Lecturing audiences with a straight-up, honest attitude The Anonymous People aimed to challenge perceptions on alcoholism and other drug related addiction. According to The Anonymous People, such addictions must be seen as an illness rather than moral weakness.
Interviewing those recovering and affected by addictions, the film offers audiences personal insights. Every interviewee is stripped bare of inhibitions, unashamedly discussing their experiences at face value. How addiction affected their lives and once in recovery forced to handle their past. Having to deal with social prejudices of addiction and in some cases political pressure to simply make good their errors by promoting progressive thinking. They have to be admired for openly sharing their experiences to further addiction awareness in spite of monumental opposition.
The historical context behind addiction and its activism to make addiction recognised as an illness was well covered. The formation of Alcoholics Anonymous, Marty Mann’s prolific campaigning, celebrities and politicians coming together. There has been extensive efforts to widely recognise addiction as a health problem which needs treatment rather than persecution. The historical knowledge The Anonymous People conveyed was compelling and delivered intelligently by comparing history with present day ethos. So with a rich historical framework why is The Anonymous People having to expose these issues?
The media is portrayed as a primary culprit for their lust of sensationalism, “a sexy story sells” as one interviewee noted. The ‘War on Drugs’ crusade which dominated the 1980s was also referred to in formatting negative attributions upon addicts. Despite this acknowledgement, The Anonymous People did not push their criticism far enough. It would have been beneficial to note the specific policies the ‘War on Drugs’ enforced that mistreated addicts and more crucially noting commercialism’s’ role in addiction. Considering The Anonymous People's context, from an audiences’ viewpoint it was screaming for criticism against commercialism’s relaxed approach in selling alcohol as seen in dozens of global advertisements. This was an argument sorely missing which would have evaluated The Anonymous People as a more hard-hitting documentary.
What did you think of the film? Did it reach your expectations?