Join 3,494 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Mental Health Movies
September 14, 2005 8:32 PM   Subscribe

Yet another movie post ... We need movies that deal with some aspect of physical or mental health disabilities.

My wife is a social worker who runs a weekly group session for mental health patients in which she shows a movie dealing with mental illness. The point is that if the patients see their illness in someone else, they may be better able to identify it in themselves.

Oh, but there is one little catch. Even though this is an adult group, it's run through the county, so the movies can't be rated R. Yes, it's a stupid rule, but it's the rule nonetheless.

To give a jumping off point, some of the movies they've already done are "A Beautiful Mind", "Shine", "As Good As It Gets".

Any other recommendations of G, PG, or PG-13 movies are much appreciated.
posted by robhuddles to Media & Arts (46 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Cosi. An amateur theatre director gets his first gig running a rehab program for a group of patients with various mental illnesses. The program is overrun by one patient who insists that they stage a performance of Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte, despite the fact that none of the group can sing or speak Italian.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:38 PM on September 14, 2005


Damnit, I just saw that it's rated R in the US. Unbelievable.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:40 PM on September 14, 2005


What is the rating for Clean and Sober? powerful film...
posted by seawallrunner at 8:56 PM on September 14, 2005


What's Eating Gilbert Grape
posted by tellurian at 9:01 PM on September 14, 2005


Awakenings.
The Three Faces of Eve (this may not be as accurate as you'd like, and may be too intense for kids—it's unrated).

The big problem is that most of the movies I can think of are R-rated.
posted by cerebus19 at 9:03 PM on September 14, 2005


Or how about Regarding Henry or Forrest Gump or the TV series "Monk?"
posted by cerebus19 at 9:07 PM on September 14, 2005


The Raging Moon
And that's all I can suggest. As obiwanwasabi (on preview cerebus19 too) has already remarked, the US ratings seem to be really harsh. Other great movies like Rain Man, My Left Foot, etc get rated out. Oh! I just thought of another - are cartoons okay - Nemo.
posted by tellurian at 9:19 PM on September 14, 2005


What about Children of a Lesser God? I'm not sure of the rating though, it may be R rated.
posted by googlebombed at 9:20 PM on September 14, 2005


The Other Sister

I haven't seen it, so I can't vouch for how good it is, but it is PG-13.

Matchstick Men

I am Sam (same with this one)

And I'd be careful when renting "Monk". The first two seasons are good, but after that they really milk the OCD = funny thing, so I don't know how appropriate it would be for the sessions.
posted by kosher_jenny at 9:26 PM on September 14, 2005


What's Eating Gilbert Grape
Charly is the Flowers for Algernon movie
Of Mice and Men both 1992 and 1939
I am Sam
Radio
Chris Burke is the young man that many remember for his roll as Corky. Sort of an inspirational story.

You'll likely find more at good old imdb with this search. (My favorite inclusion on that list has got to be Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy which comes in at number 54.)
posted by geekyguy at 9:27 PM on September 14, 2005


Clean and Sober is an excellent suggestion though I don't know the rating. For reference, when the film played Toronto it was accompanied by members of the Schizophrenic Society (or some such group) who handed out pamphlets and spoke at screenngs. The rep I met said it was the most accurate portrayal of schizophrenia ever filmed.

I would also recommend the director's last film, Keane, which opens in some US cities this month and hits video in North America in the first quarter of 2006. It was the best film I saw in 2004. Extraordinary performance by Adrian Lewis of a man with an unnamed mental illness.

Also (and sorry, I'm not bothering to check ratings as you can do that yourself and they'd be different where I am anyway):

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
What's Eating Gilbert Grape
The absolutely stunning The Devil and Daniel Johnston (not yet released)
Flyerman
A Woman Under the Influence
posted by dobbs at 9:28 PM on September 14, 2005


Oops, that should be Damien Lewis, not Adrian.
posted by dobbs at 9:29 PM on September 14, 2005


Oh, and maybe How's Your News? and Spider.
posted by dobbs at 9:33 PM on September 14, 2005


Also these:

Of Mice and Men (1939 version. There's also a more recent version with John Malkovich. They're both unrated, I think.)

Radio

Benny & Joon
posted by kosher_jenny at 9:33 PM on September 14, 2005


Not sure if this is exactly about physical disabilities, but it is a great movie.

Alonzo's Oil
posted by meta87 at 9:34 PM on September 14, 2005


(I think meta87 was thinking of Lorenzo's Oil.)

Hmm... most of the examples not already mentioned I can think of are Rated R, and thus would NOT meet your rating criteria: Pi, Murderball (physical disabilities), Elling (Norwegian; Kevin Spacey is remaking this for US audiences), The Princess and The Warrior (German; DVD has an English-language track)

However, this one is PG-13:
- Shower (Chinese)

I'd be careful to prescreen comedies, esp Benny & Joon; they may cross too far over the line into sentimentality or even mockery... and might not be very therapeutic.
posted by skyboy at 9:45 PM on September 14, 2005


Julien Donkey-Boy is R-rated, but seems on-target.
posted by Gyan at 10:03 PM on September 14, 2005


Clean and Sober is rated R (search for "Certification").
posted by cerebus19 at 10:04 PM on September 14, 2005


Clean and Sober is rated R (search for "Certification").

