Visual is a medium that has the most impact on a person’s brain. And movies are unarguably the most influential factor in pop culture. With the importance of Mental Health Awareness being more than ever, it is important to differentiate accurate portrayals from the heap of movies that so often portray these characters with gross exaggeration. Here is a list of movies that actually did a great job in depicting such issues.
1. The Machinist – Insomnia
How often have you read ‘Insomniac’ in someone’s Instagram bio? Contrary to the perception which people have that staying up till 2 AM is Insomnia and that it is cool, the reality is far from it.
Trevor, the protagonist suffers from severe Insomnia, which causes his body to emaciate and his mind to hallucinate. One such hallucination occurs while he was operating a machine and a colleague gets injured. After this, he gets alienated from the world furthermore, which makes him paranoid. The film goes on to reveal why Trevor gets Insomnia in the first place and whether he continues to be plagued by it or not.
2.A Beautiful Mind – Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a word that is thrown around a lot these days without truly realizing what it means. This biographical drama is about John Nash, a mathematician who gradually developed Paranoid Schizophrenia.
This film stands out because unlike many other films who portray schizophrenics as extremely eccentric, deluded, dangerous and psychopathic, John is a smart, sweet, normal man. The film is entirely from his POV, as he watches helplessly how his illness is straining relationships with others.
3.Shutter Island – Bipolar Disorder/ Mental Institutions
To Avoid spoiling this brilliant film, we will keep the description to a minimum. DiCaprio’s character, Teddy, is sent by the government to investigate the case of a missing patient in Shutter Island, a Psychiatric Institution. The film goes on to show shocking revelations about Teddy and how patients in such facilities were treated in a not so distant past.
4. Little Miss Sunshine – Depression/ Suicidal
Charming, witty, funny.. does that sound like someone who is depressed? If not, you have bought into the myth of how depressed people behave: down all the time, morose, don’t laugh, killjoys.
The film is about Frank, who tried to kill himself post a nasty break up and his niece, who dreams of winning a beauty pageant. It is an intelligently made comedy film which shows him trying to get on with his life despite his difficult past. His depression doesn’t define him and never do you feel sorry for him.
5.One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Mental Institutions
Other than Jack Nicholson’s brilliant performance, the film has much more to offer. The story is about Mac, who is a criminal and doesn’t like authority. This gets him into a mental institution. The film goes on to depict how badly patients were treated in the 60s and has characters suffering from epilepsy, deafness, muteness, anxiety disorders. The film also throws light on how anti-authority people were castigated and ostracized.