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This film, based on the same-titled best-selling novel from the previous year, is the story of an alcoholic writer, Don, who goes on a drinking binge on a long weekend, and it shows the effects on him, and those who care about him.

The film is pretty dark, and watching the protagonist's descent into drunkenness, desperation, and self-aborption is even harrowing at times, and the compassion shown by his girlfriend is touching. The blunt honesty of the film is powerful.

The acting by Ray Milland, who plays Don, is fantastic. He manages to portray an otherwise quite intelligent man caught in the grips of severe alcoholism. He plays the intelligent, waxing poetic about the alcohol as he's drinking it; to the desperate, stealing money to fund his habit; to the pathetic, nearly unable to function from the pain of withdrawal. He received a (well-deserved) oscar for his acting.

I found this film somewhat eye-opening for it's frank treatment of alcoholism, and it certainly gave me a new understanding of it as a disease beyond the control of its victims.

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October 2011

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