New American dramatic comedy Why Stop Now follows a young musical savant named Eli, whose mother Penny struggles with drug addiction. The film takes place all in one day: hoping to ace a piano audition and gain acceptance to an elite music conservatory hundreds of miles from home, Eli must first check his mother into drug rehab; should he be accepted and leave, Penny must be sober and able to care for Eli’s younger sister—something she has failed to do for the past decade.
The film’s plot hangs on the fact that Penny is not able to enter the addiction treatment centre though; because she hasn’t abused in several days, her urine sample tests negative for susbtances, and she is ineligible for public assistance. Without health insurance she cannot afford to pay for drug rehab. Refusing to attend his audition until he knows that she is taken care of, Eli agrees to help his mother do something he never imagined he would: find drugs so she can test positive and enter drug rehab with the help of public assistance.
Why Stop Now is not a move about drug users. Rather, the film showcases best those family members, and those friends, who care so much about their loved ones that they will tolerate their drug addiction for years. Eli lived with his mother’s problem for his entire life, and he has made excuses for her. Throughout the film it is clear that he did what no child should have to do; he parented himself and his sister. In the process he put his music career on hold, graduating from high school only to work at the local food mart, while his mother failed to enter drug rehab on her own.
The day at hand in the film is the first moment that Eli has felt confident enough to demand his mother get help and check into an addiction treatment centre. She resists, saying she’s okay, that she will never use again, screaming promise after promise. But Eli knows better. He knows that her words are meaningless, and nothing other than drug rehab will help her to live a healthy life and ensure that his sister will have a parent should he leave home to study. So, he makes one more day of sacrifices for his mother; this time helping her to secure the drugs she needs to be admitted, and to take control of her life so he can live his.