28 Days is a 2000 comedy-drama film starring actress Sandra Bullock, and directed by Betty Thomas, whose previous films included Private Parts, and The Brady Bunch Movie. Bullock is surrounded by a supporting cast which includes Steve Buscemi as an addiction counsellor, and the film's therapy group includes characters played by Viggo Mortenson (The Lord of the Rings), Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Secrets and Lies), Alan Tudyk (Patch Adams) and Diane Ladd. 28 Days was produced by Jenno Topping and written by Susannah Grant, for Columbia Pictures.
Protagonist Gwen Cummings (Sandra Bullock) is a hard-partying, hedonistic New York newspaper columnist, whose alcohol consumption has become so out of hand that she ruins the wedding of her 'square' sister Lily (Elizabeth Perkins), destroying the cake before crashing a stolen limousine into a suburban house. At court she is giving the choice between serving the prescribed 28 days in a drug rehabilitation center or gaol, and she chooses rehab as the lesser of 'two evils'.
The majority of the action takes place in the peaceful countryside rehab facility; where her initial indifference to the place and her issue, land her into even more trouble, at which point, she must ultimately decide what she wants out of her own life. Cummings eventually accepts that she has a problem, which is the first step toward recovery. The cast of fellow patients alternately retell their stories and provide comic relief. Cummings befriends Andrea (Azure Skye), a 17-year-old recovering heroin addict, who is a self-harmer. As one of the patients is released and walks out the door the others watch and one says that she hopes he makes it and another replies that since only three out of ten patients reach recovery, their odds would be better if he didn't.
In the course of treatment Cummings meets with her sister, who is still frothing with resentment that Cummings has ruined her wedding. In a later meeting the sisters come to a better understanding of each other. Cummings must also navigate her destructive relationship with her fiancé Jasper (Dominic West) and try get along with her unpredictable fellow patients.
28 Days and alcoholism treatment
Alcohol treatment is a complex issue and 28 Days glosses over many of the 'ugly' parts of real life addiction, although they do touch on the key points, such as the denial of a problem, the conflicts, resentments, low success rate of treatment and the problem of getting out of the controlled environment of a treatment facility and back into real life.
28 Days, while portraying alcohol treatment realistically, is a somewhat lighter treatment at the problem than grittier and darker films and more realistic features about alcohol addiction; such as My Name is Bill W starring James Woods, or Clean and Sober starring Michael Keaton.
- Sandra Bullock - Gwen Cummings
- Azura Skye - Andrea Delaney
- Dominic West - Jasper
- Viggo Mortenson - Eddie Boone
- Elizabeth Perkins - Lily Cummings
- Alan Tudyk - Gerhardt
- Reni Santoni - Daniel
- Marianne Jean-Baptiste - Roshanda
- Diane Ladd - Bobbie Jean
- Mike O'Malley - Oliver
- Steve Buscemi - Cornell Shaw
- Margo Martindale - Betty
- Susan Krebs - Evelyn
- Elijah Kelley - Darnell