Requiem for a Dream (2000) Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans, Christopher McDonald Movie Review

Requiem for a Dream (2000)   4/54/54/54/54/5

Ellen Burstyn in Requiem for a Dream (2000)

The Nightmare is Worth It

When Sara Goldfarb (Ellen Burstyn) receives a letter to say she is going to be on her favourite TV show she sets out to fit into an old red dress. But when trying to diet doesn't work she seeks medicinal help which sees her put on a series of pills which make her feel full of energy. Meanwhile her son Harry (Jared Leto), girlfriend Marion Silver (Jennifer Connelly) and best friend Tyrone (Marlon Wayans) each find themselves with their own drugs problems which cause each one a unique set of degrading issues to contend with.

One rave review after another is what I came across when I started to watch "Requiem for a Dream", and yes I started to look at what other people were saying because quite frankly I found it initially hard going. Now to be honest this is not unusual because past experiences of watching movies about drug culture have equally been a struggle to get in to. And typically the reviews I glimpsed at which praised "Requiem for a Dream" were those who seemed more impressed with Darren Aronofsky's styling and the art of the movie rather than what happened and whether it was entertaining or not, going on about it as an experience.

Jared Leto in Requiem for a Dream (2000)

Now as I said I initially found "Requiem for a Dream" hard going because it didn't feel like there was a coherent story going on especially when ever we got snippets of the game show. Anyway slowly this story comes together or in truth grow apart as the individual stories surrounding the 4 characters and what drugs does to them starts to take shape. Now I am not going to go in to detail partly because it would take for ever to really explain each story but also for me the way the storylines separated and started to make sense was part of what started to change my opinion of the movie.

What sealed the deal though was how the movie ended or how each story came to a hugely powerful climax and each one does. But in doing so the performances also led me to change my mind and to put it simply Ellen Burstyn owns this movie, yes Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly and Marlon Wayans all deliver great and sometimes surprising performances but the commitment from Burstyn to her character is terrifying and leaves an impression you will never be able to wipe from your mind and you kind of feel that maybe Burstyn only lost out on the Oscar for her performance purely due to the disturbing nature of the movie.

What this all boils down to is that "Requiem for a Dream" is not for everyone as it is a movie which has a natural appeal to those who can appreciate the work of a director and his styling. But if you stick with it the pay off is huge and you will be left gob smacked by the performance of Ellen Burstyn.