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Requiem for a Dream (2000)

tomatometer

78

Average Rating: 7.4/10
Reviews Counted: 133
Fresh: 104 | Rotten: 29

Though the movie may be too intense for some to stomach, the wonderful performances and the bleak imagery are hard to forget.

71

Average Rating: 6.7/10
Critic Reviews: 34
Fresh: 24 | Rotten: 10

Though the movie may be too intense for some to stomach, the wonderful performances and the bleak imagery are hard to forget.

audience

93

liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 322,170

My Rating

Movie Info

Based on the novel by Hubert Selby Jr., this gritty drama concerns four people trapped by their addictions. Harry (Jared Leto), and his best friend Tyrone (Marlon Wayans) are impoverished heroin addicts living in Coney Island, NY, while Harry's girlfriend Marion (Jennifer Connelly) is a fellow addict trying to distance herself from her wealthy father. Harry dreams of scoring a pound of smack, from which he could make enough money to open a clothing boutique with Marion, but so far he and his

R,

Drama

Darren Aronofsky, Hubert Selby, Jr.

May 22, 2001

$2.5M

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All Critics (135) | Top Critics (34) | Fresh (104) | Rotten (29) | DVD (33)

A staccato narrative parallels the experiences and hallucinations of a woman on drugs with those of her son and his friends.

September 20, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Burnished camerawork and ex-Pop Will Eat Itself head Mansell's part-punchy, part-elegiac score reinforce and counterpoint the increasingly nightmarish visuals.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[It] may be a bummer to some audiences, so harsh is its view of the drug culture. But no one interested in the power and magic of movies should miss it.

May 8, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Conveys, visually, sonically and dramatically, the siren call of addiction like no other movie has.

January 19, 2001
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Both bleak and bleakly funny, appalling in its excesses and exhilarating in its execution.

January 19, 2001
San Jose Mercury News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Remarkable -- easily the most searing movie-going experience of the year.

January 19, 2001
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As uncompromising a work of art as you can ever view.

February 20, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

Aronofsky's second feature is an emotionally intense, relentlessly grim tale of forms of addiction that may rely too much on montage to achieve real dramatic impact.

July 18, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Translating this into a music video would make a lot more sense than the film does in present form

May 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews | Comments (8)

"Dream" glamorizes nothing en route to a near-nauseating finale, which feels like a rollercoaster car hitched off the track and hurtled into hell's depths. A decade later, it still follows through with full force on its cautionary stomach punch.

September 17, 2010 Full Review Source: Suite101.com
Suite101.com

Unfortunately, about halfway through, the film takes a (deliberate) nosedive into the depths of human degradation from which it never emerges.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: San Diego Metropolitan | Comments (10)
San Diego Metropolitan

A gut-wrenching, formally adventurous masterpiece or an ugly, flashy piece of empty-headed propaganda?

September 8, 2009 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine | Comments (6)
Slant Magazine

"Requiem For A Dream" is a movie about drug addiction, but that's only where the plot resides so the thoroughly drawn characters can work toward their imperfect dreams. Cinema history has been made with this

May 16, 2009 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

One of the most powerful I have ever seen. The film's score and editing will haunt you for years to come.

August 2, 2008
BDK Reviews

Yes, visually this is an exhilarating, unique film. But it is also a singularly difficult and challenging film to watch.

July 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Big Picture Big Sound
Big Picture Big Sound

Seldom has a film so powerfully affected me as Requiem for a Dream has -- affected, in this case, as if my eyes and psyche have been bludgeoned.

June 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

If Aronofsky set out to make Trainspotting look like Teletubbies, he succeeded. Recommended only for those with extremely strong stomachs.

December 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher | Comment (1)
Flick Filosopher

Requiem for a Dream is meant to have a hallucinatory, mesmerizing quality, but it manages to be about as enlightening as a bad acid trip.

July 24, 2006 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion | Comments (15)
One Guy's Opinion

Requiem for a Dream is a great movie, and the few of us who see it will be acutely affected.

May 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid | Comments (4)
Combustible Celluloid

There's a wholehearted commitment in every frame toward synthesizing the feeling of hopeless addiction. It's in the writing. It's in the chaotic cinematography. It's in the actors' eyes.

February 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

With this movie, Aronofsky sends a couple of messages. One, of course, is about how much habitual drug use can fuel your delusions and what that combination can take away from you. The other message is that the director is now a major American filmmaker.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

It's the type of experience that you will never cry at in the theater, but will cry at long after, as the message fully sinks in.

October 1, 2005 Full Review Source: Zertinet Movies
Zertinet Movies

An unordinary, highly stylized, gritty hyperkinetic junkie movie -- unlike anything you've seen before.

February 21, 2004 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

By using familiar ploys and images only slightly askew of what television advertisements regularly show, Aronofsky manages to get across the sameness and pervasiveness of addictions of all sorts without becoming didactic.

