Addiction Is Ugly: 12 Movies That Accurately Portray Substance Abuse

It’s impossible not to know and love someone in addiction these days. It’s a terrible disease that is widespread. Many movies accurately depict the realities of substance abuse and how it affects the family. Here are some popular ones.

1. A Star Is Born (2018)

A Star Is Born
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

This movie is a musical drama that explores the bond between an older, struggling artist and a young, aspiring singer. It offers an honest and emotional portrayal of the highs and lows of fame, love, and addiction while examining the toll addiction has on their personal lives and the strain it places on their relationship.

2. When a Man Loves a Woman (1994)

When a Man Loves a Woman
Image Credit: Touchstone Pictures.

With Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia, the movie When a Man Loves a Woman examines a married couple’s challenges when the wife’s drinking endangers their family. It illustrates how addiction has affected their relationship, parenting, and road to recovery, underscoring the resiliency and courage needed to escape addiction’s hold.

3. Requiem for a Dream (2000)

Jared Leto Requiem for a Dream
Image Credit: Artisan Entertainment.

Requiem for a Dream is a gripping and frightening movie that follows the lives of four people whose drug addiction spirals out of control and negatively impacts their personal lives and their relationships with their families. The film reveals the terrible effects of addiction and its strong effect on both the addict and their loved ones through its objective and courageous portrayal.

4. Drugstore Cowboy (1989)

James Remar Drugstore Cowboy 1989
Image Credit: International Video Entertainment.

A group of drug addicts is followed in the gritty and gripping movie Drugstore Cowboy as they negotiate the underworld of drugstore robbery and addiction. It illustrates how addiction affects their lives, relationships, and ongoing effort to keep up their disastrous way of life.

5. Four Good Days (2020)

Four Good Days Mila Kunis
Image Credit: Vertical Entertainment.

Based on a true tale, the moving movie Four Good Days follows a woman and her daughter as they negotiate the difficulties of addiction and recovery. It demonstrates the helplessness and desperation felt by families living with substance abuse and illustrates the difficulties in restoring trust and finding hope amidst the upheaval.

6. The Basketball Diaries (1995)

Leonardo DiCaprio The Basketball Diaries
Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

The Basketball Diaries is a movie about a gifted high school basketball player who develops a drug addiction. It is set in the 1970s. His family faces the catastrophic consequences of his addiction and the harm it does to their relationships as his life falls apart.

7. Traffic (2000)

Erika Christensen Traffic 2000
Image Credit: USA Films.

Released in 2000, Traffic is a multi-layered movie that interweaves several interconnected stories to highlight drug addiction’s profound effects on society and families. It examines the difficulties law enforcement faces, the drug trade’s complexity, and the terrible effects of addiction on sufferers and the people close to them.

8. Ben Is Back (2018)

Lucas Hedges Ben Is Back 2018
Image Credit: LD Entertainment.

Ben is Back is an emotional drama in which a mother welcomes her drug-addicted son home on Christmas Eve. The movie explores the family’s difficulties as they get through a day full of surprises, disclosures, and a nagging fear of relapsing.

9. Beautiful Boy (2018)

Timothée Chalamet Beautiful Boy 2018
Image Credit: Amazon Studios.

Based on a true incident, the heartwarming movie Beautiful Boy examines the bond between a father and his drug-addicted son. It provides a soberingly accurate and tragic depiction of the toll addiction has on a family as they struggle with hopelessness, desperation, and the never-ending cycle of relapse and rehabilitation.

10. Running With Scissors (2006)

Brian Cox, Joseph Cross Running with Scissors 2006
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group.

Based on a memoir, Running with Scissors depicts a young man’s turbulent life in a dysfunctional household that is afflicted by mental illness and substance misuse. It presents a distinctive viewpoint on how addiction affects a dysfunctional family dynamic.

11. Gia (1998)

Gia 1998
Image Credit: HBO.

Gia is a biographical drama that examines the life of supermodel Gia Carangi before her drug addiction takes over. Her problems, the toll it takes on her relationships, and the disastrous effects of her addiction on both her personal and professional life are all explored in the movie.

12. Clean & Sober (1988)

Michael Keaton Clean and Sober 1988
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

The Michael Keaton-led movie Clean & Sober depicts a real estate agent who seeks help for his drug and alcohol addiction. The difficulties encountered during rehabilitation and the toll addiction takes on interpersonal relationships are realistically portrayed.

25 Incredible Films That Force You to Cry Every Time You Watch Them

Ghost Patrick Swayze Demi Moore
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Are you searching for a great film to get your beautiful eyes to tear up? I’m a sucker for a good cry fest. So here are 25 movies that make me cry every time I watch them. Will they get your eyes wet too?

15 Movies Boomers Admit They Were Actually Shown at School

Psycho Anthony Perkins
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Everyone knows the feeling of walking into the classroom and seeing the TV on the rolling stand. It was a feeling of pure joy; you were either watching a film for educational purposes or you were watching a film because the teacher didn’t want to work on their lesson plan. One way or another, you knew you were watching a movie that day.

10 Magnificent Performances That Tricked Us Into Loving Terrible Movies

Image Credit: Buena Vista Pictures.

Ready for some controversy? First, let me preface that I do NOT agree with several of the films listed on this list. Recently, an online film forum member asked about amazing performances in terrible films. Again, don’t hate the reporter. These are not my picks. Here is what they had to say. I know ya’ll…

20 Movies Guaranteed to Completely Blow Your Mind Wide Open

Blade Runner 1982 Harrison Ford
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

What’s the first mind-blowing movie you have ever seen? What’s your favorite thought-provoking film of all time? My favorite mind-bending film of all time is either Inception or The Mist. After someone asked for other examples in an online film forum, here is what moviegoers had to say.

10 Absolutely Amazing Black and White Movies That Are Worth Your Time

Arsenic and Old Lace
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Name a gem of a black-and-white movie. Now name a black-and-white movie that is an absolute must-see but no one has ever heard of. Here is a list of ten collectible black-and-white movies that you must watch.