Leaving Las Vegas is a semi-autobiographical film based on a 1990 novel by John O Brien. The storyline is based on a screenwriter Ben Sanderson (Nicholas Cage) an alcoholic who is fats on a road of going over the edge when he decides to move to Las Vegas and meets Sera (Elisabeth Shue). Leaving Las Vegas won an Academy Award for Best Actor in the leading role and a dozen more highly proclaimed awards.
The Main Story
Ben Sanderson stars as a man with a death wish who has lost his family and recently been fired. He decides to move to Vegas. Ben loads his BMW with liquor and drives drunk from LA to Nevada. He soon develops a romantic relationship with a hardened prostitute who works for an abusive Latvian pimp Yuri who has Polish mobsters after him. As time passes Sera asks Ben to move into her apartment where they reach a mutual agreement about his drinking and her prostituting.
The happy couple starts becoming frustrated with one another and in particular Sera with Bens drinking. He goes off gambling and meets another prostitute, and Sera catches him in bed with her and throws Ben out.
If things cannot get gloomier, Sera receives Ben’s call saying he is on his deathbed. Sera sees Ben, and they make love, and shortly after that, Ben passes away. Its sees Sera tell her therapist their relationship was such that they both accepted one another for who they were, and that is why she loved Ben. It’s an emotionally draining film with depictions of physical abuse tempered by sometimes doomed love. Leaving Las Vegas is powerful and visceral, leaving a lasting impression of just how bad life becomes when vices take over.