Clean and Sober [1988]

After making his mark in several hit comedies including Beetlejuice, Michael Keaton startled critics and audiences alike with his acclaimed performance in this 1988 drama about one man's struggle against cocaine addiction. Keaton's comedic energy is transformed here into the kind of jittery intensity that's perfect for his role, suggesting a driven personality who can maintain the appearance of self-control for only so long before he crashes and burns. After a series of setbacks, Keaton's character seeks refuge in a drug rehabilitation program and must confront the truth of his own addiction at the urging of a counselor (Morgan Freeman) who's heard every lame excuse in the book from addicts struggling to quit. Kathy Baker leads a superb supporting cast as a recovering alcoholic and battered wife whose flagging self-esteem is boosted by Keaton's attention. Under the careful direction of Glenn Gordon Caron (of TV's Moonlighting fame), Keaton and Baker handle this delicate material with consummate skill and grace, turning a potentially depressing story into a moving portrait of people who must battle their inner demons step by tentative step. --Jeff Shannon

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