CINEMA: A Familiar Slippery Slope

Nothing resonates in a tale of a mother's romance with drink

Take your choice -- tragedy or a 12-step program. The path to either of the only two possible endings for a story about alcoholism is, dramatically, entirely predictable. So when Alice Green's social drinking starts turning into antisocial behavior in When a Man Loves a Woman, you have an awful feeling that you've been down this slippery slope before.

The skid marks left by dozens of previous books, movies and teleplays show the terrain: innocent children imperiled by drunken carelessness; a steadfast spouse trying to understand and cope; an alarming incident that brings the victim to the edge of self-destruction --...

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