June 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Senses of Cinema
Senses of Cinema

Audience Reviews for Requiem for a Dream

Before seeing this film, and other 'anti-drug' films, I made up my mind and vowed to never do hard drugs (especially heroin). Upon seeing The Basketball Diaries, Trainspotting, and now, this film especially, my pledge was reinforced 10,000 times over.

This is based on a novel by co-screenwriter Hubert Selby, Jr. and the loose plot of this uber tragic saga chronicles a lonely widow's growing dependence on amphetamines and a self-help television show, and how it parallels the struggles of her son, his girlfriend, and his best friend, all of whom are junkies. In the case of the trio, even though they use drugs, they are primarily relying on distribution as a means to helping them finance a business they want to open. With the widow, her addictions stem out of a desire to look pretty and slim when she finds out she'll be on her favorite television program.

This film is extremely painful to watch, but damn-near impossible to avert one's eyes from. It's extremely intense, harrowing, and the best depiction of the true, unflinching, and hellish effects of the grips of drug addiction that I've ever seen,. The whole controversy over why the censored version exists is stupid, because a film like this doesn't need to be censored, because the message of the film is (slightly) tarnished. The R-rated 'edited' version is slightly cut, but cut nevertheless. The audience still gets the point, but that's still not an excuse to unflinchingly and graphically depict how much ruin drugs cause. Not watching this film (any version, but especially the unrated) is an unforgivable crime.

I'll admit that the film is light on character development and plot, but what really makes sells this film are the strong performances from Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, and Marlon Wayans, the latter being a nice surprise. There's also supporting appearances from Christopher McDonald, Louise Lasser, Keith David, and Dylan Baker. Another reason this film is so successful, influential, and important are the strong direction from Darren Aronofsky, and the sharp editing, and of course, the cinematography, complete with lots of snorricam, fast and slo-motion, various types of lenses, filters, and numerous montages. There's also that really memorable, and now oft-used music from Clint Mansell with support from the Kronos Quartet.

Okay, so yeah, I've praised this film a lot. I'll admit though that it's not perfect. Even with the uncut version, this film is such a downer you don't want to watch it often. I think it would be possible to do that, but who would want to? This is probably one of the most tragic films I've ever seen. And, while I can appreciate how the film really puts you in the mindset of someone in the hazy and frenzied grips of addiction, it's also rather pretentious, fairly repetitive, and rather jarring with how unsubtle it is.

In the end though, I gotta go with my gut and say that, despite my gripes, and the fact that this film is already praised enough, it really is a gem, and a damn important one.
September 12, 2013
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

It's a wild ride of insanity and chaos. Though the film isn't as powerful as it should be--nor does it offer any uplifting message or much closure for the characters---Requiem for a Dream can be admired for its brilliant cinematography as well as Ellen Burstyn's captivating performance. More than anything, the film is a visual and auditory treat with a rousing soundtrack and--common for an Aronofsky film--artistic film editing that displays the darker edges of the human psyche.
July 5, 2013
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

[img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]
April 29, 2013
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Jared Leto stars as a junkie looking for a way onto easy street for himself, his bored upper class girlfriend Jennifer Connelly and partner in crime Marlon Wyans. It's easy to dismiss Requiem For A Dream as a simplistic "drugs are bad" fable, but if you watch it with unbiased eyes, it actually is not preachy at all. It is a beautifully shot, visually inventive and extremely well acted tale documenting the modern world's obsession with the quick fix; every character in their own way is dealing with their empty, meaningless lives by avoiding dealing with them with the use of various addicitons; whether it be heroin, chocolate or television which inevitably leads to an unending spiral of degradation. After all, if you spend all of your time avoiding your problems, when they finally catch up with you they will inevitably be infinitely worse. Making Trainspotting look like The Little Mermaid, it's a harrowing, grimly affecting yet hypnotic film that you can feel gnawing at you in the pit of your stomach. This is cinema as an artform, and the best film David Lynch never made.
March 14, 2013
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

    1. Tappy tibbons: We got a winner! I said, weeeeee got a WINNER! WE GOT A WINNER!
    – Submitted by Jackson L (16 months ago)
    1. Harry Goldfarb: [to Sara] You've been grinding your teeth. Ma.. you on uppers?
    – Submitted by Jackson L (16 months ago)
    1. Marion Silver: Actually, I have a favour to ask.
    – Submitted by Jackson L (16 months ago)
    1. Marion Silver: Harry... can you come today?
    – Submitted by John H (19 months ago)
    1. Sara Goldfarb: 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.
    – Submitted by Angela T (20 months ago)
    1. Harry Goldfarb: Was I supposed to watch you push off and not go myself?
    – Submitted by Angela T (20 months ago)
View all quotes (20)

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Foreign Titles

  • Requiem for a Dream (2000) (CA)
  • Requiem for a Dream (2000) (ES)
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