The addiction recovery process can be one of the most difficult times of a person’s life. It may seem hopeless at times and it is extremely hard to be positive all the time. If you are struggling to find motivation or inspiration, you should consider watching movies that relate to addiction. However, it is important to be careful when choosing which movies to watch because they may induce certain emotions.
We have compiled a list of the best movies about addiction. Make sure to read the descriptions of each title so that you can decide if it is right for you. These movies highlight aspects of substance use, addiction, and recovery. Some of these movies may trigger relapse in some people, so use precaution when choosing a movie from this list. If you or a loved one are battling addiction, call us today
A Star is Born (2018)
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga star in this 2018 drama about a country singer who falls in love with an artist who has given up on her dream to make it big. Jack (Bradley Cooper) helps Ally (Lady Gaga) reignite her passion and boosts her into the spotlight. Jack suffers from alcoholism and drug use, which affects his life and relationships throughout the film.
This movie details the disturbing reality of long-term addiction. It shows the effects of substance use not only on yourself but on those around you. Watching this movie may not make you feel positive emotions, but it is a great reality check for those who are dealing with addiction.
In this crime drama, two undercover cops are tasked with finding a major drug dealer and turning him in. Instead, the pair fall into drug addiction themselves and are consumed by substance use. The movie details their journey from cops to junkies and depicts the devastating effects of drugs.
This movie is more of a thriller and is very fast-paced. It can be enjoyable to watch because of the action and excitement, but it has grave undertones. Substance use can easily take hold of your life, and Rush does a great job of capturing this. Even if you only use drugs once, it can wrap you up in a world of addiction.
Everything Must Go (2010)
Will Ferrell stars in this movie that strays away from his usual comedic roles. He plays the role of Nick, an alcoholic salesman who loses his job, family, and house because of his constant drinking. Instead of trying to fix his problems, Nick is content sitting on his front lawn drinking beer. During his time living outside, Nick befriends a neighborhood kid and a pregnant woman who help him along his journey to recovery.
Everything Must Go is far different than any other Will Ferrell movie you may have seen, but he does a fantastic job in this role. You watch a broken shell of a man slowly rediscover his purpose in life while building meaningful relationships. It is not an action-packed movie, but it captures the real-life battle of alcoholism and the effect it can have on people around you.
Beautiful Boy (2018)
Nic (Timothee Chalamet) and his father David (Steve Carrell) are the main characters in this heart-wrenching film that follows a story of drug use, rehab, and relapse. Nic becomes addicted to hard drugs as a teenager and David does not know how to help him. David tries everything to help his son stay away from drugs, but Nic is unable to control his addictive urges.
This movie is extremely powerful and may be difficult to watch for some people. It is definitely worth watching, as it contains a powerful message about the effects of addiction on a family.
Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) is an airline pilot who has a severe drug and alcohol problem that has led to his family estranging him. After a flight malfunction, Whip lands the plane and saves 96 out of 102 passengers. In the hospital, alcohol and cocaine are found in his system and he faces a potential life sentence. This movie mainly follows his life before trial and depicts the severity of substance use.
Flight is a movie that shows an extreme situation where substance use can affect your life. Whip Whitaker thought that his addiction would have no effect on a routine flight. Even though the plane crash was not caused by his substance use, he was still unsafely operating the plane. Denzel Washington does a great job portraying the struggle of long-term addiction. In the movie, it takes a significant event for Whip to realize his problem, but it benefits his well-being in the long run.
Uncut Gems (2019)
Adam Sandler stars as Howard Ratner, a gems dealer who finds himself hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt because of his gambling addiction. Throughout the movie, Howard uses whatever money he makes to place bets he can’t afford. Although he wins some of these bets, the money is quickly gambled away. As the movie goes on, you watch the ups and downs of a man consumed by gambling addiction. It has serious effects on every aspect of his life including relationships, job, and finances.
While drug and alcohol addiction are taken seriously in our society, gambling addiction is not given the same attention. In most cases, it is glamorized and seen as a quick way to make money. In reality, it affects the brain in the same way as any addiction would. Gambling addiction is a serious problem that has become increasingly popular among the younger population. Things like sports gambling are easily accessible through online apps on mobile devices. It is extremely important that all addictions are taken seriously because they all have serious long-term consequences.
Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
This movie follows a man who loses everything because of alcoholism and heads to Las Vegas to drink himself to death. He meets a prostitute who he develops a relationship with but never attempts to get better. At first, they agree not to intervene with each other’s habits, but they quickly begin to face serious problems. This tragic story shows how painful it can be when you or someone you love is suffering from addiction.
If you are affected by alcoholism in any way, this movie could potentially trigger strong emotions. There are very few scenes that spark hope or positivity. Although the events in the movie are not based on a single person, there are many who end up going down this path. When alcoholism consumes a person’s life, it becomes the number one priority in their life. When battling substance abuse, you should never go through it alone. It is important to seek professional help and lean on those that are close to you.
Clean and Sober (1988)
Michael Keaton stars in this film as a cocaine and alcohol addict that checks himself into rehab to hide from the police. He is attempting to escape legal authorities after waking up with a woman who has died from an overdose. Additionally, he stole a large sum of money from his job in order to pay off his drug debt. After checking into rehab, he realizes that it may be what he needs after all.
One of the most difficult parts of rehab is admitting that you need help. Addiction completely consumes a person’s life and rehab is designed to reverse these effects. For most people to fully recover, it takes multiple attempts at rehab and treatment. This movie depicts an extreme situation that may occur from substance use, but many people downplay the severity of addiction. You always hear the stories of famous people and their substance use, but in reality, it is happening everywhere. It is important to take serious precautions when dealing with drugs, even if they are prescription drugs.
Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
A group of junkies, led by Bob (Matt Dillon), travel across the country robbing pharmacies to fuel their drug addiction. Their activities come to a halt when a member of the group dies from a drug overdose. After this tragedy, Bob decides to leave this life in the past and go clean. This proves to be difficult when an old peer begins to stalk Bob and hound him for drugs.
This movie shows just how dark a world of substance abuse can be. Ultimately, addiction will have a severe impact on your life if you do not seek treatment. A major part of treatment is engaging in relationships that are positive and encouraging. If you continue to hang around people who fuel your negative habits, recovery will be nearly impossible. It is important to surround yourself with people that want the best for you and understand your struggle.
This 2019 film follows the life of superstar Elton John, predominantly during his breakthrough years. His battle with substance use and sex addiction stems from trauma suffered in his early years. Living in a dysfunctional household while also figuring out his sexual orientation led him down a path of abuse. Even though Elton John eventually experienced great success, he found himself heavily addicted to drugs and sex. This goes to show that those who are famous and rich do not have perfect lives.
This is an important movie to watch because it will give you a new perspective on this rock legend. Elton John has been sober for over 30 years now and has set up foundations to help those dealing with drug addiction along with his efforts to find a cure for AIDS. He had to sacrifice important things in his life to leave his demons in the past, but it has led to a serious increase in his well-being. Even though this movie may be hard to watch at times, it shows the journey of a recovered addict. These kinds of stories will benefit those going through similar struggles.
Find Help for Addiction at Live Free in New Hampshire
Movies about addiction can be motivational for some but triggering for others. Dealing with addiction alone is challenging and unnescessary. At Live Free, we want you to know that you are always welcome and never judged. We can help. If you or a family member is dealing with addiction, please reach out today.