Requiem for a Dream is a harrowing film. Adapted from Hubert Selby Jr.’s novel by the author and director Darren Aronofsky, it looks into the different forms of addiction as experienced by a group of people. It’s not pandering or moralistic, but still manages to be one the most resolute ruminations on the subject of drugs of all types and what they can do to people.
There are uncomfortable truths about addiction in Requiem for a Dream, amongst them being that addicts are what they are because they believe the drugs help them, either to escape or achieve something they can’t do on their own. Addicts are unhappy and they need a way to feel better, if it’s only temporary. However, Sara Goldfarb has a plan. She’s going to be on TV..
You may note a slight sluggishness in the framing of Burstyn in this scene. This is down to cinematographer Matthew Libatique accidentally letting the camera drift off target during the filming. When Aronofsky called cut and confronted Libatique about ruining the shot, he found his cinematographer had been in tears through most of the monologue and did what he could to keep the camera right whilst quietly crying.
Sara has received a call inviting her to appear on a gameshow, prompting her to begin a dietary regiment of pills to lose weight so she can fit in her red dress, a favourite of her late husband. When her son Harry confronts her about the pills and what might happen to her, she offers up the only justification she can for why she needs to do this…