Blu-ray Review: Sarah T. – Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic

Sarah T. – Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic was directed by Richard Donner from a screenplay by Richard and Esther Shapiro and stars Linda Blair, Mark Hamill, Verna Bloom, William Daniels, Michael Lerner and Larry Hagman.

Sarah Travis (Linda Blair) is an average teenager who is introduced to drinking alcohol at local parties. As a means of coping with problems in her life, most notably her parents’ divorce, Sarah starts to drink regularly and tries to keep her addiction a secret, even from her boyfriend (Mark Hamill). Eventually, Sarah’s increasingly severe drinking almost leads to tragedy, and she enters Alcoholics Anonymous, beginning an ongoing struggle to get sober and stay that way. 

This 1975 made-for-television drama follows Sarah (Linda Blair), a 15-year- old teen who is introduced to alcohol at a party and she ends up using it as a coping device and escape from her problems. Needless to say, Sarah likes to drink – a lot! She’s left isolated and rejected and poor Sarah doesn’t really fit in with others at her school and her mother Jean (Verna Bloom) and stepfather Matt (William Daniels) simply ignore the warning signs and mark them off as growing pains and cries for attention. It also doesn’t help that her real father Richard (Larry Hagman) is also a complete disaster and not a good role model for the young teen. Actually, all of the adults in Sarah’s life are boozehounds and not good influences at all.

When Ken (Mark Hamill), another student from high school, shows Sarah some positive attention, she eats it up but slowly pushes him away when he realizes that she has a serious drinking problem. Sarah ends up getting desperate and begins to make sloppy decisions that hurt others but the denial from her inner circle is still there. Sarah’s mother finally decides to take her to Dr. Marvin Kittredge (Michael Lerner) to get a professional opinion but once again denial gets in the way of the truth and the reckless teenager continues down her destructive path. What happens is, an emotionally out of control Sarah ends up making one bad decision too many that ends with a fatality and leaves her in hospitalized and full of regret. In the end, this tragic wake up call is where Sarah comes around and finally admits that she’s an alcoholic.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features an image from the movie. The Blu-ray disc also features some individual artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. Shout! Factory has given Sarah T. a new 2K scan of the original film elements. The picture and sound quality for the high-definition disc were really good considering the obscurity of this made-for-TV movie. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Sarah T. – Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic is a movie that’ll connect to so families and teens out there because so many have had to deal with this dangerous issue. It did back in the day and it still does in present day. Kids can be cruel which means they look for way to escape and outlets for their pain. They don’t really know how to deal with isolation, rejection and neglect so alcohol and drugs are sometimes used as a coping device and a way to escape and it never ends well. Never! Sarah T. is a made-for-televison movie from the 70s but it’s a well made watch and features serious subject matter that deals with this sensitive subject. The legendary Richard Donner does a great job bringing the story to life on screen and the all-star cast does a really good job with their characters. Linda Blair trades in her terrifying possessed character in The Exorcist for a troubled teenager with a drinking problem and she delivers a powerful performance. Sarah T. – Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic will make its Blu-ray debut on January 29th.

Distributor: Shout! Factory

Run Time: 96 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Fullframe (1.33:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The extras include two new interviews exclusive to this Blu-ray release and a still gallery.

  • NEW 2K scan of the original film elements
  • NEW Linda B. on Sarah T. – an interview with Linda Blair (16:53)
  • NEW Richard D. and David L. – Portrait of A TV Movie – an interview with director Richard Donner and producer David Levinson (19:30)
  • Still Gallery (04:01)
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