Movie Requiem for a Dream by Darren Aronofsky

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There are many examples of movies in modern cinema that were filmed to show viewers the way of life that can bring an individual to the very bottom of human nature. Addiction is a movie motif that causes the viewer to reevaluate their lives and learn from their mistakes. The subject of this paper is the addiction of the main character in the film Requiem for a Dream and the complications that it created.

Background of Requiem for a Dream

Requiem for a Dream, directed by Darren Aronofsky, is rightfully known as a generational and intellectual film that incorporates elements of Trainspotting (McDonald and McDonald, 2000). The major themes, touched by the director in the movie, are at the heart of modern youth: media, addiction, drugs and sex (McDonald and McDonald, 2000). However, beyond that, Requiem for a Dream is a reflection on drug addiction. The life of the major character depends upon his addiction and each event is related to his desire to be established in life.

The Addiction of Harold Goldfarb

Harold Goldfarb, casted by Jared Leto, is a major character of the movie. This is the person, for whom drug addiction has become an inevitable part of life. He is a university graduate, however, he uses drugs with his friend Tyrone and his girlfriend Marianne. Initially, the use of drugs is presented in the movie as jokey and a festive escape from reality. Harold has started using drugs voluntarily in order to feel the contrast. He has everything, required for good and prosperous life; however, it is not enough for him. At the beginning, Harold was suing drugs for joy, but he becomes obsessed with the idea of selling drugs, since he and Tyrone are planning to earn some money. Harold is a major drug consumer. However, he does not blame anyone in his addiction, but he did not try to change anything. On the example of the movie, we see how destructive the drug abuse can be. It makes the person weak and deprived of the desire to change anything. In case with Harold, he was morally crushed and had no power to confront his addiction, as it has gotten hold of him completely.

Complications and Consequences

Addiction of Harold caused problems with his relations with his mother, friends and girlfriend. At the beginning, when the level of addiction was not so high, everything seemed fine; however, drugs and addiction did not have mercy on Harold's relations with surrounding. Eventually, Harold gave up his dream of respect, career, and love and made his girlfriend prostitute for dope. This is the beginning of their moral collapse. Because of the severe addiction, Marian became in a downward step of degradation (Requiem for a Dream, 2000). First, she started prostituting herself to one drug dealer, but ended up giving such services to all his associates.

Health Problems and Symbolism

In addition to problems with surrounding and relationships with close people, Harold's abuse caused him considerable health problems. He is suffering from arm gangrene, and his arm is going to be amputated. It is used as a symbol of the power of the drugs and their destructive role in the life of the person.

Destruction of Dreams

The most prominent feature of the movie is the ability of Aronofsky to show the insight of each character, who is trapped inside his obsession (McDonald and McDonald, 2000). The director managed to show that addiction is destructive in many ways. It is able to crush the person completely and deprive her of everything. We see how each character is lying down, losing his moral and mind, playing his obsession in his head with a look of desperation. Finally, we see that abuse leads to the crash and loss of hopes. Requiem for a Dream is more than a movie about addiction and the horrors it engenders (McDonald and McDonald, 2000). The movie shows the requiem for the doomed characters and their failed dreams. The major idea of the movie is to show how drugs can lead the person down and make her lose dreams and life.

Addressing the Problem of Drug Addiction

The problem of drug addiction and abuse is not new in modern society. There were many steps, taken to attract attention to the problem; however, drugs are killing more and more lives every year. Requiem for a Dream is one of the numerous attempts to make people change their lives and realize the threats of drug obsession. There are many ways to confront drug addiction and address this problem. Movies, depicting lives of the drug addicts are able to show people how life can be spoiled and dreams can be crushed.


There are the ways of treatment of the addicted individuals and many of them are provided in the centers of rehabilitation for addicts. They can be provided with the medical treatment and psychological support, which could help them overcome the most difficult moments in life. In general, drug addiction is the most widely spread problem of modern society, so it requires attention and urgent solutions to be taken to prevent its further spread. Drug addiction can be solved with the help of a mixture of measures, including medical intervention and psychological support of the addicts. It is necessary to attract as many people as possible to help in the fight with the problem, and such movies as Requiem for a Dream help demonstrate the baneful influence of drug addiction on life and health of a person.


McDonald, A. and McDonald, G. (2000). “Hugh Selby’s Requiem for a Dream.” Creative Screenwriting, p.32-34

Requiem for a Dream. Dir. Darren Aronofsky. Perf. Ellen Burstyn, et al. 2000. DVD.

October 25, 2022

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