Hollywood is famous for beautifully portraying a range of social and emotional issues related to human life. Some of the most personal and vivid portrayals of mental health are also beautifully depicted in films. However, some movies can stigmatize or distort mental disorders. This could make characters having an issue seem to be very different from everyone else. Due to this reason, individuals that actually deal with mental health issues on a regular basis can end up feeling ostracized.
In this article, we have compiled our list of 10 of the best films ever made on Mental Health. Read on to learn further about these amazing films illustrating different mental disorders.
Girl, Interrupted (1999)
Directed by James Mangold and Jonathan Kahn, Girl, Interrupted is the film released in 1999. It stars Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder as two young women admitted to a mental hospital in the late sixties. The film looks through the character of Susanna (Winona Ryder) who has deteriorating mental health. She suffers from a borderline personality disorder (BPD). Susassna meets Lisa (Angelina Jolie) who is a mental patient at the hospital and has escaped several times. Lisa is regarded as a sociopath having manipulative and rebellious tendencies.
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Directed by Ron Howard, the movie Beautiful Mind is based on a true story. It highlights the life of John Forbes Nash, Jr. played by Russel Crowe. Nash is a mathematical savant who lived with schizophrenia. A beautiful mind brilliantly highlights the challenges faced by Nash throughout his life due to his mental disorder. This includes paranoia and delusions. They badly affect his highly promising career, his personal life, and his mental health.
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
The drama film What’s Eating Gilbert Grape has an all-star cast that includes Johnny Depp, Juliette Lewis, and Leonardo DiCaprio. Lasse Hallstrom is the director of this film that realistically portrays a mental health issue. The movie focuses on Gilbert (Depp), a young man working at a grocery store for supporting his young brother and depressed mother. The mother, Bonnie (Darlene Cates), suffers from an eating disorder due to severe depression. Bonnie’s depression is due to the trauma of her husband committing suicide in their basement.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
This 2012 film stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in lead roles. Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) suffers from OCD while Pat (Bradley Cooper) suffers from bipolar disorder. David O. Russell is the director of this film. The film is an astounding blend of painful authenticity, huge laughs, and a moving love story. It thematically walks a tightrope and never has a dull moment throughout the film.
One flew over the cuckoo’s nest (1975)
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest is one of the only three films in the history of Hollywood to win the “Big Five” Oscars (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Screenplay). The film is a funny drama that is set in a mental institution. It stars Jack Nicholson as an unrepentant criminal that fakes insanity. Louise Fletcher plays the role of a heartless, steely, and calculating nurse. Miloš Forman is the director of this film. The film is a study of the institutional process. It explores control, freedom, and the human mind.
Inside Out (2015)
Inside Out reminds us that pain and sadness are an integral part of our life. The film highlights the various emotions in the mind of a young girl. The film characters joy, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust help Riley through her family’s move to San Francisco. It is a modern, clever, and well-made film that puts mental health into a new context. Upon its release, Inside Out won the Best Animated Feature at the Oscars.
Still Alice (2015)
Still, Alice follows the life of a linguistics professor Alice Howland (Julianne Moore). The film faces her diagnosis for her early onset of the ongoing Alzheimer’s disease. As her memory fades, she struggles to maintain her life in order. The film illustrates the efforts of Alice’s family members as they stay by her side. They are the ones who can no longer watch her deteriorate.
The film is directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland. Moore won numerous awards for this film. This includes the Academy Award for Best Actress.
Rain Man (1988)
Rain Man follows the story of two brothers Charlie (Tom Cruise) and Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) Babbitt. Charlie is autistic but he has a very interesting perspective take on life. In their time together, Charlie learnt that Raymond possesses an incredible memory. He also has amazing mathematical skills. The film brilliantly exhibits awareness regarding mental health. Moreover, it is also famous for bringing awareness regarding a mental disorder like autism into the public eye.
The Aviator (2004)
The Aviator is a psychological biopic-drama film. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett and Kate Beckinsale in lead roles. It follows the life of Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio). Howard is a movie director, famous business mogul as well as a pilot. His lavish lifestyle and relationship with Hollywood actresses are compromised. This is because of his obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has started to take significant control. As his condition starts to get worse, his life also starts to plummet. Later in this film, we learn that his family has a history of OCD.
The film was directed by Martin Scorcese. It was nominated for eleven awards. It won five of them including Best Supporting Actress for Blanchett, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Editing, and Best Art Direction.
Fight Club (1999)
David Fincher‘s cult classic Fight Club is another excellent film that focuses on mental health. It stars Edward Norton and Brad Pitt in lead roles. It focuses on the life of an unnamed depressed man (Edward Norton) who is also suffering from dissociative identity disorder (DID). He creates Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) as a coping mechanism. The film illustrates the life of a man suffering from a mental disorder in a very entertaining manner.
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