My Top 8 Movies That Incorporate Mental Illness.



I am such a movie buff!  I love dramas, horror movies, comedies, art films you name it. Some of my favorite directors include David Fincher, Stanley Kubrick, Lars Von Trier, Darren Aronofsky, Gus Van Sant, Wes Anderson, The Coen Brothers, and many more. Check out some of their movies, you won’t be disappointed.  The movies listed are very important and inspirational to me, personally due to how clever, dramatic and eye-opening they are.  Some are major titles and some are hidden gems.  Let me know in the comments section what some of your favorite movies are!

Here are my top 10 movies that relay or lead to mental disorder:



1. Silver Linings Playbook

Silver_Linings_Playbook_PosterSilver Linings Playbook has a great cast including Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro. This movie is about Bipolar Disorder and the relationships with family and also falling in love.  It shows the tumultuous relationship between a man and his parents when he moves back in.  He also ends up falling for a woman with mental issues of her own. Bradley Cooper does and amazing job when he leaves a mental hospital having set goals for his new life which include reuniting with his ex-wife, who has a restraining order against him. He tries to prove persistently to her that he’s changed, unsuccessfully.  It’s sad that the relationship with his father is so toxic because of  their lack of understanding each other.  This is my favorite movie of all time that directly has to do with Bipolar Disorder.



2.  A Beautiful Mind


This movie is about a man who is a schizophrenic mathematical genius.  Things get interesting once he begins to succumb to his disorder and believe his paranoia and becomes wrapped up in a dangerous game.  He ends up winning the nobel prize in the end, after learning to live with his diagnosis.  The cast which includes Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crow and Ed Harris do an amazing job of being part of the both real and unreal life of John Nash’s (Crowe) life.





3. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest


A movie based on the award-winning book about a man, McMurphy, played by Jack Nicholson who is sentenced to prison, but pleads insanity and gets sent to a mental hospital instead.  Once there, he witnesses the abuse and the degradation of the patients at the ward.  He spends his time motivating the patients to stand up for themselves against the dreaded Nurse Ratched, who despises McMurphy due to his boisterous attitude.  I the end of the film, which I will not spoil!






4. Melancholia


Lars Von Trier brings a tale of two sisters preparing for doomsday in different ways.  Lars’ Movies are definitely complicated to digest, it took me a few watches to fully understand from an objective point of view what he was even getting at, BUT, when I finally got the message I had a “bravo moment”. It’s essentially about depression, how different people deal with depression, and how those with depression deal with the knowledge that nothing is forever, the world will inevitably end.  So how do we deal with our lives knowing we only have this one life to live, before everything just stops?  Melancholia is a very fitting title for this film.





5.  Lars and the Real Girl


This movie is absolutely endearing.  An extremely shy man, Lars played by Ryan Gosling seems to find it impossible to make friends or socialize.  It’s almost as if he becomes agoraphobic and antisocial because no one understands him. His brother and sister who live literally right by him worry about him and his sanity a lot.  One day Lars announces that he has a girlfriend that he met on the Internet. His brother and sister become overjoyed and almost relieved. However, Lars’ new girlfriend is a life-size plastic woman, a love doll to be more specific.  His doctor and the rest of the town agree to go along with Lars’ reality so that he can be happy.  I think this movie is funny, it’s not meant to be a drama, maybe a dark comedy at best.






6. The Machinist


It’s hard to believe that the main character played by Christian Bale, is the same actor who played  batman only a couple of years later.  Christain Bale is truly a method actor, he lost a horrific amount of weight for this role.  The movie is about a man named Trevor Reznik, a factory worker who has an extreme case of insomnia.  This has led Trevor to not sleep in a year, causing his body and mind to wither away into almost nothing short of insanity.  He also has the obsessive compulsion to write himself sticky notes throughout his apartment which keep track of his weight.  The only person he lets into his life is a prostitute named Stevie.  Trevor then believes someone in his life, like a coworker is out to get him, and he thinks by finding out who it is, this will shed some light on why he might have been suffering from insomnia in the first place.  




7. Girl Interrupted


About a girl named Susanna, played by Winona Ryder, a depressed and directionless girl after finishing high school in the late 1960’s.  She has a suicide attempt that lands her in a mental institution.  She makes friends with many of the troubled girls in her ward including a pathological liar, a sexually abused girl, a burn victim and Lisa, played by Angelina Jolie.  I think Lisa might be Bipolar or have Borderline Personality Disorder.  They never really clarify.  Lisa is the wildest and most hardened patient that Susanna meets.  Lisa keeps trying to get Susanna to accept her wild streak and just leave the ward and everything else, including her new friends behind.  




8. Split


Split is awesome!  It is such a great movie in general and the actor James McAvoy does an amazing job playing, essentially 5 or 6 roles.  The man, Kevin Wendell Crumb, who has 23 different personalities, abducts and keeps three teenage girls in his basement for reasons unknown.  We meet a handful of Kevin’s personalities throughout the film, my favorite being Patricia (I won’t give it away).  Kevin’s therapist gets deeper and deeper into his mysterious disorder and the girls must find ways to escape before Kevin’s final 24th personality manifests itself and probably will kill them all.


2 comments on “My Top 8 Movies That Incorporate Mental Illness.”

  1. Now I want to watch all of these movies (again)! There’s one more I would add to the list: There Will Be Blood. The main character in that Academy Award winning movie is thought to have Borderline Personality Disorder, as is Angelina Jolie’s character in Girl, Interrupted. Thank you for these great reviews, Lisa! (I’ve got to see The Machinist now.)

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.