Best Movies about mental Illness
How many times have you gone to the movies and been surprised by what you saw? Maybe it was the ending of a movie, or maybe it was a character’s personality that changed. Movies are full of surprises, and here are some examples of best movies about mental Illness that may surprise you.
If you want to see an Oscar-nominated film about mental illness that features a strong female lead and was directed by one of Hollywood’s most powerful female directors, then look no further than Girl, Interrupted.
Based on a memoir by Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted stars Winona Ryder as a young woman who voluntarily checks herself into a mental hospital in 1960. She quickly befriends Lisa Rowe, played by Angelina Jolie, who stays in and out of hospitals due to her schizophrenia.
As these two women grow closer together they learn more about each other’s illnesses and ultimately become part of each other’s support system. The friendship between these two characters is one that viewers won’t soon forget.
A Beautiful Mind
Winning Best Picture of 2001, A Beautiful Mind chronicles genius mathematician John Nash (Russell Crowe) as he battles paranoid schizophrenia. Although beautiful visually and a pleasure to listen to in many ways, some viewers may be turned off by lingering shots on character’s hallucinations and slow pacing.
But anyone with an interest in psychology will find it fascinating for how well it portrays certain symptoms of mental illness. On that note, if you are not interested in mental illness at all then there is not much here for you. It is also important to know that there is a lot more focus on Nash’s mathematical abilities than his psychological ones, this is not a film about schizophrenia.
A young man struggles to come to terms with his older brother’s accidental death. His parents are also not handling things well and they send him to a therapist. Through all of these struggles, he learns more about his family, himself, and mental illness. The movie won several awards, including two Oscars for Best Supporting Actor (Timothy Hutton) and Best Director (Robert Redford).
Perhaps more than any other movie on here, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is an example of how a character can experience significant mental health struggles over time.
The movie follows Mason Evans Jr. (Ellar Coltrane) from ages six to 18 and captures his transition from boyhood to adolescence, capturing all sorts of ups and downs in between: learning how to ride a bike, moving away from home for college, getting drunk for the first time at a party.
At times it may be difficult to watch these young actors age before your eyes; but for Mason and those who struggle with mental illness themselves the effect is mesmerizing as we see how he’s able to grow up despite all odds against him.
What Dreams May Come
This film follows a widower, who has lost his wife and child in an automobile accident. The film depicts how he must face his own demons to be reunited with them again. Starring Robin Williams and Cuba Gooding Jr., this film shows that mental illness can affect anyone from any walk of life.
It is not always just a disorder brought on by a chemical imbalance. There are many factors that may contribute to your mental state. Being mentally ill doesn’t mean you have to be lonely or afraid because it is not something you can prevent on your own, but you can seek help when it is needed and learn how to live with it when you cannot escape its grasp.
The film Insomnia (2002) addresses a lot of important issues regarding mental illness. In one scene, a police detective suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and is unable to sleep. He ends up being sent on assignment in Alaska because his superiors believe that he will snap if left alone back home.
On top of all of his other problems, he must also deal with personal demons from his past. The movie also highlights how others react when they discover that someone close to them has a mental illness. Throughout most of Insomnia, there is an attempt by law enforcement officers to convince others not to trust or even help anyone with mental illness for fear that they may be involved in criminal activity simply because they have symptoms of a mental disorder.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
There are few portrayals of mental illness as spot-on and positive as those in Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind.
The movie follows Joel, played by Jim Carrey, as he struggles with his breakup from his girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet), who had erased him from her memory using a revolutionary technique known as the procedure.
Within minutes, however, Joel realizes that erasing painful memories is not actually healthy for people and possibly dangerous for those who have suicidal tendencies. The movie will make you think about how much of your own mental state is dependent on what you choose to remember and forget.
In The Others, Nicole Kidman plays a woman who has been raising her two children in a house that may be haunted.
If you are looking for scary movies featuring mental illness, The Others is a good place to start. While it never explicitly states that Kidman’s character is mentally ill, it does include signs of paranoia (for example, she warns her children not to go out at night because of the things out there) and hallucinations. Whether or not these are manifestations of her illness is not clear which makes them all the more frightening.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
The film, starring Jack Nicholson and featuring a soundtrack by legendary composer Dave Brubeck, was ranked as one of The 100 Greatest Movies by Time magazine. The film garnered five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Nicholson. It is a stunning work that shows both sides of mental illness: Those who are marginalized and those who are ostracized (not liked).