Directed by the peculiar genius Darren Aronofsky, Requiem for a Dream is a deep and thoughtful study—like a sensitive psychoanalyst or scientist—of human behavior. More specifically, the film, with its heartbreaking picture, shows how different people can react to problems. The heroes have three tactics: fight, passivity, flight.
What is Requiem for a Dream about?
Gary and Marion, who are in love, make plans to open a designer boutique, because Marion loves to model clothes, and Gary just loves his girlfriend, whom he considers the most beautiful.
Harry’s friend Tyrone promised his mother as a child that he would achieve anything. But what such “everything” can achieve a poorly educated boy? Of course, “everything” for him is money.
Gary’s mother, Sarah, spends her days and sleeps in front of the TV. She is accompanied by sandwiches and chocolate. Sarah dreams of being on a TV show to tell everyone in the world about what a wonderful son she has.
Meaning of Requiem for a Dream
Chapter √1 – Fight
In a fierce fight for their dreams, Garry and Tyrone become drug dealers and sell substandard drugs. The amount of dollars in their stash is steadily growing.
And yet, something stands in the way of the dreams of young people. All three are longtime drug addicts and cannot imagine their lives without a dose. They are ready to absorb everything that is possible, and it does not matter whether it is necessary to sniff, smoke, swallow or inject. There were no problems getting the drugs until all the “honestly” earned money had to be left as collateral for getting Tyrone out of prison. The constant supply of dope also disappears.
In search of earnings, Marion begins to sell herself – at first not to the most pleasant of her acquaintances, and then by participating in vile orgies.
In search of goods, Garry and Tyrone travel to Miami. They no longer need drugs for sale, but at least for themselves – it is becoming increasingly difficult to put up with breaking.
What is Sarah struggling with then? She receives a long-awaited invitation to a TV show and begins a fierce struggle with being overweight. She just needs to fit into the sweet red dress that her late husband liked so much, besides, there is nowhere to take extra money for a new dress. Even Sarah’s favorite TV is old, and even it often ends up at local merchants – the drug addicted son is ready to take the last thing out of the house.
A rigid diet of an egg and half a grapefruit quickly bores Sarah, who loves to eat sweets. A woman turns to a nutritionist – because of the extra pounds she has only seven. The dietitian takes drastic measures and prescribes Sarah some powerful weight loss pills.
A woman is not able to consider the threat in multi-colored pills and, continuing to absorb them from day to day, gradually becomes dependent. The son comes to his mother with a gift – a whole home theater – and, seeing the symptoms in the form of teeth grinding and causeless euphoria, he understands what is the reason for the state of the mother who has dramatically lost weight. In a panic, Garry begins to convince his mother to do away with the pills. Although he himself will not lift a finger to rid himself of drug addiction, he is not able to do this.
Chapter √2 – Passivity
Passive is Sarah, who, with a sense of reconciliation and unwillingness to face the truth, continues to buy an old TV set from the dealer, which her son takes to the market over and over again. Sarah loves her son and does not plan to report him to the police. She doesn’t even bother to think about why Harry won’t get a job, why he constantly needs money. Sarah easily swallows the lies of her suddenly rich son that he works as a distributor. Although, why is it a lie – after all, Garry is really engaged in the distribution of dope.
And the trinity of young people is also passive in mindlessly burning their lives on the money of wealthy parents, as Marion did, and loafing without education and desire to get a job, like Harry and Tyrone.
But passivity evaporates instantly when it comes to how to get the next dose.
Chapter √3 – Escape
When no one talks about the fight for a dream, the fight for a new portion of drugs begins. And each new dose is a kind of escape from reality. And this is the only way to survive in order to continue dreaming.
The escape of the film’s heroes is not only with the help of drugs (although, in the literal or metaphorical sense, much in the film can be called a drug), it is also nicotine, alcohol, pills, and even chocolate and sweets. And the truth is that initially for Sarah, chocolates were a piece of happiness, which were later replaced by killer pills.
The meaning of the film Requiem for a Dream
At the end of the film, the characters lose their battles with their addictions and curl up into a fetal position. Experts say that this posture – knees pressed to the body, arms wrapped around, head down – immerse a person in a sense of comfort, helping to protect themselves from stress.
But the heroes tormented by life are not up to comfort. Their posture is a cry, a prayer. They seem to want to be born again so that their lives will cease to be the nightmare they have turned them into.
Without a doubt, this film is the best propaganda against drugs that destroy health and fate. And not only. With deep psychological work, Aronofsky showed how dreamy and sweet people ruin their lives because of addictions and their own weakness.