Mary Goes Round Takes an Honest Look at Alcoholism and Addiction

Mary Goes Round Takes an Honest Look at Alcoholism and Addiction

We frequently see addiction portrayed in cinema. From the devastating portrayal of alcoholism in Leaving Las Vegas (1995) and sex addiction in Shame (2011) to subtler, possibly light-hearted depictions of behavioural addictions to porn with Don Jon (2013), and everything in between. But a recent Canadian film, Mary Goes Round (2017), takes a close look at alcoholism, and the stigma that surrounds it.

Mary Goes Round Film

The film is about it’s titular character, Mary, played by Aya Cash. Mary is an alcoholic. But she can’t quite admit it yet. Living in Toronto, she parties hard at night, and slogs through her hangovers during the day. Speaking of, in an ironic turn of events, Mary happens to be a substance-abuse counselor. But after drunkenly crashing her car after a colleague’s baby shower, Mary finds herself in jail with a DUI. Her boyfriend breaks up with her, and her boss puts her on leave to get the help she needs; the help she’s been providing others with, but can’t seem to accept for herself. “Why don’t you just fire me?” Mary asks. “No,” her boss insists. “I have faith in you.”

Everything comes to a head when Mary finally responds to the litany of voicemail messages her estranged father has been leaving her for weeks. They haven’t spoken in years, as a result of his own struggles with addiction that put a huge strain on the family. He misses her, and claims that her half-sister, Robyn, is eager to meet her. As it turns out, Robyn didn’t even know Mary existed. Her father is dying of cancer, and expects Mary to do the difficult task of breaking the news to Robyn herself.

Mary Denies Her Alcoholism

It takes some convincing, but Mary starts going to group meetings, though she’s not fully engaged with the program yet. She denies having a problem altogether. “What’s going so right in your world that you’re here?” asks Lou (Melanie Nicholls-King), one of the group members, after Mary refuses to speak.

It isn’t until Mary’s father is hospitalized, and she has to rescue a drunk Robyn from a house party, that things truly change. After taking her dad’s car to get Robyn, she gets pulled over for a broken tail light, and they’re both brought to the police station because she’s driving without a license. While waiting to leave, Mary looks her in the eye and admits to being an alcoholic. “And you’re the first person I’ve told,” she says.

A Lot Of Stigma Surrounding Addiction

There’s so much stigma around addiction and alcoholism that many people can’t admit to themselves, let alone anyone else, that they have a problem. However functional we may be in our daily lives, admitting we need help is difficult, and sometimes impossible. Those struggling with alcoholism often don’t believe there’s anything they can do, or that they wouldn’t qualify for long term disability in order to take the time to get the help they need.

Near the end of the film, Walter, Mary’s father, joins her in group. “I let myself be eaten by shame for most of my life,” he admits, “but I refuse for it to be the death of me, or anyone that I love. It’s not too late.” At Share Lawyers, we know it’s never too late to get the help you need, and the help you deserve.

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