Movies made the common man sit and take note of mental illnesses and accept them as a part of humanity, and not something to be leered at. People suffering with mental illnesses were suffered, hidden or apologized for in earlier days. Movies have changed the way we perceive these illnesses now.
1. Schizophrenia: A Beautiful Mind (2001)
This is the Oscar-award winning movie depicting the story of a renowned and brilliant mathematician, John Forbes Nash, Jr., played admirably by Russell Crowe. This movie depicts with amazing accuracy, the confusion that a fine mind experiences when first faced with schizophrenia. The movie follows the progress of Dr. Nash from the 1950s, through a fantastic career path that includes being recruited as a code breaker by the CIA. Dr. Nash’s brilliance is not affected but his powerful delusions affect his life terribly.
2. Delusional Disorder: Shutter Island (2010)
Set in the year 1954, this movie depicts the life, thoughts and experiences of World War II veteran Teddy Daniels played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Post the war, Daniels works as a federal marshal, who takes off to a mental hospital on Shutter Island along with his new partner, Chuck played by Mark Ruffalo. In the process of investigating a patient’s disappearance, a series of confusing questions arise. Daniels loses his grip on reality, while the actual reality is revealed in the rather unexpected and shocking ending.
3. Depression: The Hours (2002)
The Hours talks about three women and the thread of depression that runs through their life. Nicole Kidman plays the role of famous author Virginia Wolff, whose character Mrs. Dalloway is played by Meryl Streep. The third character is a young mother reading the novel, played by Julianne Moore. All three women live with acute depression and the persistent notion of suicide.
4. Borderline Personality Disorder: Girl, Interrupted (1999)
Winona Ryder is a depressed and lost soul incarcerated in the Claymore mental institution. She becomes friendly with a bunch of other troubled women in her ward, and falls under the hypnotic spell of Lisa, a wild and hardened disturbed girl played admirably by Angelina Jolie. The story revolves around Winona Ryder’s fight against her situation and her attempt to regain her individuality.
5. Anxiety Disorder: Ordinary People (1980)
After the loss of a son, Beth and Calvin get on with their life with their remaining son Conrad. Conrad becomes the victim of misplaced guilt and grief and attempts suicide. The movie depicts how the mother is unable to support her son, as she was always partial to his dead brother. The dad tries to keep the family together even as the threads that hold them start unraveling.
6. Dissociative Disorder: Psycho (1960)
The movie centers on a girl, Marion Crane, who misappropriates a large sum of cash from her employer and runs away with it. She pulls off the highway to spend the night at the desolate Bates Hotel run by a psychopath, Norman Bates. Norman Bates has a weird hate-love relationship with his controlling mother, which gives an edge to his evident psychosis. The story tells how Marion becomes Norman Bates’ victim.
7. Autism: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993)
This movie depicts the tenderness and care with which Gilbert takes care of his autistic seventeen year old brother. Working at a convenience store that’s seen better days, Gilbert manages the fatherless Grape household, with his obese mother, and sisters Ellen and Amy. Gilbert’s future is thwarted and he sees no way out till the free spirited Becky arrives in town, igniting unknown feelings in Gilbert.
8. Multiple Personality Disorder: Fight Club (1999)
The narrator of this story suffers acute insomnia, which gets worse when he meets Marla, a young lady he has much in common with. He also meets a young chap named Tyler; the two of them enjoy hitting each other as a way to relieve tension. A fight club is formed as a result of their fame, with both men making good money out of it. In reality, Tyler is the narrator’s alter ego, who occupies the narrator’s body when his mind is blacked out. The movie depicts this reality through a gradually moving awareness.
9. Assorted Mental Illnesses: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
Perhaps one of Jack Nicholson’s finest; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest depicts mental illness and the way mental institutions used to handle them previously. Upon committing a crime, Jack Nicholson’s character is sent to a mental institution for evaluation. Nicholson becomes the natural leader against oppression in the institution, fighting for the rights of the mentally ill patients, who are essentially human beings. This movie depicts beautifully that a mentally ill person is no less of a human, with the same rights to feelings, thoughts and desires.
10. Suicidal Psychopathic Depression: The Fisher King (1991)
Radio DJ Jack Lucas, played by Jeff Bridges rants about the pointlessness of humanity on radio. One enamored fan takes him at his word and goes around killing innocent people at a restaurant. This horrifies DJ Lucas, who then goes into a long term depression and tries to commit suicide. In comes Robin Williams who suffers from posttraumatic stress disorder apart from other assorted mental illnesses. He convinces DJ Lucas to go on a hunt for the Holy Grail with him. The story revolves around how one mentally ill person helps the other one cope with their situation.
Alex Higgins work for self hypnosis resource website where you can instantly download relaxation cds, subliminal messages and binaural beat recordings from certified experts.