And so continues our awesome list of movies and how they uniquely portray different mental illnesses.
Rainman– This American road comedy tells the story of a selfish Los Angeles yuppie, Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise), and his brother Raymond Babbitt (Dustin Hoffman). Charlie, a materialistic and shallow douchebag, goes on to ‘kidnap’ his unknown brother, Raymond, with the aim of getting back a bulk share of the inheritance their father bequeathed to Raymond to help his tight financial situation. Raymond here is shown to be a savant with a neuro-developmental disorder, autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The movie shows the frustration that comes with being close to people with autism since they have no intention of socializing, and also, promotes acceptance of people with such condition. Charlie undergoes transformation in the course of the journey though. This movie won four Oscars at the 61st academy awards, and its crew received four additional nominations.
What about Bob– This comic movie explores the dysfunctional relationship between a psychiatrist and his clingy patient. It features Bob (Bill Murray) as the patient, who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, a host of phobias, and a dependent personality. Bob who doesn’t respect boundaries follows his psychiatrist, Dr Mavin (Richard Dreyfuss), and his family on vacation, much to his annoyance. He faces a lot of antagonism from Dr. Mavin but doesn’t really notice as he charms everyone in the doctor’s life. Leo spins out of control as he tries to get rid of Bob, the height of it all being the “death therapy”. But in the end, Bob becomes free emotionally and goes on to write a book which Leo sues him for.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower– This movie is Stephen Chbosky’s adaptation of his book with same name. It stars Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller. Charlie (Logan Lerman) is about to start high school, and he is shown to have spent some time in a psychiatrist hospital the previous summer. Charlie is shown to be a brainy introvert who doesn’t fit in, until a group of seniors adopt him. The movie captures Charlie’s vulnerability, his family issues, the issue of suicide, teenage angst, and his depression. I still think the book is better than the movie though.
Finding Nemo- This animation released by Walt Disney Pictures tells the story of an over-protective ocellaris clown fish named Marlin who, along with a regal blue tang named Dory, searches for his abducted son Nemo all the way to Sydney Harbour. Along the way, Marlin learns to take risks and comes to terms with Nemo taking care of himself. It stars the voices of Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould, and Willem Dafoe. Finding Nemo captures the reality of someone with anterograde amnesia, or the inability to form new memories. Nemo, a happy-go-lucky regal blue tang, suffers from anterograde amnesia, while Dory has short term memory loss. In summary, this movie explores the complex problem of memory loss.
Fight Club– This movie produced in 1999 is based on the novel of same name written by Chuck Palanhuik. It stars Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, and Helena Bonham Carter. Norton is the unnamed narrator tired of his white-collar job, who meets Tyler Durden, a soap salesman, on a flight back home from a business trip. It also shows Maria who overdoses on drugs and Tyler goes to save her. The nameless narrator is shown to suffer from depression and insomnia, and feels trapped. He starts the “fight club” with Durden, where men gather to fight and ease the tension of the pressures they feel. This movie offers the possibility of the idea of alternative identities as a coping mechanism. The narrator here also has dissociative identity disorder (DID).