Study Guide

Requiem for a Dream Drugs and Alcohol

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Drugs and Alcohol

You've heard of the term "gateway drug." If you haven't, it's basically a drug that will lead to other harder drugs.

For example, you've just said "no" to Starbucks for years. But one Monday, you decide to order a latte. What harm could it do? By Friday, you've worked your way up to a Venti-white-chocolate-mocha-with-extra-whip. Before you know it, your friends and family hardly recognize you, and the barista's crying.

Lattes (and drugs) are a slippery slope. Darren Aronofsky knows this. In Requiem for a Dream, he shows his characters going from using drugs to hitting the rockiest of bottoms in the blink of an eye. Can you say slippery slope? Aronofsky lines the slope with banana peels and watches his characters careen downhill at breakneck speed.

Questions About Drugs and Alcohol

  1. What are the positive effects of drugs for each character? What draws them to using?
  2. What filmmaking techniques does Requiem for a Dream use to show viewers what its characters feel like while high?
  3. What are the consequences of drug use for each character? Who do you think suffers the worst fate?
  4. Do you think Requiem for a Dream is an accurate portrayal of addiction? How does it change the way you look at drugs?

Chew on This

There are no "good" drugs in Requiem for a Dream. Everything from diet pills and marijuana to heroin is shown to have terrible consequences. Requiem for a Dream is more about addiction than it is about drugs themselves. Addiction is universal, and people of all ages and backgrounds can have addictions.

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