A loving mother is driving her daughter into town for a special 21st birthday treat. In between a massage and hairdresser appointment, Hannah asks her mum to make a quick stop. But she’s not popping to the shops for a chocolate bar or a copy of Heat; Hannah is meeting up with a dealer to score some smack. Depressing as this scene is, the images of Hannah painfully trying to find a working vein for her needle is even more likely to have the tabloids hopping mad. Yet this documentary by Jane Treays (whose previous films about youngsters in bother include Painted Babies and A Child’s Life) is likely to have more impact in letting the public view the real horror of drug dependency than a thousand screaming headlines. With previous working titles of Brighton Girl and Hannah’s Story, the makers eventually plumped for Mum, Heroin and Me, certainly a more eye-catching name and one that gets straight to the heart of this modern tragedy.
While Hannah’s mother appears unwavering in support for her daughter’s ‘illness’, it transpires that just prior to the 12-month shooting of this film, Kate suffered a no-holds barred breakdown. Trying to see beyond Hannah’s mindset, which focuses solely on where the next fix might be coming from, Kate digs deep to remember the girl she once knew; it’s a traumatic and difficult process, which can only be propped up by uncompromising parental love. Whether the opinion-formers within the printed press will be quite so understanding and sensitive to their plight remains to be seen.