Down To The Bone

on November 25, 2005 by Annlee Ellingson
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Vera Farmiga stars in this drama as a working-class wife, mother and cocaine user. Until now a functioning addict, she decides to check herself into rehab when her dealer turns away a check written out to her son for his birthday. There she meets and falls in love with a fellow recovering addict (Hugh Dillon), and their affair effervesces until the temptation to relapse proves too great.

Based on helmer Debra Granik's documentary short, this 2004 Sundance prizewinner employs a handheld verité style that's revelatory without being explicit, revealing both the mundanity of the grocery store checkout and the lyricism of a pet store. Unfortunately, any sympathy developed for the characters quickly erodes as they continue to not only engage in self-destructive behavior but expose children to it. This is true for all aspects of the film, as even the palpable chemistry between the two romantic leads dissipates once drugs reenter the picture. Far more compelling earlier in the film is the road to sobriety, tacit camaraderie of fellow AAers and challenges of reentering the real world amid the insensitivity of old acquaintances. Starring Vera Farmiga, Hugh Dillon, Clint Jordan and Caridad de la Luz. Directed by Debra Granik. Written by Debra Granik and Richard Lieske. Produced by Susan Leber and Anne Rosellini. A Laemmle/Zeller release. Drama. Unrated. Running time: 105 min

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