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Sporadic photos and notes from a Psyche-midwife, cheerleader, anthropologist--aka clinical social worker in therapy practice. Photos are usually mine except for those of historical events/famous people. Music relevant to the daily topic is often included in a web video embedded below the blog. Click on highlighted links in the copy to get to source or supplemental material. For contact information, see my website @ janasvoboda.com or click on the button to the right below. Join in the conversation.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Moviegoer's Guide to Being Different

Recently I mentioned the movie "MicMac" in a post about being different and accepted.  That film featured characters with TBI (traumatic brain injury) and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) as well as a few more esoteric and generic variations of the human condition, such as being super short, strong, flexible, mathematical, or mechanical.

That got me thinking of a few other movies about weirdness.   No deep detail here:  google/bing titles for more.  But I've seen 'em and loved 'em, and maybe you will too. Mostly these are quirky comedies.  There's enough suffering in the real world.  And since everyone is different, each person's experience with a particular difference will also be (did you follow that?)  Still, these movies can be great teaching tools for increasing understanding and acceptance of mental illness and other sorts of personal diversity.

Harold and Maude (1971):  A morbidly depressed young man falls in love with a REALLY older woman.  A wonderful treatise on life, love and living in the moment with a great soundtrack by Cat Stevens.  This film has been a cult classic for decades.

What About Bob? (1991):  An uptight psychiatrist is driven crazy, then healed by an intrusive, needy patient.  With Richard Dreyfuss and Bill Murray.

Bennie and Joon (1993):  Johnny Depp plays a man with social limitations who falls in love with a young woman with a schizoaffective (mood/psychotic) illness.

Amelie'  (French, subtitled; 2001):  Audrey Tautou is luminous as a creative oddball full of innocence; she takes joy in the smallest of life's wonders.

Lars and The Real Girl (2007): Touching Canadian film about a very socially awkward man who falls in love with a life-size rubber doll.  Sounds lurid, but in fact is a tender tale about acceptance and the power of community.

The Fisher King (1991):  An angry, suicidal man (Jeff Bridges) meets a joyful transient with a psychotic disorder (Robin Williams, who later falls in love with a very socially awkward woman played brilliantly by Amanda Plummer).

It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010):  Various mental health issues are illustrated, including bipolar disorder, depression, and cutting.  A teen checks himself into a mental hospital for treatment of his depression.  Tiny revelations ensue.

A handful of others:
As Good as it Gets (1997):  OCD, extreme crankiness (Jack Nicholson).
Little Miss Sunshine (2006):  Depression, suicide attempt, color blindness, family-as-bowling-ally-in-your-head, general eccentricity
Forest Gump (1994):  (Tom Hanks) mental retardation/developmental disability.
Garden State (2004):  Depression, family and  identity issues.  Great soundtrack!
Rain Man (1988): A young man cares for his autistic brother (Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman).
Transamerica (2005):  Transsexualism, depression, teen with major family issues (abuse/neglect).
Matilda (1996):  A gifted "genetic sport doesn't fit in with her couch potato parents.

OK, there's the tip of that iceberg.  Feel free to send me your favorites.


Val Boggs said...

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert....

Anonymous said...

The King's Speech

Anonymous said...

One flew over the cuckoo's nest

azulfool said...

Wristcutters - A Love Story

JimSupica said...

The Road Warrior - Mel Gibson kicks ass.
Tombstone - Val Kilmer kicks ass.
True Lies - Jamie Lee Curtis kicks ass.
Scott Pilgrim vs the World - Knives Chou kicks ass.

wait a minute.... what was the question?

Jana Svoboda, LCSW said...

Jana Svoboda, LCSW said...
OK, in the five comments above we've added more on (in order of posts):
1) transgender/transexual
2) Stuttering,
3)Sociopathy, psychosis, depression, severe anxiety, etc
4) Borderline Personality Disorder, teen angst, depression
5) The Weirdness That is Jim Supica: old college friend, who still cracks me up.

I'll add another: Fatal Attraction, showing the extremes of Borderline Personality Disorder as characterized by Glenn Close. More on BPD in a future post.

June 11, 2011 11:03 PM