Review: Uprooting Addiction: Healing From the Ground Up

STUDIO: First Run Features | DIRECTOR: Tory Estern Jadow
RELEASE DATE: April 6, 2021 | Available on Apple TV, iTunes, Amazon Streaming & Vimeo on Demand
SPECS: NR | 65 min. | Documentary

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie 

Uprooting Addiction: Healing From the Ground Up offers an important and urgent look at our nation’s drug addiction crisis, its causes and one community’s fight to arrest it.

Director Tory Estern Jadow didn’t have to go far to see how the deadly opioid epidemic is affecting our country—her own backyard of Northwest Connecticut is a community besieged by the ravages of addiction. Jadow’s film thoughtfully explores how that community is changing the narrative by connecting the link between trauma and addition through a unique method founded by the film’s producer, addiction and trauma counselor Hope Payson. Payson leads an innovative retreat that uses the metaphor of a tree bearing a network of roots to help each attendee recognize the foundation of their trauma – abandonment, learning differences, sexual molestation, violence – and then work up the branches to see how it has manifested through their lives. Then they can begin to heal their wounds and end their dependences.

Uprooting Addiction interweaves the personal stories of six attendees from varying walks of life: Rob is a successful businessman who became addicted to opiates after back surgery; Ryan grew up in chaos, with a heroin-addicted mother and an absent father; Kaytlin lost her brother who suffered from mental illness to an overdose – before falling victim to heroin addiction herself; Daryl, a man who was incarcerated for a decade, following a long history of drug addiction, missed his daughter’s childhood when in prison; Chuck is a former high school wrestling coach who awoke to his addiction upon being recognized by a former student while shooting up in a dope house; and Kelvin spun out of control at a community picnic while high on drugs, coming to grips with his addiction when he saw himself through his daughter’s eyes.

Each subject gives an honest, unvarnished and emotional account of their challenges that makes it impossible for you not to sympathize with their struggles and cheer on their accomplishments. Through additional conversations with local social workers, activists, medical personnel and police, Jadow skillfully shows how all facets of the community have come together and to stop treating addiction as criminal issue but as a medical one. Their efforts in building a wide network of support for those in need has proven successful and is a great model for other cities who are looking for solutions to this unrelenting public health crisis.

About Janine

Janine is a dedicated fan of the 1940 film Kitty Foyle, directed by Sam Wood, written by Dalton Trumbo and starring Ginger Rogers, who won an Oscar for her portrayal. And seeing that film is all it took to make her a lifelong movie lover. Janine is excited to add her insights to the great team at