“PUSHER”— Opioids in the Heartland


Opioids in the Heartland

Amos Lassen

On the simplest level, “Pusher” is about Brittany Lee, is a small time drug dealer in the quiet Appalachian town where she grew up. She is forced to come to terms with herself when she sees her high school sweetheart years later and she sees that he suffering from drug addiction. She finally realizes the damage that she is responsible for. We have had stories about addiction in the Heartland but because it does not affect us directly, we ignore it.

​Andi Morrow slaps us across the face with her film and it is a slap that really stings because it is so real. Morrow takes quite a different approach to addiction than the usual. She avoids the common clichés and conventions that we have associated with drug dealers in the past.

This is not a film about violence, deals gone bad or territory battles. Instead we see the harm and devastation it shines a light on the devastation that addiction brings with it. Morrow is not only the writer and director but she also plays Brittany Lee who realizes what she is doing to her community. of the path she is on. She sees her supplier ready to take her profits and begin an education, and she also sees her former school sweetheart suffer from his addiction. We also see the split between the generations when she goes to a church services where the few other churchgoers are elderly and find comfort in the church as contrasted with the hopelessness of the younger generation that suffers from  in their boredom and aimlessness.

The church scenes are quite sensitive and touching and what I really enjoyed here is that this is a film that (faces a serious social problem but it offers no solutions. What we do see via the characters is humanity and on Morrow’s part self-acceptance thereby giving us a ray of hope in an otherwise dark world. The film was made with the purpose of inspiring users, pushers and  communities to fight addiction.