Ten Top Films Dealing With Mental Health



Mental health problems are disabling, but even more crippling is the pervasive stigma attached to mental illness.

From Lauren Beachum’s “The Psychopathology of Cinema: How Mental Illness and Psychotherapy are Portrayed in Film”

“Portrayals of mental illness are prevalent in the media, and studies show that they negatively influence public perception while sustaining the stigma. Representations in the entertainment media and news media interact to shape community attitudes by mimicking them."


"Portrayals of mentally ill people as dangerous, violent, and unpredictable dominate the entertainment media. Violent representations are becoming more common in films and television. While mentally-ill characters are usually relegated to plot devices and background roles, if they are given a speaking part they become ten times more likely to act violently than other speaking characters.”

"The interrelationship between entertainment media, news media, and social perception contribute to persistence of negative attitudes and demonstrate the complexity of the problem facing mental health advocates."


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Using data from Rotten Tomatoes, here are ten of the top films that deal with mental health...

#1 - Inside Out: A young child named Riley moves away from her friends and begins to struggle with her emotions, as she adapts to change in her life. Rating: 98

#2 - One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: Takes place almost entirely in an hospital. Its sympathetic portrayal of people with mental illness will still resonate today. Rating: 94

#3 - Silver Linings Playbook: A young man, played by Bradley Cooper, returns from a mental institution, and tries to reconcile with the people in his life. It’s a story of acceptance and learning how to deal with people with mental illness. Rating: 92

#4 - Leaving Las Vegas: A Hollywood screenwriter loses everything to alcoholism and heads to Las Vegas to drink himself to death. He soon meets someone who gives him perspective. Rating: 91

#5 - Little Miss Sunshine: A family goes on a journey together. It is a story about all kinds of pain and recovery. Rating: 91

#6 - Ordinary People: The story of how an affluent family deals with the accidental death of an older son. Rating: 89

#7 - The Perks of Being a Wallflower: A teenager who is recovering from the suicide of his best friend and struggles with mental illness of his own, is befriended by some older kids who help him re-integrate. Rating: 86

#8 - Still Alice: A linguistics professor’s life is changed forever after she is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's Disease and begins to forget words. Rating: 85

#9 - What about Bob: A psychotherapist becomes agitated after one of his patients tracks him down during a vacation. Shows how sometimes the system is the problem. Rating: 84

#10 - The Fisher King: A former radio DJ goes into a spiral after he makes a terrible mistake that hurts someone else. Rating: 83


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