Tag Archives: Vera Bulder

Parents Who Use Drugs…

Bleeding Love

by Christie Robb

It’s generational trauma time as real-life father and daughter Ewan and Clara McGregor play estranged family embarking on a 14-hour road trip across the American Southwest.

She thinks she’s going on a vacation. He’s taking her to rehab in the aftermath of a first OD at 20. His support now is made possible by his own sobriety journey. It’s just too bad that his rehabilitation started after his daughter’s early childhood had ended. And his rock bottom involved abandoning the family.

Directed by Emma Westenberg (Stranger’s Arms), Bleeding Love is a spare, gritty film. Quite a bit of it consists of extreme close ups of the pair, bathed in golden desert light, awkwardly attempting to rebuild a connection.

This is interspersed with the tropes you’ve come to expect from road trip movies—a breakdown, a sing-along, moments of high drama broken with comedic relief—the best of the latter coming from a sex worker (Vera Bulder) who helps the duo navigate a medical crisis.

With flashbacks to the daughter’s childhood, recalling moments of joy and pain surrounding her dad’s wacky behavior, the film will definitely give watchers of a certain age flashbacks to the large-scale anti-narcotics PSA by Partnership for a Drug-Free America. Nope. Not the frying egg. The other one.  The one with the dad finding a box of drugs in his son’s bedroom and asking the poor kid how he even knows to use them.

You alright. I learned it from watching you!”

Bleeding Love can be a bit heavy-handed and ignores some of the realities of addiction (like the crushing hangovers) but it’s sweet and hopeful and grounded in the real-life struggles of the McGregors.