From the May 1970 magazine.

About Alcoholism - Alcoholism Information, Research and Treatment

Film Review - 'Loving' and 'The Happy Ending'

Popular notions about alcoholism are often expressed in fiction that touches on the subject, as it does in two recent films. By coincidence, each centers upon a person unable to cope with the horrors of domesticity in affluent suburbia, though in Loving it is a husband (George Segal) who is driven to drink, and in The Happy Ending, a wife (Jean Simmons).

Evidently, the filmmakers did not see either picture as the story of an alcoholic; all the boozing is presented merely as a symptom of problems more interesting and dramatic than addiction. The disastrous binge covered in the brief time span of Loving doesn't indicate definitely whether the man's condition is chronic, though many an AA will identify with such a typical episode as his midnight struggle to finish an overdue ad-art assignment. But the longer course of The Happy Ending does make up an all-too-convincing case history, with details that might have been lifted out of almost any woman's story heard in a suburban AA meeting: the bottle-hiding, the humiliating arrest for drunk driving, the inevitable twin addiction to tranquilizers and other mood-changing pills.

-- J. G.

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