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Parents' Guide to

Requiem for a Dream

By Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Shocking, grim addiction saga worth discussing.

Movie R 2000 102 minutes
Requiem for a Dream Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 15 parent reviews

age 15+

This movie should be mandatory for every teenager.

I first saw this movie when I was a teen. I only saw it once, but once was more than enough - it left a lasting impression on me and I never once desired to try drugs or alcohol after watching it. This is a very real, very gruesome and explicit look at what drugs do to people. The main characters start out looking vibrant, healthy, mostly cheerful, with dreams for their future; after becoming addicted to drugs, they give up on everything (morals, relationships, etc) just to get a fix. There is graphic non-consensual sex, coercion, etc; this movie shows exactly how "just a little bit" can snowball into a trainwreck that ruins you and everyone around you. PARENTS: make no mistake, this is a horrific movie with graphic imagery. But I guarantee it will have a lasting impact on your teen and will give them the resolve to resist drugs and alcoholism. Two decades later, I am now a mom and I will absolutely make my daughter watch this when she is old enough to handle it and understand why I want her to see it.
age 18+

It isn’t necessary to be that explicit to show drugs are bad

Definitely not for teens under 18. Maybe only for those that are struggling already with drugs. Very depressing, sex explicit. Leaves you with garbage in your mind. I couldn’t go on watching many scenes even being an adult.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (15 ):
Kids say (51 ):

There's no question this is a movie of extremes; it uses punchy editing and camera tricks to convey the rush of drugs of the characters, right down to the cellular level. By the end the protagonists are literally curled in fetal positions, robbed of everything by their habits (bad drugs, bad!). The conundrum for filmmakers trying to depict the seductive power and destruction wrought by drugs is walking that fine line between making "getting high" look too good on one hand, and on the other hand going too far with the Message Stuff and preaching a finger-wagging sermon.

But the skillful, surreal camerawork, and the sympathetic characters -- none of them want to be Scarface, they just want to be happy -- make this more than just the proverbial "classroom scare film." Perhaps the most important story, in fact, is Sarah's, who breaks no law in her addiction to amphetamines (diet pills) but ends up as brain-damaged and ruined as any junkie thanks to an impersonal medical-institutional establishment that hands out pills like candy.

Movie Details

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