Did you know that Hulu‘s content includes movies about substance abuse and addiction documentaries? This resourceful content being offered on the platform is an unexpected bonus of a Hulu plan. As an American entertainment company that provides “over-the-top media services,” Hulu is primarily focused on the instant streaming of television series.
Indeed, the platform carries current and past episodes of many television series, reality series, documentaries, and feature films. As a free resource for parents and teens, Teen Rehab has compiled the top 10 Hulu movies, TV shows and documentaries that touch on addiction, substance abuse and recovery.
Hulu Addiction Recovery Options = An Ancillary Bonus
For parents or guardians struggling to educate young people about substance youth disorder and addiction issues, Hulu streaming some of the best addiction recovery movies and shows is an ancillary bonus. Indeed, many excellent options are available on the platform to help educate first you, and then your child.
Although many of these addiction documentaries, shows and movies were strictly created for entertainment purposes, they offer a variety of perspectives on addiction and recovery.
Top 10 Hulu Movies, Shows & Documentaries About Addiction
1) Recovery Road (TV Drama Series, 10 Episodes in 2016)
Based on a popular young adult novel by Blake Nelson, Recovery Road is about a teenage girl dealing with addiction. Despite a bad reputation as a party girl Maddie doesn’t believe she has a problem. When she’s confronted by her school guidance counselor, she is forced to choose between expulsion and rehab, Maddie begrudgingly decides to move in with other recovering addicts at a sober living facility. While facing the challenges of early sobriety, she also has to navigate teenage life.
2) Intervention (TV Reality Series, Since 2005)
A popular reality series, Intervention reveals the process of a family intervention on unsuspecting addicts. Each show focuses on before the intervention to provide backstory, the actual intervention and ultimatum, and the aftermath. Featuring interventionists doing their jobs, all types of addictive disorders from drugs to behavioral addictions are included.
3) Requiem for a Dream (Feature Film, 2000)
A jarring psychological drama, Requiem for a Dream is based on a novel of the same name by legendary author Hubert Selby, Jr. and was directed by Darren Aronofsky. Selby, Jr. and Aronofsky co-wrote the screenplay for the film together. Starring Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, and Marlon Wayans, the stark film exposes the dark consequences of addictive disorders. Hard to watch at times, the story pulls no punches and is one of the most gritty and realistic movies about substance abuse on Hulu. The different forms of drug addiction result in each lead character being caged in ugly, reckless desperation that consumes their lives.
4) The House I Live In (Documentary, 2012)
A powerful documentary directed and co-written by Eugene Jarecki, the film shows the brutal human rights implications of U.S. drug policy. The cast of characters range from drug and narcotics officer to federal judge and prison inmate. Although the documentary shows the failure of the War on Drugs, it also reveals the tremendous human cost of addiction and drug use.
5) Mom (Television Sitcom, Since 2013)
Starring Anna Faris and Allison Janney, the Hulu show comically reveals the struggles of a single mom as she tries to hold on to her newfound sobriety. When her recovering-alcoholic mother re-enters the picture, her passive aggression makes a tough situation worse. The show comically reveals the challenges of early recovery while bringing up great topics for discussion.
6) Cartel Land (Documentary, 2015)
This American documentary film was directed by Matthew Heineman and chronicles the Mexican Drug War, especially vigilante groups that desperately fight to hold back the corrupting power and extreme violence of the Mexican drug cartels. The devastating cost of the drug war is revealed.
7) Wonderland (Feature Film, 2003)
As co-written and directed by James Cox, this hardcore American crime drama film is based on the 1981 Wonderland Murders in the Laurel Canyon neighborhood of Los Angeles. Starring Val Kilmer, Kate Bosworth, Dylan McDermott, Carrie Fisher, Josh Lucas, and Eric Bogosian, the film shows how drug addiction leads to dangerous choices. Kilmer plays the role of John Holmes, a famous pornographic film star whose need for money to buy more drugs led directly to criminal acts and vicious murder.
8) Thanks for Sharing (Feature Film, 2012)
As directed and co-written by Stuart Blumberg, this comedy-drama uncovers the harrowing cost of sex addiction. Starring Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Pink, the story is based around the 12-step process that can help people recover from their sexual addiction. This movie is a great example of how the best addiction recovery movies are not always about substance abuse, there are so many types of addiction that impact an individual’s life.
9) Cocaine Cowboys (Documentary, 2006)
A historical documentary directed by Billy Corben, the film chronicles the development of the illegal drug trade in Miami during the 1970s and 1980s. Balanced with interviews of both law enforcement and organized crime leaders, the rampant corruption and gangland violence associated with the drug trade is shown, uncovering the tremendous human cost of cocaine and cementing it as one of the top addiction documentaries available on Hulu.
10) Rescue Me (TV Series, 2004-2011)
Co-created by and starring Denis Leary, this comedy-drama series focuses on the professional and personal lives of a group of New York City firefighters after 9/11. The series shows how drugs and alcohol are used to push aside the trauma of that day and the friends lost. Leary’s Tommy Gavin is a self-loathing, manipulative alcoholic-addict who suffers from severe survivor guilt and posttraumatic stress disorder.
Screening Hulu Addiction Documentaries & Movies
Without question, parents and guardians should screen Hulu options before sharing them with teenagers. After all, many of these shows like Intervention and documentaries like Cocaine Cowboys show active drug use. Thus, they could trigger the desire to use in a person struggling with substance use disorder.
However, separating entertainment value from recovery value is crucial. Not every good or even great movie or series about addiction promotes recovery. In Wonderland and Rescue Me, there are questionable moments where drug use is romanticized a bit. Indeed, parents and guardians need to rely on good common sense to know what will work.
Smarter to be Safe than Sorry
At Teen Rehab, we always believe it’s smarter to be safe than sorry. Still, Hulu’s best addiction recovery movies, TV shows and documentaries are a real positive addition to the platform. If a form of entertainment becomes a medium of education, then it’s truly a win-win for everyone involved. Ultimately, that’s the outcome we all desire.