Requiem for a Dream (2000)

requiem for a dream poster 2000 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 10/10

Ellen Burstyn, amazing edits

Some underused characters, over-the-top ending

Movie Info

Movie Name: Requiem for a Dream

Studio: Artisan

Genre(s): Drama

Release Date(s): October 27, 2000

MPAA Rating: R


Just remember…we’re heroin chic…not crackheads.

Harry Goldfarb (Jared Leto), his girlfriend Marion Silver (Jennifer Connelly), and Harry’s friend Tyrone C. Love (Marlon Waynes) are out to score big by dealing their drug of choice.  At the same time Harry’s mother Sara Goldfarb (Ellen Burstyn) sees a shot at fame on television…if she can just get into that red dress that’s grown too tight on her.  What happens is a bad trip that spins out of control.

Directed by Darren Aronofsky, Requiem for a Dream was an adaptation of the 1978 novel by Hubert Selby, Jr.  The movie was released to critical acclaim but controversy with its extremely graphic content and was released in an Unrated version due to the dreaded NC-17 tag.  An R-Rated version was released for rental but the Unrated version is readily available.  The movie garnered an Oscar nomination for Ellen Burstyn for Best Supporting Actress.


I’m totally tripping…you?

Drugs are bad…mmkay, and Requiem for a Dream shows you how bad.  I remembers seeing this film in the theater with a bunch of friends…it was a real evening killer.  After the events of the movie you just kind of want to curl up in a ball like Connelly in the film.

Despite being very blatant in its message, something about Requiem for a Dream does not feel as preachy as it outwardly appears.  The story does a good job bringing viewers along for the ride as the lives of the characters spiral out of control and head for a massive train wreck that cannot be stopped.  You know the movie is not going to end well, but you cannot look away.


Marcia Gay Harden…Really Academy?

What really comes out of this movie is how good of an actress Ellen Burnstyn really is.  Her story is the most compelling and identifiable for the audience…plus it is tragic.  Her speech on what it is like to grow old is amazing.  It is a sin that she lost out on the Oscar to Marcia Gay Harden in Pollack…yeah that’s right Pollack.  The Academy missed the ball on that one.

Requiem for a Dream does have problems however (though they are few).  By the end of the movie, you get that drugs lead you to hell but they didn’t have to make it quite so literal.  Every story ends up with a completely over-the-top finale that would be acceptable if it happened to one of the characters but for it to happen to all four is pushing it.  Marlon Waynes (through no fault of his own) seems a little out of place in the movie because his character doesn’t have much of a story.  It isn’t developed and it isn’t very interesting…well at least the original plan of having Dave Chappelle play the character didn’t happen.


Enjoy this shiny scene because this is about as bright as it is going to get…

The hyper-kinetic editing of the movie is like being a junkie for the viewer.  The movie contains over 2,000 edits when the normal movie only contains 600-700 edits.  Darren Aronofsky fresh off his success with Pi, another great film about math (yeah that seems hard to pull off but he does) delivered a ton of new visuals that actually are backed up by the story quite well.  Aronofsky is such a perfectionist when it comes to how his movies look that he bought the rights to the Japanese animated film Perfect Blue just so he could copy the shot of Jennifer Connelly screaming the bathtub.

Requiem for a Dream is one of those modern must-see classics that will almost sicken you when you do see it.  It has also shown that Aronofsky isn’t a fluke like M. Night Shyamalan since he has continued to grow and develop…It also shows there is a place for older actresses in strong roles after many have passed them by.  Check out Requiem for a Dream but make sure you have a strong stomach…just take purple in the morning, blue in the afternoon, orange in the evening, and green at night to try to get over it.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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