Morning, Noon & Night seeks to be a mirror through which we see the way addiction controls lives. It tries to do so with humor, but in the end it merely ridicules addicts as losers without giving us any real insight to addiction.
The film is three interconnected stories (along with some peripheral characters who also bring their addictions to the mix). Cliff (John Manfredi) is a middle executive who starts his day with a few lines of cocaine (to be repeated as needed). His daughter Kelly (Carly Schneider) is a slacker community college student who spends her day with friends doing pot, opioids, and starting in on heroin. Kelly’s history teacher Aaron (Frank Ondorf) is an alcoholic who thinks he hides it, but doesn’t. They each spend their day trying to get to their next encounter with their drug of choice. Although they are perfectly happy to mix and match and use any drug that’s available.
For the purposes of this film, addiction is equated with substance abuse. Cocaine, marijuana, pills, alcohol, heroin, and the uber-addiction tobacco all find their way into the story. It doesn’t touch on the other kinds of addictions that people struggle with: eating disorders, gambling (to be fair, gambling is mentioned in one scene), sexual addictions, even perhaps religion. Nor does the film provide any insight into what leads people into addiction, other than an ennui based on the boredom of daily life.
Morning, Noon & Night barely scratches the surface of addiction or addicts. Is it a moral problem or a disease? This film seems to see it as a moral problem. The people we see are weak and pitiful. It seems we’re suppose to think that they just need to stop doing whatever drugs they do, straighten up, and take control of their lives. If only addiction were that simple.
Perhaps my biggest disappointment with the film is that it has no sign of hope. Addictions can be addressed and overcome—but never easily. The characters in the film all just float along. Their addictions don’t really make them happy, but they also don’t really seem to hinder them in their daily lives. They just spend their time getting and using whatever drug they seek. No one grows. No one suffers. No one does much of anything except use drugs. Even addicts have lives.
Photos courtesy of Panoramic Pictures