- Directors: Darren Aronofsky
- Producers: Eric Watson, Palmer West, Scott Vogel
- Writers: Novel, Hubert Selby Jr, Screenplay, Darren Aronofsky, Hubert Selby Jr
- Genres: Drama
- Actors: Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans, Christopher McDonald
The film charts three seasons in the lives of mother and son Sara (Ellen Burstyn) and Harry Goldfarb (Jared Leto), HarryвЂ™s girlfriend Marion Silver (Jennifer Connelly), and HarryвЂ™s friend Tyrone C. Love (Marlon Wayans). Each character is ultimately destroyed by addiction and self-delusion.
The story begins in summer. Sara Goldfarb, an elderly widow living alone in her Brighton Beach apartment, spends her time watching infomercials on television. After a phone call announces that she will be invited to attend a live taping of a television show, she becomes obsessed with matching her appearance to a photograph from her son Harry’s graduation, her proudest moment. In order to fit into her old red dress, the favorite of her deceased husband, she begins taking a regimen of prescription weight-loss amphetamine pills throughout the day and a sedative at night. The pills alter her behavior, but she passionately insists that the chance to be on television has given her a reason to live. Over the fall, however, her invitation does not arrive, and she begins to up her dosage, causing nightmarish hallucinations.
Meanwhile, Harry is an irresponsible heroin addict. Together with his friend, Tyrone, who is also a heroin addict, and his girlfriend, Marion, an aspiring fashion designer and cocaine addict, the group enters the drug trade in an attempt to realize their dreams. With the money they make over the summer, Harry and Marion hope to open a fashion store for Marion’s designs, while Tyrone dreams of escaping the street and making his mother proud. However, at the beginning of fall, Tyrone is caught in the middle of a drug gang assassination, causing Harry to use the majority of the money they’ve earned to bail him out of prison. Meanwhile, because of the arrests and shootings of dealers, it becomes very hard to obtain any drugs, throwing Harry, Tyrone, and Marion into a state of deprivation. Growing more desperate, Harry convinces Marion to have sex with her psychiatrist in exchange for money, causing a rift between the pair. The group continues to deteriorate as Marion begins prostituting herself and Harry’s arm becomes severely infected from his heroin injections.
With winter comes the final arc in the characters’ downward spirals. Sara completely breaks down and becomes hospitalized, where she undergoes painful electroshock therapy. Harry and Tyrone travel to Florida, believing they can start over there, but Harry’s deteriorating condition forces them to visit a hospital, where they are arrested. Harry’s arm is amputated, while Tyrone must deal with hostile prison guards, hard labor, and drug withdrawal all alone. Harry has a recurring dream of Marion waiting for him at a pier, but awakens and realizes that she is gone and he has lost his arm. Marion continues to degrade herself at orgies for cocaine. Meanwhile, Sara has become emaciated and catatonic at a mental asylum. Lost in misery, each character curls into a fetal position. In Sara’s dream, however, she finally makes her television appearance and wins a prize. Harry is portrayed as a successful businessman, engaged to Marion. Mother and son hug and say how much they love one another through the cheers of the crowd and the glowing stage lights.