Or check out RottenTomatoes instead of IMDB. Easier to find the rating and a good site to see what people think. Not a replacement to IMDB but certainly works well in tandem.
posted by geekyguy at 10:10 PM on September 14, 2005


Clean, Shaven. It's unrated but is very much an adult movie. Main character is schizophrenic I believe.
posted by 6550 at 10:19 PM on September 14, 2005


An Angel at my Table
posted by SAC at 11:46 PM on September 14, 2005


damn it! Sorry, that was rated R
posted by SAC at 11:47 PM on September 14, 2005


I reccommend "Angel Baby", an Australian film from about 1996. It's quite a stirring story of two mentally handicapped people who decide to have a baby, and the outside forces that try to stop them.
Also, the soundtrack is beautiful.
posted by Radio7 at 12:45 AM on September 15, 2005


Radio7, I was going to suggest "Angel Baby" too but, alas, it's R-rated in the US. A beautiful, if painful, movie.

re: Cosi. Yes, unbelieveable. IMDB says it's R-rated for language. Wouldn't have thought so, but it's been a while since I've seen it. Doesn't Jackie Weaver get her boobs out at one stage? That's the only other reason I can think of.
posted by Pinback at 3:15 AM on September 15, 2005


Forrest Gump

Don't put the awful Streisand movie Nuts on your list, regardless of its rating. It was superficial crap.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:47 AM on September 15, 2005


Girl Interrupted
(sorry, don't know rating)
posted by peacay at 4:28 AM on September 15, 2005


Shine
The Fisher King
Birdy
Psycho
Harvey
Twelve Monkeys (may be too disturbing)
Girl, Interrupted (rated R, but not really for any good reason)
What About Bob?
Crazy People (screen it first- it's often very funny, but walks that fine line between showing empathy for the mentally ill and "wacky, crazy people!")
posted by mkultra at 7:38 AM on September 15, 2005


Psycho Donnie Darko.
(insert Freudian interpretation here)
posted by mkultra at 7:39 AM on September 15, 2005


Forgive me if I missed something in the initial question, but I would just like to point out the distinction between mental illness and mental retardation here. There's an enormous difference between the two.

Showing How's Your News?, Gilbert Grape, I am Sam, or even Forrest Gump to a group of mentally ill people in this context would be a huge mistake for a social worker to make. It basically equates to calling schizophrenics and the like "retarded".
posted by hellbient at 7:59 AM on September 15, 2005


I mentioned Forrest Gump for the amputee Lt. Dan more than for Gump himself. And I fail to see how the movis calls schizophrenics retarded. Please elucidate.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:01 AM on September 15, 2005


Hilary and Jackie. MS. Oh crap, rated R. Probably for nudity.

An Angel at My Table is an interesting case since Janet frame did not have a mental illness, yet was diagnosed and institutionalized as such. An outsider mistaken for mentally ill. The movie is good, directed by Jane Campion, and will recently be released by Criterion.
posted by scazza at 8:27 AM on September 15, 2005


Forrest Gump is a movie about a man with a low IQ. Maybe he's not "retarded", but he is obviously slow. (Sorry, I don't remember the amputee in it).
Schizophrenia, on the other hand, is a disease that can affect even the most intelligent.
Showing this movie to mentally ill people while asking them to find similarities to themselves in it would reveal the social worker to be unacquainted with or oblivious to this distinction.
posted by hellbient at 8:38 AM on September 15, 2005


Door to Door, a made-for-tv movie about a guy with cerebral palsy who wants to become a salesman. It won a bunch of awards, including some Emmys and a Peabody award, so it's not some crappy Lifetime thing.
posted by sarahnade at 9:02 AM on September 15, 2005


I would have suggested Murderball, but it is R.
Angel At My Table is good, but... well she should watch it first and decide if it is appropriate.
Agnes of God
West 47th Street
Shine
Fear Strikes Out


Look at the list here
hellbient's point is important, I work with Developmentally disabled adults, and I have worked with MI adults, as he(?) has noted the two are very distinct from one another.

An interesting side thing, if the clients she is showing the movies to are adults and their own guardians I think the counties policies on this issue are severely out of line.
posted by edgeways at 9:18 AM on September 15, 2005


I think the objections to Forrest Gump and the like are exaggerrated. A mentally ill person can see that even someone without a disorder can be an outsider and acheive things in society.
posted by scazza at 9:25 AM on September 15, 2005


Warm Springs is about FDR being paraplegic.

The Brooke Ellison Story is about a paraplegic girl who goes to Harvard.
posted by dpcoffin at 9:29 AM on September 15, 2005


Oh, and The Madness of King George and Me, Myself, and Irene (though the latter is most definitely R).
posted by mkultra at 9:38 AM on September 15, 2005


From the original question:
We need movies that deal with some aspect of physical or mental health disabilities. My emphasis.

