Mental illness is one of my hot-ticket items, mainly because I have bipolar disorder. It’s an under-discussed topic, and frequently spoken of negatively when it is discussed, contributing to negative stigmas that hurt those of us living with real mental disorders. These ten films resonated with me for their accuracy, sympathetic view of the conditions, and, of course, their quality as films.
This list is limited to psychiatric disorders, not neurological ones (sorry, Rain Man). I’m also not talking about films that critique the mental health system in general (sorry, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest). That said, here are my top ten films about mental illness.
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Film is a great medium for entertainment, but it can also be great for telling stories that increase our understanding of the world and people around us. Whether you want to learn about different people, difficult scientific concepts, or historical events, there are films that do a great job of showing us something we’re probably not familiar with. Here are 10 films that stood out to me for bringing greater understanding to the general public on issues that mainstream culture isn’t really familiar with. Give these a watch—you might just learn something.
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I wouldn’t be much of a movie critic if I couldn’t explain why I loved my personal favorites. These are all films that connected with me and stuck with me long after viewing. Some were big hits; some are almost forgotten today. But all of these are outstanding films that spoke to me. If you’re curious about my viewpoint as a critic or just want some suggestions, this is the list.
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It’s well-known among movie-watchers: music can make a scene. Sometimes, scores are written just for a particular scene; but other times, a director finds a pre-existing song, one that has a life outside of the movie’s soundtrack, that fits just as perfectly. This is a list of the latter. A few ground rules. One, no matter how famous a soundtrack got, I’m not doing scores on this list. (Sorry, Rocky.) Two, it has to be a movie on my list of essential films, or a movie that will appear on my list. (Sorry, Wayne’s World.) All that said, here’s the list!
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Sometimes, you just need to root for the bad guy. Crime films give us a window into the world of professional criminals—a world most of us have no experience with. The films on this list dive deep into that world and show us more than just “bad guys”—they show us real people with real goals and motivations that put them at odds with the law. If you’re in the mood to watch some crimes go down, these are some of the best films out there.
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A good movie night is a great way to get friends together, and the most important part is, obviously, the movie. It has to be fun, easy to digest, and liked by almost everybody. Here are ten films that fit the bill. If you want to please a large crowd, these movies will not disappoint!
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It may or may not actually be raining, but it’s a day where you want to see something a little sad—but not too sad. Whether it’s love or loss or just human connection, you want to stay inside and feel some emotions! These movies all fit the bill. Next time you’re feeling like this, give one of these movies a watch!
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