The Hungry Heart provides an intimate look at the often hidden world of prescription drug addiction through the world of Vermont Pediatrician Fred Holmes who works with patients struggling with this disease.
Dr. Holmes prescribes Suboxone (buprenorphine), a tool used to help addicts stop their cravings for opiates. Through the film we see that the Suboxone program that Fred runs has its pros and cons — for some taking Suboxone is a crucial stepping stone to long term recovery, for others it is a crutch, for others Suboxone is abused and diverted onto the street. Through the film we see Dr. Holmes struggling with these challenges and trying to make sense and keep the faith in the midst of many contradictions.
Most importantly however, as the film progresses we begin to see the simple but profound connection that Dr. Holmes creates with each patient. The film shines a light on the healing power of conversation and the need for connection that many of these young addicts yearn for but do not have in their lives.
In addition, the film interviews a number of older addicts who talk about their recovery process juxtaposed against Fred’s patients. The road to recovery is paved with both success stories and strewn with relapses, downfalls and tragic losses. However, through the movie we see the many faces and diverse populations of addiction, and their continued search for a life of recovery.