Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square


Year: 2003
Country: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 101 minutes

If anyone is careening down to the bone, it?s Irene, a grocery store clerk and mother of two who has a little problem with cocaine. Her husband isn?t very sympathetic; he has other drugs for himself. This working-class family treads the tight line between functional (celebrating Halloween together; children are obviously loved) and dysfunctional (Irene tries to use her son?s birthday money to buy coke). Vera Farmiga, who won Best Actress award at Sundance for this role, plays Irene with a subtlety and grace despite her situation. When she checks herself into rehab, she meets a sympathetic nurse, Bob (Hugh Dillon), who seems to have kept his own demons at bay. But their erotic attraction takes them into dangerous territory, and it?s so easy to backslide?. Director Granik maintains a tasteful, nonjudgmental stance; many of her clinic and Narcotics Anonymous scenes are real ? originally shot for a documentary. The overall look is lovely, a testament to the rare beauty of digital. This unsentimental film shows drug abuse to be just what it is: boring, repetitive, and a form of erasure. Refreshingly restrained use of music lends a raw touch.

Debra Granik

Debra Granik

Anne Rosellini

Michael McDonough

Malcolm Jamieson

Principal Cast
Vera Farmiga, Hugh Dillon, Clint Jordan, Caridad De La Luz

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