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37 Reviews
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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This will sneak up on you!
This film was first shown on TV at the boomtime of recovery when Betty Ford was pushing for recovery for families affected by addiction. The story portrays a middleclass family hiding dad's (Sheen's) alcoholism and sliding down the slope of denial. The reactions of the family to crises and the roles they each fall into are so accurately done that the viewer can get way...
Published on February 6, 2002 by Charles Whitcomb

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid Portrayal
The perfect film for an AA group. Very effective and a moving performance by Martin Sheen. A realistic portrayal of the effects Alcoholism has on families.
Published 7 months ago by Rick


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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This will sneak up on you!, February 6, 2002
By 
Charles Whitcomb (Ashland, MA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shattered Spirits [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This film was first shown on TV at the boomtime of recovery when Betty Ford was pushing for recovery for families affected by addiction. The story portrays a middleclass family hiding dad's (Sheen's) alcoholism and sliding down the slope of denial. The reactions of the family to crises and the roles they each fall into are so accurately done that the viewer can get way into his/her own alcoholic upbringing and pain before they are aware of it.
I have shown this at several gatherings and it never fails to shake some people up seriously. Kids are especially vulnerable in their teen years. But entire families can get very agitated during the viewing.
So I would recommend that anyone showing or viewing this film be prepared to deal with some extreme reactioons for several days afterwards. Don't just show this and send your guests home. Instead have a discussion and a followup trip to a meeting of Alateen, Al-Anon or AA.
BUT SHOW IT!
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Accurate and cathartic for Alcoholic Families, February 10, 1999
This review is from: Shattered Spirits [VHS] (VHS Tape)
The story is full of those disturbing yet common events which plague families struggling with Alcoholism. The folks who consulted on this film (Claudia Black for one - Authoer of some of the best recovery books for kids) did a great job of keeping the alcoholic insanity just high enough to really affect anyone who grew up with an alcoholic parent. The scenes are well constructed and the outcome is not sugar coated. ONE WARNING...don't just show this to a group or a friend or a bunch of kids thinking they'll like it. There will need to be some help and comfort offered. Some people will discover their own alcoholic and/or abusive past for the first time During the showing. Find out where there are Al-Anon, Alateen, and AA meetings BEFORE you show the film. But SHOW IT!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shattered Spirits, April 22, 2003
By 
Jordan B Killpack (Elk Ridge, Utah United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Shattered Spirits [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This film depicts substance abuse, domestic violence, co-dependancy in the family. Very powerful, very accurate.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent in Recovery Group Discussions, January 7, 2008
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This review is from: Shattered Spirits (DVD)
As an Addiction counselor I have used a VHS version of this film, showing clips to generate a discussion amongst those who are in recovery for their own alcohol addiction or those who are recovering from living with a heavy/problem drinker. It is a little dated now but it still manages to affect each audience everytime in a real and therapeutic way. Certainly not a plesant film to watch from end to end, it is difficult to watch in parts, but well worth being familiar with: like "When a Man Loves a Woman" with Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia. Good visual window into how addiction operates in a family and how everyone, not just the drinker, is affected.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars should be mandatory viewing in all treatment facilities, May 25, 2008
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This review is from: Shattered Spirits (DVD)
although a bit dated (film made in '86)..the movie depicts very clearly what it is like to be an active alcoholic, and what that does to a person's family. We see the legal problems, the work problems, the family problems that are caused because of someone's drinking.

Also shown is the co-dependency of several family members, as they make excuses for and cover-up the father's behavior. We see the verbal and physical abuse they have to endure.

I found it very difficult to watch...had to hit pause and come back later and watch more of the film, a segment here, a segment there. It's a very sad film, but an accurate one. You should buy this for your recovery library.

Martin Sheen's performance is just great here.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Honest Look at an Alcoholic Family, February 20, 2010
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This review is from: Shattered Spirits (DVD)
I think this is about the best movie I have seen about how addiction impacts a family. Though it is a made-for-T.V. movie from the late 1980's, it feels very contemporary in terms of the story that it tells. It is especially poignant that the lead character is played by Martin Sheen. One has to wonder how he landed this role, and whether addiction runs in his family as well as in his character's.
I think that a particular strength of this movie is how it depicts the impact that alcoholism has on the non drinking family members. Most movies about addiction and recovery (i.e., Clean and Sober, 28 Days, etc.) focus primarily on the addict. This is a mistake, as addiction almost always takes a toll on the whole family. This movie is well worthwhile. I highly recommend it.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shattered Spirits, June 9, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Shattered Spirits [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This was an excellent movie. The acting was superb & the Directing was great! I hope that it helped many people to see & understand what ANY addictive behavior can do to everyone; families, friends, & themselves. Just a footnote--I hope people enjoyed seeing my cat in this movie as it was filmed just across the street from our home in Simi Valley. :) Also, I would love to have an AFFORDABLE copy of this great film. Thank You :o)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The unspoken truth, August 11, 2010
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This review is from: Shattered Spirits (DVD)
I used this movie for an education class in drug and alcohol treatment. Sure, it was made in the 80's but the message is still the same. The movie is about a man who is an alcohol and how his alcoholism affects him and each member of his family. The movie doesn't end in a "happy ever after" but there is progress toward his recovery and the family becoming healthy again. I would highly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie!, October 10, 2011
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This review is from: Shattered Spirits (DVD)
Great movie,great message! It's a speaker meeting on film. Highly recommend for those in recovery or families of someone in recovery. Martin Sheen did an outstanding job. It's hard to get over how much his son, Charlie Sheen looks, sounds, and acts just like him!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great film about alcoholism, December 8, 2013
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This review is from: Shattered Spirits (DVD)
This movie is an excellent portrayal of what a family goes through with an alcoholic/addicted parent. Great movie to show in terms of for a class and/or group therapy session around family systems as impacted by addiction. Acting by Martin Sheen is phenomenal.
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Shattered Spirits
Shattered Spirits by Robert Greenwald (DVD - 2002)
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