28 Days (2000)

28 Days (2000)
 
 

Bullocks to Drinking

Even a pain in the ass needs someone to take care of them - Lily Cummings

Sandra Bullock as Gwen Cummings in 28 Days

Okay, I admit that I only watched "28 Days" because it starred Sandra Bullock, and had no real expectations of watching an interesting movie. So, I was pleasantly shocked when "28 Days" delivered quite a reasonable drama, which took the very serious subject of alcoholism and delivered at times a thought provoking look without every becoming preachy. Along with this, "28 Days" light hearted approach made it more watch able than the general darker dramas which touch on alcoholism, and although it's not really a comedy, there are scenes which will lift the mood and even cause a small amount of amusement.

Gwen Cummings (Sandra Bullock - Practical Magic) is a successful New York writer, but she struggles with a drinking problem. After a drunken outburst at her sisters wedding, she is arrested for drink driving and sent to spend 28 days in a rehabilitation centre. Initially refusing to conform to the rules Gwen struggles to control her addiction, but with time and patience shown to her by her counsellor and other patients, she may just be able to conquer her addiction.

Sandra Bullock and Dominic West in 28 Days

It has to be said that "28 Days" does paint a very rose tinted picture of recovery from Alcoholism, and I am sure that most rehab clinics are not as nice as the one in this movie, but by doing this, it has made the movie acceptable to the masses. Some people have made comparisons between this film and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", but this is mainly due to the diversity of the characters in the rehabilitation centre are similar to the diversity of those in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest".

A lot of recognition should go to Sandra Bullock for her portrayal of Gwen Cummings, the main character in "28 Days". She takes the character through the journey of being a fun loving party girl, to woman in denial, through to the acceptance of her problem and the struggle to over come it. In every part of this journey, Bullock manages to convey the differences in the character from brash, to ignorant, to weak and then growing in self confidence. Although highly under used in the movie, Steve Buscemi's performance as Cornell, the counsellor, is brilliant and a nice departure from the usual type of characters that he portrays. The initial meeting between Gwen and Cornell by the lake, where unknowingly to her that he is her counsellor, she tries to discover if it is possible to obtain drink and drugs on the inside, is brilliant, humorous yet at the same time revealing.

Alongside Bullock and Buscemi, you have Dominic West as Gwen's boyfriend Jasper, who cannot see what is wrong with getting drunk every night. It is an interesting scene when Jasper visits Gwen at the rehab centre for the second time and struggles to come to terms with her new sober life style. Other notable names which appear as supporting cast are Viggo Mortensen, Elizabeth Perkins, Alan Tudyk and Diane Ladd.

"28 Days" is directed by Betty Thomas who had previously directed "Private Parts" and "Doctor Dolittle". In my opinion, she has delivered a good movie considering that she was dealing with the subject of Alcoholism and rehabilitation. Although "28 Days" has been panned by some critics for dealing with the subject of rehabilitation in an over easy manner, my feeling is that Thomas could easily have gone too far in making this film too realistic and making it uncomfortable viewing for the masses. But by making it light hearted, she has understood who the majority of viewers would be, and so has been able to deliver the films message with out them feeling preached at.

What this all boils down to is that "28 Days" is one of those movies which has a storyline which demonstrates that you can overcome the hurdles in your way, and in doing so it has an uplifting nature about it. On top of this, it shows that Sandra Bullock can easily play roles other than the ones which rely on just her beautiful looks. Even though "28 days" deals with such hard hitting subjects, it is still an entertaining movie which will have you thinking about the message it puts across.

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