Mental Health was a topic which was always brushed under the carpet in most of our Indian households. It’s often seen as a product of stress which would poof away after a good nap or through some clandestine visits to the psychologist’s.
This issue wasn’t on our plates because of ignorance on how far this could drive us, any words related to mental health was also a big “NO” in most of our households because of the stigma associated with it, but now due to pandemic, quarantine and the unfortunate demise of actor Sushant Singh Rajput has stirred up the sediments.
This lockdown has been a never ending vacay to many and a constraining prison cell for few, it varies from individual to individual and this darkness sometimes doesn’t have to do with an individual’s circumstance at all, one might have it all and yet feel empty and depressed. The cause sometimes is never known and there are so many conditions beyond depression like borderline syndrome, schizophrenia etc etc etc. that we aren’t aware of, so all we can do from our part is be more awake and be there for people when they are helpless. A word of concern and reaching out to the ones who haven’t been fine lately is all what matters now.
Here is a list of movies which I believe will help us understand more about mental health cos is there a better way to learn about mental health than experiencing it through movies?
Matchstick Men (2003):
This is a happy sweet movie which would make you go awwww in the end. So what happens when a con artist with Tourette’s syndrome (a neurodevelopmental disorder which affects the motor tics and vocal tics) and OCD tries stealing from Chuck a business man. That’s the whole plot of the movie which is built on his exhaustive attempts at parenting his 14 year old daughter Angela whom he meets for the first time.
We often tend to throw around the word depression in our everyday language without actually knowing the significance of it, this movie which revolves around Claire a mother who succumbs to depression after her son’s death will make us think twice before using that word carelessly again. Losing her son to depression Clair loses a part of herself and spirals down mentally, she tries secluding herself from everyone around her and starts hallucinating about Nina, a member of the pain support group who helps Claire come out of depression. Claire’s journey through depression helps us experience the chronic pain felt by people going through some loss in life. This well knit script along with the flawless acting of Jennifer Anniston is what made the movie very realistic and worth watching.
Girl, interrupted (1999):
Based on one of the memoirs by Susanna Kaysen, the movie shows the real, dark feelings that Susanna goes through because of Borderline Personality Disorder. She lands up in an assylum right after her first breakdown, after she swallowed a bottle of aspirin with alcohol. Qhay happens in the assylum when she clicks witha. Group of sociopath, anorexic, schizophrenic and a few others is the focus of the movie. The lot get into lots of fun troubles because of Lisa, the sociopath so any fantasies you had on sociopaths from watching Sherlock Hilmes would be shattered through this character. This is a fun yet dark movie.
Benny & Joon:
This heart warming love story is about an overprotective brother and his mentally disturbed sister who because of circumstances have to accommodate an outsider in their home and later in their life. What happens when a self obsessed choose to be mute Sam and a happy go lucky under my brother’s care Joon fall in love? Highly unlikely but things worked out between Sam and Joon for whom they were perfect individuals without any weirdness or illness in them. This made the movie a fun watch and though unrealistic enchanting.
Black Swan ( 2010):
No words could perfectly bring out the experience of watching this dark psychological master piece. Nina Sayers, a 26 year old ballerina obsessed with perfection, who is dominated by her mother and is struggling with other personal issues goes through a struggle to reach the pinnacle in her artistic career. This movie explores the psyche of a person who suffers from First break psychosis which makes them hallucinate and imagine an alter reality as real as the one they’re living in. How she confronts her fears is the central theme of the movie.
It’s kind of a Funny Story (2010):
Let’s take a break from heavy ones, this is a light hearted heart warming movie about Craig a teenager who is just too stressed over school and dine with everyone expecting him to be perfect or have his future all figured out, these pressures add up to him contemplating a almost all the time. He decides to seek psychological assistance and therefore is admitted for a week in an assylum. Once in there he realises that his case isn’t that serious as he thought it to be, he befriends many people there and tries changing their lives in little possible ways. The importance of sharing and listening to people is brought out in this movie. This movie is a feel good happy movie which will help us appreciate life and mental health.
Inside Out (2015):
This is a beautiful adventurous story that happens in the mind of a young girl who is going through a kind of sadness because of her parent’s sudden decision to move to SFO, so what happens in her mind is what is portrayed in an animated way with imaginary characters depicting every emotion. Though this is an animated movie and seems very childish I think it is a movie which is suitable for all age group because it allows us to experience and realise that joy and sadness are essential for a healthy mind. Five emotions, joy, sadness, anger, fear and disgust all follow joy to help Riley stabilise her mind. This is a fun and informative must watch.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012):
This coming of age heart warming movie is about Charlie an introvert who’s past keeps traumatizing him for the most part of his life meets Sam and Patrick his seniors who help him get with life and school. The three help each other grow up and this made Charlie forget everything about depression and his past. The movie portrays the ups and downs that a person with a serious troubled suppressed past would encounter in their life. Charlie in the end realises his root cause for depression at a young age and this realisation worsened his peace but the movie ends with Sam and Patrick standing there for him and helping him grow through it. This movie again helps us realise that it is more important to be more aware and help each other at their ebbs.
Margarita with a Straw (2014):
This movie though doesn’t deal with mental disorders it deals with cerebral palsy a physical disability because of neurological disorder which affects a person’s muscles. This movie is about a young woman with cerebral palsy trying to understand herself and her gender. People with disabilities are often seen as asexual people and their sexual urges are seen as something extravagant, this movie focuses on that and shows how love and sex are human emotions which are as natural as it is for any non disabled person. There are very few movies which addresses such issues and this is one rare movie which will give us an insight into this.
Shutter Island (2010):
My suggestions list would be incomplete without atleast one of Caprio’s movies and this one is one spectacular mind blowing piece which would never disappoint anyone, I guarantee you that. Teddy a U.S Marshal along with his new companion Chuck embark on a mission to a criminal mental assylum on the Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of a patient Rachel Solando. Teddy used this as an opportunity to confront his wife’s murderer, to find the truth and answer, he believes that the murderer is in this island but the more he digs in the more he feels that his mind was being meddled by the doctors. What happens when he finds the truth will leave you mouth opened. Any more information would lead me to give away the plot so I’ll shut up but please do yourself a favour and watch this best ever psychological thriller.
I hope you enjoy these movies cos I really love these and also there are just so many movies out there so just go dive in and know more about mental health. Stay Safe and Stay Happy.