Fiction or real: 3 TV/film alcoholics and why they do it
There is often a stigma about alcoholism that makes it a difficult subject to discuss. There are many misconceptions about alcoholism that make people believe the alcoholic is simply making poor decisions. Alcoholism can make a person act highly irrational, selfish and self-centered, but it is important to remember that this is a legitimate disease. Luckily, there are some writers and directors that bring the disease of addiction to the mainstream through film and TV so that people can have a better understanding about what it’s like to have an addiction.
Flight – Whip Whitaker
In this award-nominated film, Denzel Washington plays an airline pilot, Whip Whitaker. The film begins showing Whip behaving like an alcoholic and indulging in drugs before flying a jet filled with passengers. A freak accident happens that causes the plane to lose control, but thanks to Whip’s experience and quick thinking he is able to save almost every passenger on the plane by landing it safely.
Unfortunately when he wakes up in the hospital, he discovers that there were miniature liquor bottles found and that he will be under investigation for drinking while flying the plane filled with passengers because a few people died. Although we discover that Whip had nothing to do with the reason the plane crashed, it is still against the law to fly a commercial jet while intoxicated.
The movie follows Whip through his struggles during these events that include both the investigation as well as his alcoholism. Flight does a great job of depicting the plight that an alcoholic deals with on a daily basis. Whip drinks when he doesn’t want to drink, he’s in denial about his alcoholism and can’t stop drinking even when he knows there will be consequences that could affect the investigation that could potentially send him to prison. The movie ends with his hearing, and although he is able to avoid the charges by lying, he surrenders to his alcoholism and confesses. The final scene shows him running an AA meeting in prison while he shares his experience, strength and hope.
Smashed – Kate Hannah
Smashed is an independent film that didn’t get much attention, but is a great film about a young woman who is trying to recover from her alcoholic lifestyle. Kate and Charlie are a young married couple whose relationship highly revolves around drinking. When Kate realizes that her life is unmanageable because of her alcoholic habit, she decides to try to get sober. The movie shows her struggles with trying to get sober while her husband doesn’t fully understand why. Kate attends AA meetings, befriends a man in the program who tries to sleep with her eventually and tries to learn how to live without the use of alcohol. This is a great movie for anyone who is in a relationship and trying to recover from alcoholism. Smashed shows that is possible to recover, with our without your spouse’s support.
28 Days – Gwen Cummings
Sandra Bullock plays Gwen Cummings in this light-hearted film about a young woman’s experience with being sent to a rehab center after her alcoholic deeds gets her in trouble with the law. Gwen is extremely resistant towards treatment, and doesn’t believe that she has a problem with her drinking. After being in treatment and meeting other people who are trying to recover from addiction as well, she begins to understand that she does have an alcoholic issue and needs help. After a failed attempt to escape the rehab, Gwen finds her roommate, a heroin addict, dead in their room after she relapsed. This was an unfortunate reality that Gwen had to face, namely that this disease can be fatal, but it motivates her to try and begin a life of sobriety.