While I see plenty of movies both in the theater and at home on a weekly basis, there are only a handful I ever feel motivated enough to write about in this blog. Most of the time it’s the ones that spiritually uplift me, which lead to that. But in rare cases there are those that truly appall me, like The Wolf Of Wall Street, which compel me to do the same.
There really is only one reason why The Wolf Of Wall Street totally appalled me. It wasn’t because the film wasn’t acted well, because the acting was spot on with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill, amongst others. It also wasn’t because the film was directed poorly, because the directing was top notch as it always seems to be with Martin Scorsese’s films. And in all honesty, it wasn’t because of a poor movie script either, as I found it to be a rather well adapted screenplay from the book it was based on. The thing I actually found most disturbing about it was how realistically it portrayed my former addictive lifestyle on screen.
From alcohol to drug addiction, to sex and gambling addiction, and throwing in a ton of greed and gluttony, The Wolf of Wall Street was a three hour look into someone else’s addiction fueled lifestyle that resembled too closely to my own. I can count on one hand the amount of times in my entire life that I ever felt a compulsion to walk out of a movie and this was definitely one of them. There were too many moments during this movie’s running time that I cringed and wanted to leave the theater, like I saw a few people actually do. The only reason why I stayed was out of respect for an artistic film that will most likely garner at least several nominations throughout the upcoming movie awards season.
As I said already, this movie wasn’t a bad movie. The fact is that it was a good movie because it yanked at each of the old addictive triggers within me. In other words, it was all too real and completely believable. Unfortunately, it just hit too close to home for me as it visually depicted a life similar to my own that once tore my soul completely apart. To hear stories about various addictions from others in 12 Step recovery meetings is one thing. I can handle that as it comes with the territory of going to those meetings in the first place. But to see one of those stories displayed so accurately on a movie screen is quite another as I wasn’t able to handle that at all. Watching actors and actresses massively binge on alcohol and drugs, seeing them take part in one sex orgy after another, and observing how their love of money led each of them to treat others so poorly for the movie’s entire three hour running time, was too much for my spirit to handle.
I love the movies, but mostly because I like to leave the theater feeling spiritually good. It’s movies like Saving Mr. Banks or The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty that have done that to me. When I’ve left the theater after watching those films, there was tears in my eyes and a feeling of gratitude in my heart for what God has given me in life. But for The Wolf Of Wall Street, I didn’t leave the theater feeling spiritually uplifted on any level. In fact, I left the theater feeling quite down and out. That’s only because I know too many people who are still out there in this world living their lives like what this movie depicted. There are too many people who still actively engage in any one of the addictions that were demonstrated so well in this movie. And sadly, many of them will die from those addictions. I do have to admit something though the more I think about this. I was able to leave the theater after seeing The Wolf Of Wall Street with one single piece of gratitude to God. And that’s for the fact that I am clean and sober today from all of those addictions.
It’s too bad that this movie wasn’t able to show the real hope and recovery that exists in our world for people that suffer from addictions. The movie Flight with Denzel Washington was a perfect example of a movie that did. It showed a man’s downward spiral into a major alcohol addiction and then his eventual rise out of it. Unfortunately, The Wolf Of Wall Street didn’t quite get there and instead it spent the majority of its three hour running time displaying only the terrible things that occur from an addiction fueled lifestyle.
If you are thinking about seeing this movie and have a background similar to mine that’s addictive based, I only ask you to prepare yourself for an extremely realistic portrayal of all the downfalls that come with addictions. But please know and remember when the movie is over that there is hope and recovery out there for all addictions, as God has made me living proof of that.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson