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Movies About Alcoholism

Movies About Alcoholism

For many people, partying and heavy drinking are considered just “having a little too much fun.”

But for frequent drinkers, a few drinks a week often turn into a lifetime habit. Not only is a developing addiction to alcohol scary for the person, but it’s also concerning to their friends and family. Our drug and alcohol treatment center in Boca knows that the media plays a major role in portraying binge drinking and its associated risks in a positive or comedic light. Many Hollywood movies with alcoholic characters often portray this disease as a funny characteristic rather than a physical and psychological problem. If someone you love has a drinking problem, you may understand how difficult it is to watch someone struggle with this disease. We’ve rounded up eight movies about alcoholism that explore an alcoholic’s behavior and how this problem affects everyone involved.

Eight Best Movies About Alcoholism

28 Days

28 Days is about Gwen (Sandra Bullock), a young professional who’s also a heavy drinker. After driving a stolen limo into a house during her sister’s wedding, Gwen is faced with the decision of going to jail for 28 days or going to rehab for alcohol addiction treatment. The movies follow her story, beginning with her denial of the problem and ending with her understanding of how problematic her drinking habits were for herself and others. She makes friends in rehab and slowly begins to strengthen her relationship with people, like her boyfriend and sister. Although the movie is cheesy, 28 days is one of those movies about alcohol addiction that show both the positive and negative sides of dependence.


Smashed is another movie about a woman’s journey of accepting her addiction and regaining her sobriety. Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) enjoys a very carefree lifestyle of drinking with her husband Charlie (Aaron Paul). However, after her drinking habits fuel a few shameful events, she decides she wants to get sober. This decision is met with criticism by her husband and mother, but she sticks with her plan and finds support in other recovering alcoholics. While this movie has its fair share of drama, it does a good job of depicting the challenges that addicts face when they want to change their ways.

A Star is Born

A Star is Born instantly became popular for its lead characters and compelling storyline. Despite the mixed reviews regarding its portrayal of addiction, it paints a painfully honest picture of the effects of alcoholism and the heartache that comes with addiction. In this remake, Lady Gaga stars as a struggling artist named Ally who wants to make a name for herself in the music industry. When she meets popular musician Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), life changes for both of them. As their relationship evolves throughout the movie, more and more of Jackson’s struggles with drugs and alcohol become evident. This is a heartbreaking movie that depicts the emotional rollercoaster that is alcoholism, some of its causes, and its effects on everyone involved

At Banyan Treatment Centers Boca, not only do we offer alcohol treatment, but we also provide an alcohol detox that safely gets patients through withdrawals. Alcohol withdrawals are highly dangerous and can be life-threatening without medical assistance. If you want to quit drinking or know someone who does, the safest way to do that is to start with medical detox.

When A Man Loves A Woman

Alice (Meg Ryan) and Michael (Andy Garcia) have a great relationship, a beautiful house, solid careers, and wonderful children. However, this idyllic lifestyle is quickly changed by Alice’s increasing dependency on alcohol. Like many other movies with alcoholics, When A Man Loves A Woman shows the behavioral changes associated with a growing addiction to drinking. This film offers a different perspective from many other movies about addiction. Michael has difficulty adjusting to Alice’s strength and independence following rehab. The film addresses the problems faced by many couples who have been affected by substance abuse.

Walk the Line

Walk the Line shares the life of musician Johnny Cash (Joaquin Phoenix), starting with his early life as a boy living on a farm then showing his struggles with substance abuse as he gets older. The film takes on the journey through Johnny’s life as a young man who endures much heartache and eventually discovers music. However, the main focus of the film was Johnny’s love for June Carter (Reese Witherspoon) and his struggles with drug and alcohol abuse. Real events like Jonny’s arrest, overdosing on stage, and out-of-control behavior are all in the movie. His passion for music and love for June is also just as strong. Despite her hesitations to get close to him because of his addiction, he eventually gets sober with June’s and her family’s help.

The Spectacular Now

The Spectacular Now focuses on party animal Sutter (Miles Teller) and his unexpected romance with introvert Aimee (Shailene Woodley). After waking up on her lawn following a long night of partying and drinking, Sutter slowly develops a connection with Aimee. This is one of the greatest films about alcohol addiction because it portrays the emotional struggles that are often hidden by heavy drinking. As Sutter deals with his busy mother and an alcoholic father who’s rarely in the picture, he’s eventually faced with the decision to move forward after high school or continue the same cycle of drinking. The Spectacular Now is a coming-of-age movie about heartache, family struggles, romance, and growing up. At the end of the movie, Sutter realizes that there’s more to life than partying and drinking, and eventually decides what his next move is after high school.


Flight tells a story about an extreme alcoholic and airline pilot Captain Whip (Denzel Washington). Based on real-life events, the film covers the brave actions of Captain Whip, who avoided an accident that would have been fatal for all of his passengers. As the investigation into the incident develops, his struggles with drugs and alcohol surface. This is no surprise, considering the movie’s beginning shows the captain drinking more alcohol and snorting cocaine to keep himself awake for his flight after a long night of partying. This is a film that correctly depicts the self-destructive decisions often made by addicts that are frustrating to those who are sober. At the end of the movie, Whip is faced with two choices: to own up to the truth, or to carry on with the lies.

Crazy Heart

Crazy Heart tells the story of former country legend Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) after finding himself as a washed-up musician playing disappointing gigs in bowling alleys. While in town for his latest gig, he meets Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhall), a news reporter who has come to do a story on him. Romance eventually ensues, and the singer is faced with the decision to embrace this new journey or carry on with the same routine of drinking and lousy gigs. Despite the efforts of his loved ones, Blake has to learn how to get clean and sober on his terms.

Although movies about alcoholism and recovery have their fair share of drama, they’re often accurate in portraying the hardships and frustrations associated with addiction. If you’re struggling with a drinking problem or have a loved one who is, we can help. Call Banyan Boca now at 888-280-4763 to learn more about our residential treatment program.

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Movies About Alcoholism
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