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Requiem Of A Dream-A Movie Review

Updated on August 19, 2014
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Crew

Director...Darren Aronofsky

Writers...Hubert Selby Jr.and Darren Aronofsky

Music by...Clint Mansell

Characters

Main Characters

Ellen Burstyn...Sara Goldfarb

Jared Leto...Harry Goldfarb

Jennifer Connelly...Marion Silver

Marlon Wayans...Tyrone C. Love

Christopher McDonald...Tappy Tibbons

Plot

The movie based off of Hulbert Selby Jr.'s book titled with the same name, follows Harry Goldbarb as he deals and takes drugs with his friend Tyrone C. Love. It also follows Harry's downfall of a romantic relationship with his girlfriend Marion Silver as both suffer through the problems of trying to support each other and their drug addictions as a gang war causes a lack of drugs. On top of it, Harry's mother Sara Goldbarb suffers multiple addictions from television to diet pills which is actually speed. When all four consume to their addictions, they find themselves unable to focus on anything else leaving only a destruction of relationships, dreams, and even sanity.

Before you scroll down there are some spoilers on this article.So please note that as you read.

Facing withdrawals
Facing withdrawals | Source

What Makes This Movie Stand Out

The editing is some of the best. Not only are their scenes that capture the hallucinations that some addicts experience, they also show scenes with so much emotions packed in that it is almost heartbreaking. They use a series of techniques from fast forwarding to suddenly slowing down, to using props like talking food to show the anguish that anorexia brings to even screwing with the tone and pitch of voices. It really adds to the movie.

There are a couple of scenes that stand up the most. Marion leaves an apartment after selling herself for money and with the use of a shoulder camera we can see what she is seeing and feel her self-worth as she tries to deal with what she just had to do. We as the audience can feel her shame and agony as she makes her way out of the building.

Another great scene comes close to the end when Marion is talking to Harry who is in Florida and she is back in New York. They have their last talk while she is getting ready to go out and entertain and he is stuck in the jail cell after getting caught with drugs at the hospital.This is one of the saddest scenes because it is the scene when both know that they will never see each other again. Even through they both promise each other that they will be together soon, both emotionally and mentally know that this is it. This is the end of their relationship and all of their pleading and begging the other person to wait is not enough anymore. Their addictions have replaced what they once had,

Theme

One of the coolest aspects of this movie is that throughout the movie Sara watches this TV program that is supposed to be a prep talk. It is the first thing you see in the movie and the last thing that you see and throughout the three stages (the happy first part, the starting to decline part, and the final total destruction part of the movie the TV program actually starts the progress.

One of my favorite parts is when Sara starts getting energy and she goes through his cleaning phrase and is unable to sit down and just rest and on the TV program the man is saying, "this drives most people mad, this is easy so far, its going to get a lot worse."

That is definitely true with this movie. The first part most of the characters all have hopes and dreams and feeling at the top of the world and at this moment it is a big foreshadowing to what lies ahead for all of these characters and it is pretty.

Another theme seems to be Harry seeing Marion on a bridge with her back toward him. He has one drug induced hallucination near the beginning and one at the end of the movie in a dream. In both of these, he is trying to reach out to her and both times he is unable to do this. The first time she turns around but cannot see him and the second time he reaches her but she just disappears and he just falls down a hole.

This can be a foreshadowing of their failing relationship or his fear that he is going to lose her (the beginning) and then at the end the dream is a symbol for the end. Another interesting fact is that Marion is wearing a dress similar to the one his mom owes and is trying to lose weight to fit into.

Soundtrack

Not only does this movie have wonderful visible effects but this has one of the most amazing soundtracks in the world. The songs fit with the scenes beautifully and it made it have a life and made the scenes stick out. One of biggest classical numbers is Requiem of a Dream, which strays throughout the movie in some of the most important scenes. This is a song that is used now for a lot of movie trailers and even used on some natural disaster videos just because of the epic feel of it,

There is over thirty songs on the soundtrack that is used throughout the movie. Some of them include the sounds of happiness, of children laughing and birds chirping while others just tear at your heart and make you want to cry. All give you this feeling of life and energy and makes you feel driven and makes you be thankful of what you have. It is a great soundtrack, I recommend it to anybody who loves strong and striking classical music.

