other path from them.
One such man who fell under the spell and disillusionment of drugs was Ray Charles. The movie Ray was made in 2004 and stars actor Jamie Foxx as Ray himself. The film won 51 awards and was nominated for another 50 on top of that. It won the Oscar for best actor in a leading role and best sound mixing.
Charles went blind when he was 7 years old and lived smack dab in the middle of the depression. Not an easy life for any man, especially one in his position. He admitted to being a drug addict since the age of 16 when the police found narcotics, heroin and some other drugs in his possession.
The films are not easy to watch, but they’ve had a positive effect in showing viewers the cost the drugs put on a life. Some are able to get the help they need, others aren’t so lucky. As films continue to show the truth, hopefully others will heed the warning to steer clear of substances such as these.