Actors: Michael Keaton, Morgan Freeman, Kathy Baker, M. Emmet Walsh, Tate Donovan, Brian Benben
|Review Summary and Plot Commentary about Clean and Sober|
|In his first dramatic role, Michael Keaton plays accomplished real estate broker, Daryl Poynter. Besides embezzling fund from his company, Daryl has a serious (and expensive) cocaine habit and a problem with excessive alcohol consumption. When he wakes up one morning to discover a young, drug-overdosing woman in his bed, the police warn a terrified Daryl not to leave town. Panicked, Daryl goes to his friend and partner Martin (Brian Benben), asking for a place to hide out for a while. Martin and his strait-laced wife unfortunately can be of no assistance. After Daryl unsuccessfully tries to buy a ticket for a flight bound for anywhere, he hears an intriguing radio commercial advertising a local detoxification facility. The detox program promises help, but more importantly, absolute discretion and privacy. Oblivious that he suffers from substance abuse problems, Daryl checks in, thinking of the hospital as only a safe haven to hide out and relax in. As per hospital rules, Daryl does complete a grueling detox treatment, but soon after he is ignoring rules such as using the telephone without permission, being rude to the other patients and refusing to participate in group therapy. After Daryl butts heads with program director Craig (Morgan Freeman) one time too many, Craig tells him to leave the hospital. Daryl quickly learns that the young woman from his bed died. In fact, flyers proclaiming that Daryl has murdered her hang all over his upscale apartment complex. Desperate and frightened, Daryl flees to his office building, searching for a stash of cocaine that he has hidden. When his hunt proves to be unsuccessful, he focuses on his other problem: the embezzled money. He places an urgent phone call to his mother begging for a loan. The call only succeeds in making Mrs. Poynter hysterical and Daryl more distraught. With nothing left to lose, Daryl heads back to the protection of the detox hospital, hoping for a second chance. This time, Daryl is mildly gung-ho about being a team player. At his first A.A. meeting, Daryl begins to bond with Charlene “Charlie” Standers (Kathy Baker), a new patient with a cocaine addiction and an abusive, dangerous boyfriend, Lenny (Luca Bercovici). Having been rude to Charlie in the past, Daryl apologizes and asks if she will be his sponsor. When he learns that he cannot have an opposite sex sponsor, he is a bit disappointed. While taking a cigarette break, Daryl meets A.A. veteran Richard Dirkis (M. Emmet Walsh). Richard gives Daryl his telephone number, urging Daryl to call. A few weeks later Craig grants Daryl a twenty-four hour pass. At a mall pay phone, Daryl begins calling people, desperate to score some drugs. While leafing through his coat pockets for phone numbers, Daryl mistakenly calls Richard at work. Sensing that Daryl is on the brink, Richard commands Daryl to go to a nearby diner and take an “inventory” - a list of wrongdoings Daryl has committed in his life. When Daryl and Richard meet up a few hours later, Daryl shares his list. After an eye-opening conversation with Richard, Daryl realizes that he is a drug addict and alcoholic. A few weeks later, on Daryl's release day from the hospital, Richard accompanies him to his apartment to clean up and throw out any booze and drugs. Richard also urges Daryl to come clean about the embezzlement to his employers. Recovery proves to be extremely lonely for Daryl. While Richard is wonderful, Daryl needs someone who understands what he is going through right now. He calls on Charlie, hoping they can lend a hand to one another through this trying time. After eating dinner with an edgy Charlie and a cruel and argumentative Lenny, Daryl sadly realizes that Charlie is in an impossible situation. Slowly, Daryl encourages Charlie to distance herself from Lenny, urging her to move into his apartment. The two friends gradually fall in love but Daryl soon discovers that while he may be able to help himself, he might not be able to rescue Charlie.
--Tara Dugan, Resident Scholar
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|Analysis of Clean and Sober|
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Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Time/era of movie:
Inner struggle or disability
Battle with shrink/bum?
- battle with a psychiatrist
- emotionally unstable
Is this an ordinary person caught up in events?
- brunette (Brown)
- (man) short/standard straight
- (man) average
Events of movie makes character more...
- White (American)
How sensitive is this character?
- hard edged
Sense of humor?
- Mostly serious with occasional humor
- Average intelligence
- druggie/wino disease
Secondary Main Character
- (woman) medium/shoulderlgn curly
- (woman) very skinny
- White (American)
- a fight for survival
How much of work is main antagonist actually present in:
- dirty, grimy (like New York)
- mental hospital
Accounts of torture and death?
- generic/vague references to death/punishment
Movie makes you feel...
Sex/nudity in movie?
What kind of sex:
- vague references only
- seeing nude female butt
- A lot of foul language
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