Acting

The acting is top notch. Props to Ellen Burstyn who plays Sara Goldfarb. She completely played her character so well done that it's heart breaking. She was spot on at the beginning as a widow who is wasting away at an old folk's home who spends the day fantasying about being on television so people would notice her again. When her character started have effects to the drugs she made it look so realistic including the clattering of the teeth, feeling hot, and finally has some of the worst hallucinations. At the end of the movie she was the only one who looked like she completely messed up her mind from how she was talking to herself and even the way she dressed. She definitely was one of the stronger actors.

Jared Leto was good in this film but his accent was horrible. He played his character well, going through withdrawals and talking about how much he loved his mom and how much he wanted to make it up to her for all the times in the past that he messed up. He really seemed like a nice guy who just unfortunately got messed up with drugs but he did have a good heart.

Jennifer Connelly was really good as her character. She bought life into Marion and gave her such a grace at the beginning and made her character so pathetic at the end of the movie that you want to jump into the movie and shake her and tell her to get her act together because she was too good for the lifestyle she ended up choosing to live.

Marlon Wayans played his part well but for some strange reason his character never clicked with me. I do not know why but only at certain times do I find something that drew into his character but nothing like the rest. Maybe it has to do with the fact that he got off the luckiest. The other three spiraled so out of control and he had some bad experiences but it was nothing like what the rest went through but he played his part as a stoner really well and was a good sidekick,

Just one scene showing great acting. Both Harry and Marion are unable to even look at each other as they struggle with the knowledge of what Marian was just doing in the last scene.
Just one scene showing great acting. Both Harry and Marion are unable to even look at each other as they struggle with the knowledge of what Marian was just doing in the last scene. | Source

Awards

Requiem For The dream has won a total of thirty awards (2001) and has 50 nominations including

  • Best actress Ellen Burstyn won at Oscars, Boston Society of Film Critics,, Chicago Film Critics Association, Chlotrudis Awards, plus eleven more wins. She was also nominated for Global Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards and Academy of Science Fiction, Fanatsy, and Horror and three more.
  • Best Movie (AFI, Chlotrudis Awards, Golden Trailer Awards) and five other nominations.
  • Best Supported Actor or Actress-Jennifer Connelly (nominated five times) and Marlon Wayans (nominated two times)
  • Best ensemble (nominated two times)

Everything from make-up, hairstyles, music, script, best film poster, film website, directors, and Cinematography are just a few of awards they have won or have been nominated with.

In Conclusion

This movie has a very strong message against drug use but yet still tries to show how human they still are even if stuck in a downward spiral. This movie messes with the audience's mind and really make it about how quickly lives can get destroyed and how much we need to cherish the life that we have.

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    • Melissa Noon profile image
      Author

      Melissa Noon 3 years ago from California

      He makes great movies

    • adecourv profile image

      Alex deCourville 3 years ago

      I was sort of a latecomer to this film, but I really like - along with most of Aaronofsky's work.

    • Melissa Noon profile image
      Author

      Melissa Noon 3 years ago from California

      He did a really good job. I just got done watching it again. I was shocked Jared Leto wasn't nominated for any reward but that all did so good.

      thank you for your comment

    • Thief12 profile image

      Thief12 3 years ago from Puerto Rico

      A great film, so depressing and bleak. My wife bought it a couple of months ago and we still haven't brought ourselves to watch it mostly because I'd like to be in the right frame of mind for it. All the actors were great, but kudos to Marlon Wayans who was surprisingly good in a serious role.

    • Melissa Noon profile image
      Author

      Melissa Noon 3 years ago from California

      Thank you so much for the kind words. I haven't watched Blue Valentine so I'll check it out. Requiem For A Dream so bleak and depressing but those are the types of movies I'm drawn to and this movie blew me away. I sometimes wonder if its just the music but then I rewatch it and realize no I love the whole movie.

    • Sami Hanson profile image

      Sami 3 years ago from Kansas

      You did a nice review on this film. I saw it once a few years ago and absolutely hated it. The acting was brilliant, the editing was brilliant, and it gave an authentic representation of the reality that addicts face in their daily lives. The movie was just so dark and depressing, and considering I have manic depression myself, I just prefer to watch happier movies.

      Another movie I do not think I can ever watch again is Blue Valentine. SO DAMN SAD! Aside from my personal preferences, you did a good job. ;)