Thanks for Sharing
- September 20, 2013
- Stuart Blumberg
- Stuart Blumberg
- Matt Winston
- Mark Ruffalo
- Tim Robbins
- Gwyneth Paltrow
- Josh Gad
- Joely Richardson
- Patrick Fugit
- Alecia Moore (Pink)
- Carol Kane
Addiction (noun): a strong and harmful need to regularly have something or do something.
The film ‘Thanks for Sharing’ tackles the subject of addiction. And it does so maturely, dramatically, realistically, and with humor. Being an addict is not something that can be cured. It requires sacrifices every day to conquer it, for the betterment of all.
They call this film a rom-com, not quite. Although there are plenty of laughs, and some romance thrown in, this film is a drama dealing with the struggles of three groups of people and the addictions that impact, divide, and unite them.
Adam, Mike, and Neil are sex addicts. When the film starts Adam and Mike seem to have their sh*t together. Attending meetings, supporting each other–taking the necessary steps to keep sober.
Neil is not so together. Forced to attend meetings by court order, Neil has yet to reach rock bottom–he still thinks he can control his voyeuristic urges. Adam and Mike pretty much give up on Neil; they will only help someone who wants it and is willing to take the steps needed to help themselves.
Each of these three men are challenged throughout the course of this film. A true test for an addict is not in the day-to-day, it’s during the crisis moments that a person wants/needs to run back to the patterns that give them cheap/easy comfort.
Mike is beautifully and intensely played by Tim Robbins. He is married to Katie (Joely Richardson) and has an estranged drug-addict son Danny (Patrick Fugit). When Danny shows up, out of the blue, it pushes Mike’s boundaries. Mike wants to control Danny in the same way he structures himself and the fellow addicts he sponsors. A heartfelt and complex family dynamic with three of today’s top actors.
Mark Ruffalo has often played challenging (and dark) dramatic characters. As Adam he gets to show off, once again, all of his skills. From the confident and successful professional who has kept control of his addiction to the dark and twisted version he becomes when his perfect house of cards starts to fall.
Adam meets Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow). Phoebe is a sexy, smart driven woman whose attracted to the (seemingly) well put together Adam. Adam desires Phoebe as the catalyst for a REAL relationship and a way out of celibacy–within the confines of a committed relationship sex is considered healthy (even and especially for a sex addict).
Neither is prepared for the emotional turmoil Adam’s addiction colliding with Phoebe’s free spirit will bring. A hard and true relationship unlike most presented in film. This is closer to how real people with actual problems cope and deal. Outstanding chemistry between Ruffalo and Paltrow, charming and simultaneously gut wrenching.
It is, however, Neil’s struggles that I engaged with the most. Josh Gad as Neil impressed me. I’ve never really noticed Gad before this film. At the film’s beginning, Adam shows us how creepy compulsive he is capable of being–grinding on strangers on the subway and filming up-skirt videos. Truly unsettling behavior.
But as his world crumbles, it is in watching Neil first acknowledge his problem and then start to cope that we are drawn into his transformation. Because Adam and Mike are already “recovered” we don’t see their redemption firsthand like we do with Neil.
At a 12-step meeting Neil befriends Dede, a fellow sex addict (refreshingly played by pop star Pink). Through their bond and mutual support both start to heal. Honest performances from Gad and Pink. Neil really does CHANGE, believably.
I have an addictive personality. And it was difficult to watch these characters as the film went along. Addiction hurts family and friends, damages health, and most significantly (and permanently) changes the addict’s state of being. Everything/anything may be a trigger–every little stress, every external temptation. An addict sees the world differently and I like how this film emphasizes that point–very well done.
Director/co-writer Stuart Blumberg wrote the brilliant film ‘The Kids Are All Right’ (also starring Ruffalo). It is clear that he understands how to convey real people and their problems. These two films are as believable as any Hollywood film can be. Refreshing and often uncomfortable to watch. No fairytale endings, just people stumbling along.
Unlike most overly depressing addiction films, ‘Thanks for Sharing’ has a good dose of human comedy and a little romance mixed with the potent drama. It is the most fun you’ll ever have watching people self-destruct (and rebuild). A great film with wonderful emotional performances, smart writing, and effective directing. Highly Recommended.
Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1
MPAA Rating: R
Length: 112 minutes