Researches have shown that Hollywood, and other movie industries are guilty of stereotypical, negative, and often wrong portrayals of people with poor mental health in their movies. These people are often shown as being unstable, harmful, and violent. And this is bad because many people form their opinion or get information on certain crucial issues from what they see in the movies. However, it would be nice to remember that most movie producers make films that would appeal to a greater percentage, and are not really concerned about the credibility of what they show in these movies. Just know that the same way wrong stereotypes about racism and other forms of prejudices are propagated in movies, so are misconceptions about mental illness.
Here are some movies that treat the issue of mental illness.
The Note Book-This is a book made into a movie, and as a book is written by Nicholas Sparks. It was adapted into a movie in 2004, and stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. The story is about an elderly man, Noah, and his wife, Allie. He reads aloud to Allie, believing strongly that it would bring his wife’s memory back. The movie treats the issue of dementia, precisely Alzheimer’s Dementia, which worsens over time. The movie depicts the effects of dementia on the victims, as well as on their caregivers. It is a must-watch, enjoy.
Silver Linings Playbook-This movie stars Bradley cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, and depicts bipolar disorder. It revolves around Pat Solatono who leaves a psychiatric hospital to go back to a life of no-job, no-wife, and living with his parents. On his visit to his friends, he meets Tiffany Pat’s (Bradley Cooper) bipolar disorder makes him launch into long rants about Hemmingway, while Tiffany’s (Jennifer Lawrence) condition(we are guessing borderline personality or PTSD) makes her text relative strangers for booty calls. The movie’s biggest strength is its realistic portrayal of manic depressive, and the effect of losing someone dear to us.
A Beautiful Mind-This is an American biographical film based on the life of John Forbes Nash Jr., a Nobel laureate in Economics, and is inspired by a book with same name by Sylvia Nasar. Nash (played by Russell Crowe) believes he receives messages from space, and is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He experiences hallucinations and delusions. Also, he forms an imaginary character in his mind, his roommate, Charles Herman (Paul Bettany), whereas his room is for one person. However, this movie has been heavily criticized for its wrong misinterpretations of Paranoid Schizophrenia and the life of Nash.
As Good as it Gets– This movie features Jack Nicholson who portrays Melvin Udall, an eccentric misanthrope with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The movie shows Melvin’s struggle with contamination-related obsessions, his repeating and superstitious compulsions. His habit of social- avoidance hits at signs of schizoid personality disorder, and his exaggerated sense of self-importance make reference to narcissistic personality disorder. The movie has been criticised for some of its faux misrepresentations.
Black Swan-This movie centers on Nina Sayers (played by Natalie Portman), and her roommate mother, Erica (played by Barbara Hershey). It captures the dysfunctional relationship between Nina and her mom, and Nina’s psychological breakdown. Nina’s mother is shown be narcissistic, spends all day staring in the mirror. Nina feels swarmed, with the pressure to become the black swan, sexual advances from her artistic director, jealousy from other ballerinas, and her relationship with her mom. She experiences hallucinations, and hurts herself. She embraces the black swan in the end. The idea of psychosis in the movie incorporates other disorders such as OCD, eating disorder, self-harm, borderline personality disorder.
To be continued.