Along the years, there have been many films featuring drug addiction in one way or another. From David Aronofsky’s “Requiem for a Dream” to Danny Boyle’s “Trainspotting”, and all the way to the severely underrated “The Basketball Diaries” by Scott Kalvert, viewers have been exposed to all the possible versions of substance abuse. But there are many other types of addiction out there that viewers haven’t gotten to see as much of. In this article, we are going to review the three main types of addiction films that you should really consider watching.
Hollywood loves the gambling industry. From “Casino” to “Ocean’s Eleven” to “Maverick”, the 90’s and the early 2000’s have seen a flood of films centered on some part of the gambling industry. And it’s safe to say that they have explored pretty much everything from casinos to sports betting, and all the way to the lottery. 1994’s “It Could Happen to You”, which is one of the best films about the lottery ever made, has even managed to create an urban fairytale that springs from a winning lottery ticket. But when it comes to films about gambling addiction, the list is far shorter. Some of the memorable ones were “The Gambler”, which is a modern Dostoyevsky adaptation, 2007’s “Even Money”, and 2003’s “Owning Mahowny” starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
Over the years, there have been extremely few films about sex addiction because it could prove quite difficult to adapt this theme for the big screen due to film rating issues sprung from the required racy content. Lars Von Trier’s “Nymphomaniac”(Part 1 and 2) is by far the most iconic film about sex addiction because it displays a comprehensive rendition of this type of addiction, from its development process and throughout the series of changes that it has with every stage of adulthood. But while Lars Von Trier’s daring film remains an encyclopedia about sex addiction, there is one other film that has managed to capture the immense struggle that comes with it. Steve McQueen’s “Shame” starring Michael Fassbender is an in-depth depiction of the emotional torture that comes with nymphomania, which makes it just as relevant for this category as Lars Von Trier’s film.
This is yet another theme that has had its turn on Hollywood’s golden list back in the 90’s and the early 2000’s, but more as a supporting element rather than the central theme. Anorexia should be interpreted as so much more than an eating disorder. It is the addiction to a certain self image and it triggers an entire cohort of self-destructive behavioral patterns in those who have it. Even today, anorexia continues to be a neglected disorder, but 10 or 20 years back we were still in the dark about its complexity. Some of the memorable films about anorexia are 2003’s “Hunger Point” starring Christina Hendricks, 1993’s “Perfect Body”, and 2003’s “This”. But 2017 finally brings anorexia in the spotlight in “To the Bone”, starring Lilly Collins and Keanu Reeves, as it promises to provide a comprehensive rendition of the disorder.
As you can see, there are so many other types of addition that deserve some serious on-screen time. In the following years, we hope to see more films like “Shame” and “Nymphomaniac”, which can get viewers familiarized with the complexity of addiction.