“Requiem for a Dream” and “Labyrinth”

NOTE: This is more the story behind why I watched these two movies in the first place, and why I’m featuring them here together, rather than an actually honest-to-gods review of the material. Fair warning.

Requiem for a Dream poster

At the end of March, one of my coworkers—Nate—and I were closing the store and since it was slowish, we had time to banter back and forth about our lives, at least as much as can be shared in 3-4 minute clips between customers and cleaning.

Somehow, I learned that his longtime girlfriend/fiancée was out of town and he wanted something to do to pass the time. He said he usually watched movies that she didn’t like in situations like this but he couldn’t think of any couple of movies that would go well together.

We got off topic for a while and then one of us (I don’t remember which of us) mentioned something about Jennifer Connelly. I said jokingly that he should watch Labyrinth (wiki) and then Requiem for a Dream (wiki) while his lady was out of town because who doesn’t want to watch the awkward, teenage Sarah Williams “blossom” into the lovely Marion Silver?

“Oh, that’s evil,” he said with a grin on his face. And that was the end of it for a while because we had to deal with Real Work™ and customers, etc.

Since I had been joking, I thought that was the end of it completely, but he’d apparently been mulling it over because when there was another lull, he said, “I’m going to do it. And I’ll bring in the films for you to watch, too.”

I laughed but agreed that, if he watched them, I would watch ’em, too, and report back. The next couple of days we didn’t work together because of our different schedules, but when we did next, he—as promised—had the films in hand for my viewing pleasure.

Labyrinth posterHe said, “I watched Labyrinth first and then Requiem, so I think you should do the opposite to see if the impressions you get are any different.”

Out of chronological order?” I asked, meaning I should first watch the film in which the older Connelly stars (Requiem for a Dream), and then the one with the younger actress (Labyrinth).

He grinned. “I think it might be worse that way than how I watched it.”

So, when I finally managed to sit down and take a gander (I watched the two movies back to back on an evening late in March), I realized that the first time I watched Requiem was at the prodding of another Nate, who I was dating at the time I first watched the film (in college). That’s neither here nor there, I suppose, but it was strange and discomforting for a minute or two before I was absorbed in the movie.

Well, here’s my verdict: Yes, it’s worse watching Requiem for a Dream first before Labyrinth. If the movies are watched in order of their production year, it just feels like the teenage character grew up and became a whore. I mean, it’s not pretty, but it happens in real life. But, if they’re viewed in the order I saw them, with Requiem first, it’s practically impossible to watch any of Labyrinth without thinking of that last ‘party’ scene in Requiem. Seriously. It’s a mild mindfuck. If I hadn’t already seen Labyrinth, watching the other one first might’ve ruined it for me; so I’m glad, in retrospect, that I’d already seen both movies.

Viannah E. Duncan

Viannah E. Duncan is a writer and activist hailing originally from Los Angeles. She lives outside of Baltimore, Maryland, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She has a cat, Cleo.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *