Watch The Lost Weekend
- 1 hr 40 min
The Lost Weekend is a gripping psychological drama released in 1945, directed by Billy Wilder and starring Ray Milland as the protagonist Don Birnam. The movie portrays the life of an alcoholic writer and his struggles with addiction, anxiety and depression. The story begins with Don Birnam, a failed writer, who is preparing for a weekend vacation with his girlfriend, Helen St. James (played by Jane Wyman). As soon as she leaves, Birnam creates a pretext to remain behind, knowing full well that he will spend the weekend drinking instead of writing. He starts stealing money from his surroundings to buy alcohol, a habit that he maintains throughout the movie.
The movie focus on the devastating grip that alcoholism can have on an individual, manifesting both physically and mentally. Don's drinking quickly spirals out of control, leading to a binge so intense that he ends up losing track of time, waking to find he has spent four days in a state of stupor.
Throughout the film, we observe Don's mental state and its decline as his addiction takes over. The cinematography of the movie captures the visual representation of the emotional experience that one with alcohol addiction may go through. The haunting photographs and surreal imagery highlight Birnam's skewed perception of reality and mental state. Billy Wilder's innovation techniques, such as the use of sound, music, camera angles and lighting all create a surreal atmosphere of confusion.
Throughout the movie, we see how his addiction and depression are portrayed in his daily activities. He is short-tempered, forgetful, and often absent from the world around him. It is clear that alcohol has taken control of his life, and Birnam is powerless to break free of his addiction. He experiences the shakes and sweats, his face becomes red and bloated, and his appearance becomes uncharacteristically unkempt.
In contrast, Helen is portrayed as gentle, sensitive and sincere. She is supportive and confident in her love for Don, despite his addiction. In this way, she serves as a stark contrast to his self-destructive tendencies, representing hope and light. Among the minor characters, Nat (played by Howard da Silva) is memorable, as he serves as a guide for Don, a trusted friend who understands the troubles Don is going through.
One of the most impressive aspects of the movie is its nuanced portrayal of Birnamâs descent into alcoholism. The movie does not pathologize alcoholism, instead, it sees it as a complicated condition that influences a variety of factors: family history, mental illness, addiction to power of the substance and social pressures. The movie portrays alcoholism as an illness and not as a moral failing or lack of willpower.
The Lost Weekend is a classic for a reason - its exploration of addiction and mental illness is timeless. The film's plot, with its twists and turns, keeps the viewers engaged throughout, making it a must-watch for anyone who loves psychological thrillers. The movie won Oscar awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Screenplay for a good reason - it is a moving, thought-provoking tale that continues to remain relevant and impactful today.
The Lost Weekend is a 1945 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 40 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.9.