The Basketball Diaries (1995) Review

Jim Carroll as a teenager looks set to have a fantastic life ahead of him and becoming a huge basketball star. But that is all threatened when he falls into the horrific world of drug addiction.


The story of how a young boy ends up addicted to drugs. It was so heartbreaking in a few different ways, Jim could have been a very good basketball player and its implied that he could have made it to college and then possibly pro. But what happened instead, he got addicted to hard drugs. It started off just being something the whole team done once a week, but then they ended up on higher class of drugs and then the addiction took over everything.

The death of his best friend Bobby was the key to what really put him on the road to the drug addiction as he took this really badly and it affected him a lot. Seeing the different things they would do to get money to be able to get more drugs was not nice to watch. Robbing people, breaking into houses, prostitution. It really highlights just how horrific it can be for people when they end up being addicted to drugs, I think it is something that we need to pay more attention to as you cannot ever really understand how that person is feeling.

I thought Leonardo DiCaprio was just incredible in this and you could really feel his pain and how much he wanted the money. Especially in the scene where he goes back to his mother and tries to get money from her. The desperation in his voice, screaming and crying was just so intense. I thought he was believable as well, showing at this early age of his career just what he was capable of.

The struggle of living on the streets and not knowing where your next hit will come from, getting beat up and nearly dying in the snow. All of this happened in the film which made for some very difficult viewing. But in the end when Jim is put in prison for six months he eventually manages to stay clean and starts telling his story. For me though one of the most heartbreaking scenes is when you think Jim will sort himself out after seeing Neutron on of the basketball players on TV playing All American High Schools. I really thought this would help Jim change his ways, but I guess it just showed even more than your addictions cannot be tamed easily.

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