Anne Merriweather, aging addict, despises living with her adult daughter, Jennifer. Jennifer tries to enstate boundaries to protect her daughter, Allison. Yet Anne’s jealousy and recklessness could stain Allison forever.
There has never been a more apt time to delve reflect on the role of medication and addiction in the US. 16.1 million people report abusing a prescription medication in 2020. Addiction touches so many of us and yet even today it can be taboo, hidden, and boxed in portrayed as a problem for people of a certain age and class. Cotton Something breaks this mold.
Anne Merriweather, is not a young disadvantaged person with little means. Anne is an addict many of us know, but we choose to selectively ignore their substance abuse. She is the 'functioning' one. Cotton Something is not just about addiction to oxycontin. It is about the cost of motherhood, the female gaze, and intergenerational trauma.
Cotton Something is a film that I have been crafting for a long time. You can see pieces of the narrative emerging in my past photographic work, and now after studying filmmaking at London Film School, I am finally prepared to make these characters a reality. The idea first struck me when considering my own relationship with medication during a series of self-portraits in college. After my own surgery I was offered opiates during recovery. However, I ended up refusing them because I feared growing dependent, a fear informed from watching others suffer. Yet, an alternate reality where I did become dependent on opiates remained on the back of my mind. This combined with my own deep appreciation for my determined, morally conscious mother gave birth to Cotton Something.
The Female Gaze
Cotton Something is a film about three generations of women. There is no room for a male protagonist. The story does engage with men as objects of desire and entertainment, but it does this to draw attention to the generational gaps on gender, sexuality, and power.
Addiction is something many people are familiar with. Substance abuse and dependence on medication can be difficult subjects to handle. Cotton Something seeks to draw attention to the overprescribing of opiods, in the states while sympathizing with the families of victims.
As a woman myself, I often think about the duality of societal perceptions of women. We are mothers or childless, each coming with biases and baggage. Cotton Something explores the difference between having a child and being a mother.