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A film’s portrayal of the human mind can be vivid and personal. As long as the scripts are accurate in their details. The movies sometimes stigmatize mental health issues or distort them, making characters with mental health concerns seem different from others. As a result, people who deal with these issues every day can feel isolated.
Everyone, young or old, is affected by mental health issues, whether they have a mental health condition themselves or have a friend, family member, or acquaintance who has one. The movies on this list cover a wide range of health topics. There is a range of difficulties socially interacting with peers, such as schizophrenia with high function. Their handling is careful, respectful, and relatable.
Here are our picks of the best Hollywood Movies on Mental Illness.
1. Silver Linings Playbook (2012): Hollywood Movies on Mental Illness
This list wouldn’t be complete without Silver Linings Playbook. There is a constant play on the stigmatizing term “crazy”, throughout the entire movie. What makes the movie engaging are the “normal” main characters, Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) and Pat (Bradley Cooper), who are both suffering from unidentified mental illnesses.
Steven Schlozman, MD, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, said he rather enjoyed the movie, despite some criticism for dramatizing mental illness. The story is more important than accuracy in Hollywood, so there will still be things that are there for the story. However, they did a good job of depicting manic depressive illness or bipolar disorder in someone who is quite bright, and whose insight into it is limited.
2. Girl, Interrupted (1999)
The film raises the question of what “certifiably crazy” really means. When compared with going to college, is checking into a mental hospital for women considered crazy? Would it be crazy to chase a bottle of Advil with a bottle of vodka? Susanna (Winona Ryder), who struggles with borderline personality disorder (BPD), explores these issues in Girl, Interrupted. She comes to understand who she truly is when she enters the mental hospital where she meets both like her and women utterly unlike her.
3. Black Swan (2010): Hollywood Movies on Mental Illness
It is an enchanting portrayal of an afflicted mind that is the subject of Black Swan, a psychological thriller set in the dark. Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) has many issues due to the immense pressure she faces as a professional ballerina. Despite her attempts to appear “okay,” the pressure ultimately leads to physical self-harm: She scratches her back to resemble the swan, denies herself food to stay thin, and stabs herself in the stomach as part of the performance to kill the White Swan. We see how striving for perfection can harm a person’s mind as we follow Nina’s downfall.
4. Rain Man (1988)
The comedy classic follows Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) and Raymond Babbitt (Dustin Hoffman) as they learn about disabilities. Unlike other people, Charlie is autistic (in fact, he is a savant). He has an interesting take on life and issues punchy lines. Charlie becomes aware of Raymond’s incredibly good memory and unmatched math skills as they spend time together. Rain Man is a touching film that was known for bringing autism to the public’s attention and displaying a great awareness for mental health.
5. A Beautiful Mind (2001): Hollywood Movies on Mental Illness
Inspired by the true story of John Forbes Nash Jr. and Sylvia Nasar’s biography of the same name, A Beautiful Mind is a film based on a book. John Nash, who was a bit of an outsider, quickly became famous for discovering a “game theory” that contradicts centuries of economic theory. His paranoid schizophrenia (an illness where someone loses touch with reality) increases as a result of the government being aggressive in gaining his attention. In this film, a mentally ill person triumphs over the disease.
6. The Breakfast Club (1985)
A different group of high school students is sent to detention on a Saturday afternoon. The stereotypes are immediately apparent: rebel, nerd, athlete, popular girl, and kook. Despite this, we soon discover that each of them is under some kind of pressure that is compromising their mental health: John (Judd Nelson) has come from a dysfunctional family.
The desire for Andrew (Emilio Estevez) to bully others comes from his father’s borderline severe emotional abuse of him. Brian (Anthony Michael Hall) tries to commit suicide with a flare gun. Many people can relate to the space between those who appear to be “just fine” and those on the verge of collapse in The Breakfast Club. If there’s one thing to take away from the movie, it’s this: “We’re all pretty bizarre.”It’s just that some of us are better at hiding it than others.”
7. Good Will Hunting (1997)
Matt Damon’s character, Will Hunting (a janitor at MIT), is a naturally brilliant young man who enjoys solving amazing puzzles that the other college students can’t seem to figure out. Due to his abusive childhood, Will’s mind is also quite troubling, despite his incredible intelligence. As a result of regular therapy (Robin Williams), Will can overcome his depression and build a better life for himself. The uplifting, humorous classic Good Will Hunting is a must-see.
8. Still Alice (2015)
Here’s one that will make you cry. Alice still follows an early-onset Alzheimer’s patient (Julianne Moore). It explores the desperation of her family and those who can no longer watch her deteriorate as her memory fades and her life falls apart.
9. The Aviator (2004)
Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a famous businessman, movie director, and pilot whose life is overthrown when obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) takes control. Our story begins to unravel when his condition deteriorates and he falls further into despair.
10. Charlie Bartlett (2008)
Charlie Bartlett aims for the same goal that all films dealing with mental health do. We all suffer from mental health problems. Charlie Bartlett (Anton Yelchin) has had a lot of opportunities, but his fatherless upbringing caused him to act out and withdraw. Additionally, he suffers from ADHD. He finds that he is not the only one with problems when he moves to public school. He will do his best to listen to others as they confide in him about their issues with family, body image, sexuality, and more. His method (convincing psychiatrists to give him free drugs) is unconventional. He finds his true calling through the experience.