Synopsis by Mark Deming
An Alcoholics Anonymous meeting brings together a disparate group of people struggling with addiction to drugs and liquor in this film based on Gary Lennon's play "Blackout." Jim (Richard Lewis) is in a bad mood as he sits in on an AA meeting in the basement of a church in New York City; he's prodded into speaking in front of the group for the first time in seven months, and he confesses that he desperately wants to get drunk. Three years before, Jim gave up a decade of dependence on booze and heroin for the sake of his wife, who has just died unexpectedly of an aneurysm, and before long, Jim runs out in search of a bottle. Meanwhile, the other members of the group share their own stories about their problems with substance abuse, including Rachel (Dianne Wiest), a physician who tries to uses her job to fill the void in her life left by the departure of her husband and son; Joseph (Howard Rollins), whose drunk driving put his five-year-old son in the hospital; Debbie (Parker Posey), a young woman who wishes she could have been Janis Joplin; Shelly (Amanda Plummer), whose force of will is being tested by an upcoming visit from her mother; Becky (Faye Dunnaway), a divorcee who is not sure how she'll handle losing custody of her child; Brenda (Lisa Gay Hamilton), an HIV-positive former junkie who was stealing syringes from her diabetic mother; and Louis (Spalding Gray), who is actually looking for the choir practice at the church; he then goes into a rhapsodic ode to the pleasures of beer which suggests that he has his own problems with the bottle. Drunks was the first feature film for director/producer Peter Cohn.
alcoholism, support-group, custody, divorce, drunk-driving, heroin, HIV, meeting, widow/widower