Requiem for a Dream (2000)
October 18, 2022 1:12 PM - Subscribe

The hopes and dreams of four ambitious people are shattered when their drug addictions begin spiraling out of control. A look into addiction and how it overcomes the mind and body. The feel-good film of 2000!

Starring Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans, Christopher McDonald, Keith David, Louise Lasser.

Directed by Darren Aronofsky. Scrrenplay by Hubert Selby, Jr. and Darren Aronofsky, based on the novel by Selby, Jr.

77% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on Plex and free with ads on Tubi, Redbox, Pluto TV, and FreeVee. Also available for digital rental on multiple outlets. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (22 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This movie is more upsetting than the vast majority of the horror films I have posted.

London-based digital agency Hi-ReS! made a memorably creepy website for this film, which is memorialized on YouTube by the Web Design Museum.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:14 PM on October 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

Lux Aeterna, the film's musical theme, is very striking.
posted by SPrintF at 1:48 PM on October 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

The final intercut sequence of the ECT, the emergency surgery, the jail and the bachelor party felt to me like being physically punched in the gut repeatedly when I saw it in 2000.
posted by infinitewindow at 2:59 PM on October 18, 2022

I simply didn't buy into its cloying and comic-book melodrama.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 3:10 PM on October 18, 2022 [3 favorites]

I'm not a fan at all. I thought it was way too over-baked and all of the visual stylistic tics drove me up a wall.
posted by octothorpe at 3:38 PM on October 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

This picture led to the breakup of my first marriage. My hand to god.
posted by holborne at 6:38 PM on October 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

This movie made me need to take multiple showers. blargh.
posted by drewbage1847 at 7:20 PM on October 18, 2022

I was supposed to see this with a friend and he stood me up and I saw it by myself and then walked home alone through the snow at night back to my apartment feeling like I had just been... Well, I don't know what. Hollowed out, maybe.
posted by kbanas at 7:37 PM on October 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

I really liked it and I'll never ever see it again.
posted by kbanas at 7:38 PM on October 18, 2022 [9 favorites]

I was so high when I saw this for the first time.

It was... intense.
posted by yonega at 8:33 PM on October 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

Least favorite use of Keith David in anything ever
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:11 PM on October 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

This is one of my favorite movies, and I will never watch it again.

On casting alone: Ellen Burstyn puts on a master clinic. Jared Leto makes for a fantastic strung-out deadbeat. This is probably the best performance Jennifer Connolly ever did.

The soundtrack is so goddamn amazing that I can't believe it doesn't get talked about more. Probably because Lord of the Rings lifted big pieces of Lux Aeterna for its own score, and in the ensuing 20 years it's become synonymous with big-budget films that use that central theme to connote tense action.

The visuals are incredibly over-the-top, and it's amazing. The first time you see the "shooting up" sequence, it's completely visually arresting. (I really wish I'd seen it in a theater, because I bet that sequence is even more powerful on a big screen) The second, third, fourth times? It's the same set of shots, in the same order. It just stops feeling so overwhelming and powerful. The fifth, sixth, seventh? It starts to grate on you a little bit. It's a visual metaphor for addiction.

That last scene is more disturbing than any horror movie I've ever seen, and it feels like it was inevitable from the moment the opening credits roll. Even thinking about this movie gives me a feeling of creeping dread. It's been 15 years since I last watched it. There aren't many works of art out there that have that effect on me.
posted by Mayor West at 6:55 AM on October 19, 2022 [3 favorites]

This picture led to the breakup of my first marriage. My hand to god.

So... congratulations? My condolences? Not sure what's the proper response...

I agree with most of the comments here, including those that found it over-the-top and/or pretentious. It walks the line between operatic tragedy and soap-operatic melodrama, and not always successfully. I certainly think in 2022 it probably reads more as the latter, whereas at the time, it was more ground-breaking. The worst thing about this movie is that it gave a whole generation of toxic bros the phrase "ass to ass!" as a slogan/cheer/joke.

Ellen Burstyn's performance is so traumatic and real that after watching this film, I felt like I needed to call her right away and make sure she's OK (not that I know her or have her phone number, but you get what I'm saying).
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:31 AM on October 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

I hated this movie for being dumb, false, far too over-boiled, and "drugs are bad m'kay?"
posted by porpoise at 11:18 AM on October 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

I was working at the Boston Phoenix and there were always passes and tickets to various things floating around. I got a pair to the premiere of this film. Despite working for an excellent little indie weekly with a formidable film section, I knew nothing of this movie or its plot. I took my seat dead in the center of the theater. As someone who has vasovagal syncope issues with exposure to violence and horror, I didn't realize until it was too late what a terrible, terrible decision I'd made. Needless to say, it was quite an evening. I can still see images from it in my mind and I haven't watched it sisnce.
posted by mykescipark at 11:33 AM on October 19, 2022

I hated this movie for ... "drugs are bad m'kay?"

Yeah, that's something I didn't think about at the time but read in a critique years later, and it is a fair point.

Anyone read the original novel? I'm curious as to the difference in tone between the two.
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:08 PM on October 19, 2022

I haven't read the book--Selby's books are themselves notoriously rough sledding--but Selby did have issues with alcohol and drug addiction. I should hope that, rather than dismissing it as mere drug-war agitprop, people can accept that it does accurately portray a lot of people's experiences with drugs.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:03 PM on October 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

I actually did read the novel after watching this (and then read a whole bunch of other Selby works, and then washed out my mouth and gave my brain some long showers).

This is, hands-down, the single most accurate and complete movie adaptation of a novel I have ever seen. There are a few small tweaks to Jennifer Connelly’s character and arc, and some tiny adjustments around the supermarket scene. That’s IT. No deleted chunks, no composite characters, no pruned side plots.

Every single fancy bit of filmmaking in this movie serves the goal of getting the Whole. Damn. Book. onscreen. The rapid fire motifs. The splitscreen conversations. The season jumps. All of it is in service to the book and to compressing the whole book into movie form instead of adapting a novella’s worth of the book.

(Which, let’s be honest, is grimy and street-level and holds a strong vibe, but is not in itself any kind of masterpiece.)
posted by sixswitch at 6:51 PM on October 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

single most accurate and complete movie adaptation of a novel

Whew. When I started reading "single most accurate..." I was dreading that ending with "... depiction of drug use."

We can still be friends.
posted by porpoise at 8:39 PM on October 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

I saw this in the theater with 5 other friends; 3 couples. I don't think any of us knew what it was about going into it. We walked in silence for a good five minutes before one of us said "well, they all got what they deserved."
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 11:35 AM on October 20, 2022

Love this movie, can't watch it anymore.

But I can watch this brilliant mashup with Toy Story, featuring "Dirtbag" by MeFi's Own Brad Sucks, aka frenetic.
posted by donnagirl at 1:31 PM on October 20, 2022 [1 favorite]

Two reasons I never slammed when I used drugs:

1. the person who got me started told me if I ever fucked with needles or opioids, we'd never speak again. (We don't speak now for... other reasons... but I kept my end of that bargain and have never used needles.)
2. this movie.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:44 AM on October 21, 2022 [2 favorites]

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