I’m not frivolous with “5 stars” - but I think this film warranted such high marks for a number of reasons.
Mercifully, the filmmaker eschewed unnecessary narration, redundant questioning and the only sound you hear is the sometimes blissful/euphoric -sometimes pained and dejected admissions from the subjects.
Michelle, worn out looking, shrill, easily going from hard and worldly to plummeting into little girl throwing fits- but optimistic most of the time, she summed it up that she & Sebastian had been deduced to “running partners” in their ever present need for the next fix.
Watching her with her son, I felt sorrow for him. His flat effect describing the history of his Moms rehab attempts- he no longer could muster up even a sliver of hope. He wants her to get better - but if she relapses again, oh well.
With Tracy & Matt, well my POV may be divergent and certainly am anomaly- but there were moments I felt a pang envy. Yes they were junkies, but I could feel the intense, crazy-in-loveness swirling around them. So what? I thought, they are happy. Im aware some viewers balked at Tracy’s dad totally enabling their habit - but i think I’d be the same way. He doesn’t want his child turning tricks. He wants them to be warm & safe so gives them a small but perfectly fine apt....and a dumbfounding amount of sweaters.
I think he can see a day they will tire of this rambling way of life and settle down.
Beyond the 2 couples talking to each other, and sometimes talking to the camera - you hear the cacophony that is NYC. The subway sounds, honking horns, chatter...and c’mon, how jaded are New Yorkers, in one scene Tracy is throwing a screaming fit and throwing punches walking down the sidewalk, middle of a sunny spring looking day, and not one, NOT ONE pedestrian even bats an eyelash-just keep on walking.
I live in a nice home. But I’m only in my late 40’s and have been profoundly disabled for 7 years. Pain is something I live with constantly. I have several serious disabilities and currently I’m possibly looking at a bone marrow transplant-did I mention I’m on oxygen 24/7! So I rarely leave the house. Beside my bed are a dozen different medications.
I feel like a burden to my husband sometimes- so much attention to my care. To be in New York, strolling arm in arm, millions of people but feeling only each other’s presence, and sharing whatever sustenance, even if it’s a syringe full of heroine that amplifies it all....I can’t say that doesn’t sound alluring to me. Only a passing fantasy.
We all have to make it through life the best we can.
*I saw in another reviewers comment that Michelle passed away in 2012. Which naturally isn’t a surprising think to learn. I’m sure her son had envisioned her death many times. For him at least he doesn’t have to worry about her.
Anyway. Great documentary, real/raw/ compelling.