These ten movies about mental illness treat the subject very differently. They deal with different types of mental illnesses, and the serious subject matter is interpreted in varying ways. These are the best films on the topic over all genres.
- "Girl, Interrupted." An unforgettable movie based on the true story by Susanna Kaysen about the year that she spent in a mental institution after getting depressed after high school. The movie features unforgettable performances, including one that won the Oscar for Angelina Jolie.
- "Lars and the Real Girl" is the small, dramatic film with a big punch. It features Ryan Gosling as Lars, a young man who seems to think that his blow-up doll is a real girlfriend (not in any kind of dirty way, he respects her and lets her sleep in separate quarters), and shows a whole community coming together to participate in the young man's fantasy.
- "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" is quite possible the most well-known drama about mental illness. The 1975 American drama shows a lot of failures in the mental healthcare system, and it stars Jack Nicholson as a man who posed as crazy to get out of a prison sentence, only to realize his own personal hell.
- "Psycho." Norman Bates is one of the most recognizable villians in movie history, and his mental illness isn't even specified. Make sure to watch the original.
- "Hilary and Jackie" is based on a true story of sisters who were also musicians. Hilary DuPre became a flutist, and Jackie became an extremely successful cellist. The movie is told from two perspectives, first from Hillary's perspective, then from Jackie's.
- "Shutter Island." Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, the movie unravels the events at a mental institution at a time of crisis. Something is not right about the place, and an investigation leads the viewer into the inner workings of the mental ward on an isolated island.
- "The Virgin Suicides." It is about five sisters who are trying to be happy in suburban Michigan in the '70s. This haunting film starring Kirsten Dunst is a a thought-provoking, gorgeously shot drama.
- "Benny & Joon" takes a comedic viewpoint on mental illness. Joon is a schizophrenic sister to Benny, portrayed by Aidan Quinn. Johnny Depp portrays the man who falls in love with Joon, and the physical comedy scenes provide classic comedic magic for the film.
- "The Others" is a moody, stark film that establishes itself as a spooky thriller early on. Set in an old mansion, Nicole Kidman stars as the mother of two children who cannot be exposed to sunlight. The subtle secrets of the movie are slowly revealed in hints, until the dramatic conclusion. It's definitely a movie worth seeing, but don't see it alone at night.
- "Patch Adams" stars Robin Williams, and he does a great job in this dramatic role. Tragedy strikes as he and his partner tries to help all patients, including those with a mental illness. The movie is based on the true story.
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