First Hit: Scenes of this film are really good and reflective.
I can understand the lack of an audience for this film. People aren’t necessarily compelled to watch something that has such a stigma – yet it would be wise if people did.
Adam (Mark Ruffalo) is a recovering sex addict. Although he has 5 years of sobriety from sex, he’s still scared every day of what can happen if he acts out on his underlying desires. His sponsor, Mike (Tim Robbins), is encouraging him to consider dating and being open and honest in a full and engaged relationship.
Mike is an addict himself with multiple additions, or so we are led to believe and his steadfast guidance is honored in the weekly meetings. His wife Katie (Joely Richardson) has been through it all with him and she continues to be a supportive because she loves him.
To view the obsessiveness of this addition, the film uses Neil (Josh Gad) a doctor who rubs against people in the subway, tries to film up his bosses dress, watches porn films he’s made and on the internet. He is out of control and tries to BS his fellow AA meeting group about his sobriety.
The scenes in the meetings were good, and some were very good. The scenes of Neil falling to his obsessive behavior are tinged with Gad’s own humor, but also show to the lengths some go to, to not acknowledge their disease. Bringing Adam out and into the world of a sexual relationship is Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow). She has had a prior relationship with an addicted person (alcohol) and makes it clear she doesn’t want to be with someone who’s in a “program”.
When Adam honesty opens up this part of himself to Phoebe is a powerful part of this film. Then seeing Adam’s fall into past behavior was equally powerful. The film also shows how addictions affect family by sharing Mike’s son Danny (Patrick Fugit) own fight to sobriety although it is different than his father’s.
Ruffalo is really good and believable is presenting the constant vigilance he has to take and how easy it is to fall down again. Robbins is very good as the slightly self-righteous sponsor who has years and years of sobriety and his arrogant behavior leads him to being humble. Gad is great and willing to put obsessive behavior on film. Paltrow is beautiful, and carries her character in the ways many people share about addicted people. Fugit is good as the son who is attempting to make amends his own way. Pink as Dede, another addicted person, is wonderful and she brought a strong woman’s voice to the film. Stuart Blumberg and Matt Winston wrote a very good script and obviously did their homework. Blumberg’s direction was very good while some scenes were exceptionally strong.
Overall: I really like this film because the closeness of addiction in me and my extended family’s life.