Every era gets the drug it deserves. In America today, where competition is ceaseless from school to the workforce and everyone wants a performance edge, Adderall and other prescription stimulants are the defining drugs of this generation.
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The pressure to achieve more, do more, and be more is part of being human - and in the age of Adderall and Ritalin, achieving that can be as close as the local pharmacy. No longer just "a cure for excitable kids," prescription stimulants are in college classrooms, on Wall Street, in Silicon Valley...any place "the need to succeed" slams into "not enough hours in the day." But there are costs. In the insightful Netflix documentary TAKE YOUR PILLS, award-winning documentarian Alison Klayman (Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry) focuses on the history, the facts, and the pervasiveness of cognitive-enhancement drugs in our amped-up era of late-stage-capitalism. Executive produced by Maria Shriver and Christina Schwarzenegger, TAKE YOUR PILLS examines what some view as a brave new world of limitless possibilities, and others see as a sped-up ride down a synaptic slippery slope, as these pills have become the defining drug of a generation.
Slightly Alarmist But Still An Interesting Documentary
And when I say overdue, I mean 1930's overdue. While this film does have its flaws, which I will discuss in the second paragraph, but for the most part I found this to be a very interesting exploration of the history of stimulant medication and how it now over-saturates our society, a society based on success and being the best you can be. The film follows the history of stimulant amphetamine drugs from the 1930's till now and tells the story of both personal usage as well as how our society has conditioned us to need these medications. I found the intertwining stories to be well structured though at some times repetitive. Loved the art style they use to tell the story, and the facts and information about its history and its prevalence today to be very interesting and of the utmost importance to our America culture.
Now one of the flaws of the film are for one it does feel repetitive at times on multiple levels. For one the personal stories all felt the same, person wants to do better in life so they take these drugs to do better, and they do better. I found myself saying, yes I get it, it worked. The first half of the film they continually reiterate the fact that it worked, whether it be an artist, a college student, an athlete, a music producer, a stock broker, or a bay area tech guy. Instead of lumping them all together because the story is the same each time, they spend more time than needed o n each one individually. Another potential issue people might have is they may see the film about promoting ADHD medications as a miracle drug, and advocate its abuse by people who don't need it. While they do discuss the serious long term risk involved, it is massively overshadowed by the film talking about how great it is to abuse medications. But only some will have a problem with that.
Over all, it was a fairly great documentary that is long overdue, I recommend it to documentary fans, and also to people like myself who were diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.
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