The criticisms of my suggesting Forrest Gump are off-base. Especially from someone who doesn't even remember an amputee in it. Going on to tell us what you do remember about it, then contrasting it with something completely unrelated is just noise.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:31 AM on September 15, 2005


Kirth - you said: I fail to see how the movis calls schizophrenics retarded.
If you read my comment, i never said the movie did that. You jumped to that conclusion.

I forgot about the amputee because i found it a rather forgettable movie. I respected your argument about the physical disabilities, but I still stand by what i said. If you like, you can remove your movie from my first comment when you reread it, since you insist that it was the amputee you were referencing and not the sub-intelligent character who is in 95% of the movie.

Going on to tell us what you do remember about it, then contrasting it with something completely unrelated is just noise.
I thought I made my point, but perhaps I wasn't clear enough. Can you tell me specifically what you didn't understand and maybe I can shed some light?

And robhuddles mentions "A Beautiful Mind", "Shine", "As Good As It Gets", all of which involve mental illness, not mental retardation - so that's also why I brought up the distinction.

Furthermore, you should really refrain from calling other's comments "noise". It smacks of bullying and has an air of desperation. I think the folks reading this can decide for themselves what's noise.
posted by hellbient at 2:15 PM on September 15, 2005


hellbient, this is really not the place for this particular discussion, but I will try to reply in simple terms.

If you found the movie forgettable to the point that you could not remember one of the major characters, and his significant disability, you should not be commenting on its appropriateness to the question asked. That character is also in a large part of the movie, and the actor Gary Sinese was nominated for an Oscar for his effort.

There is no part of your point that I did not understand. It was this that I objected to:
Showing How's Your News?, Gilbert Grape, I am Sam, or even Forrest Gump to a group of mentally ill people in this context would be a huge mistake for a social worker to make. It basically equates to calling schizophrenics and the like "retarded". [Emphasis mine.]
I did not jump to a conclusion; your words are what they are.

I asked you to explain this, and you came back with an explanation of the distinction between retardation and schizophrenia, which is irrelevant, and an assertion that a social worker would be shown as ignorant by asking mentally ill people to take lessons from the movie, which is also irrelevant. The reason these remarks are irrelevant is that no one is suggesting showing the movie to mentally-ill people. That's why your response was noise. The original question was asked with reference to both physically challenged and mentally-ill people. That you focussed on only one aspect of the question does not mean that's all there was.

If some other poster's list of movies implied a connection between MR and schizoids, then address that. My post made no such connection.

If you object to your posts being labeled as noise, maybe you should put a little more thought into them.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:00 PM on September 15, 2005


no one is suggesting showing the movie to mentally-ill people. That's why your response was noise. The original question was asked with reference to both physically challenged and mentally-ill people.

Actually, that's not true. The original question is about showing movies (that depict either physical or mental disabilities) to mental health patients. Nothing was mentioned about showing such movies to people who are not mental health patients.
posted by bingo at 4:43 PM on September 15, 2005


Kirth - go ahead and pick words from my comments to make up your own sentences if you like, but why in the hell would I say FG calls schizophrenics retarded? I myself don't even understand what this means.

Go back and look at my words "in this context". This refers to the statements "my wife...runs a weekly group session for mental health patients in which she shows a movie dealing with mental illness. The point is that if the patients see their illness in someone else, they may be better able to identify it in themselves."

sorry for the derail robhuddles, I'm done. Oh, and how about Lust for Life?
posted by hellbient at 9:11 PM on September 15, 2005


hellbient is correct that many (myself included) lumped mental illness with mental retardation. They're very different and I can see how showing one group movies about the other is 'wrong' or not helpful.

As for the movies I suggested, here's more clarification:

The Devil and Daniel Johnston (manic depression / bipolar)
Flyerman (OCD)
A Woman Under the Influence (manic depression)
How's Your News? (Cerabral Palsy and other conditions)
Spider (schizophrenia)
Clean, Shaven (schizophrenia)

I assume you would watch anything before screening anyway, but just in case: the last two on the list are pretty harsh/frightening and involve crimes.
posted by dobbs at 10:42 PM on September 15, 2005


Oh, and Keane would be bipoloar, schizophrenia, and/or manic d. It isn't stated in the film and I spoke with the director and actor and they said they didn't want to say specifically.
posted by dobbs at 10:43 PM on September 15, 2005


Dirty Filthy Love is an excellent and realistic film about people with OCD's and Tourette's Syndrome. I think it's unrated, but I don't recall there being anything in the movie that would be particularly offensive to anyone... although come to think of it... there is a bit of cussing by the guy who has Tourette's. It's not gratuitous though and is actually necessary to portray his affiliction. I highly recommend this great film!
posted by RoseovSharon at 12:07 AM on September 16, 2005


Late to the party, but what about King of Hearts?
posted by skyscraper at 6:57 PM on September 17, 2005


« Older Flight of the Conchords was ju...   |  Two simple music questions....... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.