What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie is, at its core, the story of a group of friends held together largely by their shared addiction to heroin. Much time is spent simply on presenting sounds and images meant to simulate either the euphoria of heroin highs or the wretchedness of heroin withdrawal. Violence is also present in their behavior of the friends, including fistfights and fights with blunt instruments and broken glass, which often have no motivation and can get quite bloody. The dialogue is almost wall-to-wall obscenities, although the Scottish tongue is often hard for Americans to understand. A baby dies due to the neglect of his heroin-addicted mother. Sex is discussed and displayed openly.
What's the story?
Tracking the exploits of a group of friends in Edinburgh, Scotland, TRAINSPOTTING is narrated by main character Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor). The film covers the roller coaster-like cycles of heroin addicts, alternately cleaning out and retracting back into the comfort of their addiction. In the final third, the focus shifts to the interpersonal politics amongst Renton and his friends as they attempt to earn a sizeable amount of money through a risky heroin deal, showing how even when the heroin isn't running Renton's life through addiction, his friends function as a negative drain on him.
Is it any good?
McGregor's performance, along with Robert Carlyle's as Renton's psychotically violent friend Begbie, made big enough impressions to bring both actors many other choice roles in the wake of Trainspotting's success. It also elevated director Danny Boyle's profile, making it possible for him to undertake some bigger-budget films in subsequent years.
For a unique, consummately entertaining, and yet utterly harrowing look into the life of heroin addicts, Trainspotting offers open-minded viewers an unforgettable experience. However, this film is wholly inappropriate for kids.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about what gives this movie cult film status. Do you think it sensationalizes drug addiction or gives an accurate picture? How well does the film balance the euphoric visions of heroin highs with the low moments of addicts being driven to steal, hurt others, etc.? The narrator seems to present himself as in control of his actions, but is he really? Is his final betrayal of his friends warranted? Do we feel that he has truly changed his ways at the close of the film?
|Theatrical release date:||January 1, 1995|
|DVD release date:||June 1, 2004|
|Cast:||Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller|
|Run time:||94 minutes|
|MPAA explanation:||graphic heroin use and resulting depravity, strong language, sex, nudity and some violence|