Addict Named Hal has a real and genuine independent spirit that seems to come from a place of intimate experience, and director Lane Michael Stanley’s script feels directly inspired by events in their life that led to self-realization and a stark conceptualization of addiction and recovery.
A young woman with addiction issues checks into a rehab facility and her life changes forever.
Young adult Amy (Natalie L’Amoreaux) has some serious addiction problems, and her mother (played by Peggy Schott) checks her into a rehab house for a month-long stay. Right away, Amy is a fish out of water like a lot of first-timers: She feels she doesn’t belong, she doesn’t know the ropes at all, and the eclectic group of misfits at the rehab facility are more or less in various stages of recovery. So, fact of the matter is that Amy fits right in. Her first connection in the facility is with an addict named Hal (Ray Roberts II), a seasoned young man with an incredibly upbeat and positive approach to recovery. Everyone in the house looks at him as a sort of role model, despite how young he is, and he’s a touchstone of good energy, from which just about everyone in the house gleans their own sense of hope at whatever stage of recovery they’re at because Hal has been there and done that and he’s always got a good word, or a solid shoulder to lean on. Amy finds herself attracted to him, but not necessarily from a physical standpoint, no, although there’s that too. She sees in him solidarity and emotional stability, and it seems inevitable that these two will couple in their mutual time of need. She needs him more than he needs her, and as the days turn to weeks and Amy’s weakness for alcohol begins to crumble under the pressure of her brokenness, Hal is there to receive her brokenness. But, like the addict that he is, Hal can only bear so much of someone else’s burden, and he too finds his weakness at the forefront of a rash decision that sets him and Amy on a collision course with heartbreak and anguish.
Addict Named Hal has a real and genuine independent spirit that seems to come from a place of intimate experience, and director Lane Michael Stanley’s script feels directly inspired by events in their life that led to self-realization and a stark conceptualization of addiction and recovery. The film, while a little sparse with its fillers (it runs just over 80 minutes), has enough going on with side characters and a central thrust to keep it interesting, but its greatest strengths lie in how authentic it feels. Dramatically and thematically it’s a little on the thin side, and offers some hope despite its potentially devastating plot developments, but my approach to films about addicts is that while watching I hope to feel some empathy for the characters despite how I’m forced to watch them make poor choices, and Addict Named Hal achieved that as I watched it. This is a very human film with an incredibly sensitive approach. If I could’ve asked for more meat on the bones of the film, I would’ve, but it works as it is.