Top 365 Films – #172 – Requiem For A Dream (2000)

Top 365 Films - Requiem For A DreamDIRECTED BY: Darren Aronofsky

STARRING: Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans, Christopher McDonald, Mark Margolis, Louise Lasser, Marcia Jean Kurtz, Sean Gullette, Dylan Baker, Ben Shenkman and Keith David

BUDGET: $4.5m

EARNED (Worldwide): $7.3m

AWARDS: None (Oscar Nomination for Best Actress and a Golden Globe Nomination for Best Actress in a Drama)



The drug-induced utopias of four Coney Island people are shattered when their addictions become stronger.


Requiem For A Dream has us following four individuals and their addiction to drugs in Brooklyn. We have Harry Goldfarb, a heorin and cocaine junky along with his friend Tyrone and his girlfriend Marion decide to resell heroin on the street so they can get out of their dead-end lives they currently find themselves in. Meanwhile Harry’s mother Sara is obsessed with the glamour of television and learning that she’ll make an appearance on a television show, she attempts to lose weight to fit into a red dress through diet pills.


Requiem For A Dream is a film that hits an emotionally devastating, grim look at drug addiction and here we get no happy endings but we see their ups. The film rolls along smoothly with it’s hectic fast cuts of the drugs taking effect on the characters and progression of time and how it seems that everything is starting to turn a corner for them, from the trio gathering plenty of money along the way selling drugs on the street to Sara feeling better about herself losing weight and having a purpose to get up in the morning. Aronofsky directs the film brilliantly with his use of camera angles, particularly the extreme closeups of the actors even when on the move. Of course the inevitable downfall comes and it’s just a gut punch to see where the characters end up. The performances in this are absolutely terrific, from Ellen Burstyn the standout as Sara, a widow and lonely old woman living alone in her apartment, it’s her heartbreaking arc and performance that hurts the most. Jared Leto is terrific as her junkie son, Jennifer Connelly gives a raw performance as his girlfriend Marion and of course Marlon Wayans also gives a great performance as Tyrone. With a terrific score from Clint Mansell and some memorable visuals (that bloody fridge!) and truly inspiring directing choices and performances, you definitely have to visit Requiem For A Dream at least once, with the final scene just adding to how depressing the whole film is.


FAVOURITE SCENE: Harry visits his mother and discovers she’s been taking diet pills for weightloss. Questioning the reason behind it and asking her to stop them she justifies her reasons for it in the monologue below that’s in my favourite quote section.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: ‘I’m somebody now, Harry. Everybody likes me. Soon, millions of people will see me and they’ll all like me. I’ll tell them about you, and your father, how good he was to us. Remember? It’s a reason to get up in the morning. It’s a reason to lose weight, to fit in the red dress. It’s a reason to smile. It makes tomorrow all right. What have I got Harry, hm? Why should I even make the bed, or wash the dishes? I do them, but why should I? I’m alone. Your father’s gone, you’re gone. I got no one to care for. What have I got, Harry? I’m lonely. I’m old.’ – Sara Goldfarb

DID YOU KNOW?: During Ellen Burstyn’s impassioned monologue about how it feels to be old, cinematographer Matthew Libatique accidentally let the camera drift off-target. When director Darren Aronofsky called “cut” and confronted him about it, he realized the reason Libatique had let the camera drift was because he had been crying during the take and fogged up the camera’s eyepiece. This was the take used in the final print.

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