Movies About Bipolar You Need to Watch
I love movies about bipolar disorder and other mental health issues. I enjoy films designed to show the comical side of mental illness (yes, there is some humor to be found, no matter how dark the night gets). And, I also like movies that depict the creative genius that coexists with bipolar disorder and other conditions.
Plus, I am often quite moved by films that communicate the torment and anguish we often feel living with a mental disorder. I believe dark dramas often do a fantastic job of educating the public about what we go through in a way that we can’t for whatever reason.
The Benefits of Movies About Bipolar Disorder
For me, movies about bipolar disorder help me on so many levels. For starters, I don’t feel so alone and weird. Mental illness has a way of isolating us and making us feel different from our fellows. Movies can reaffirm that we are not so different after all. Many people struggle with the same issues we do. This is comforting to me.
Also, I often get insight into my own behavior and emotions. This encourages me to work harder to manage my moods more effectively so that my behavior isn't quite so harmful to the people around me. Movies about bipolar disorder can serve as a mirror. I believe introspection and continued self-analysis are key to recovery.
And, I enjoy movies about bipolar disorder because I can relate. I know what it feels like to vacillate between the anguish of depression and the elation of hypomania that define what it means to have this illness. I often come across good movies about mental health issues and share them with my friends and family so they can better understand what I go through.
Finally, I just think movies about bipolar are downright fascinating – probably because I think those of us who live with a mental health diagnosis are fascinating people!
Four Movies About Bipolar and Mental Illness You Need to Watch
So, without further ado, here are four awesome movies about bipolar disorder you need to check out.
Prozac Nation (2001)
For me, this is one of the most relatable movies about bipolar I have ever seen. It really hit close to home.
The flick stars Christina Ricci as troubled young college student Elizabeth Wurtzel. The lovely Jessica Lange plays the role of her mother. The movie reminded me of the relationship I have had with my own mother over the years – the violent outbursts caused by my bipolar rage and the tearful, remorseful apologies that would always follow.
Prozac Nation deeply conveyed the torment we often feel living with bipolar disorder – especially when it has not been properly diagnosed or medicated. The violent mood swings, the risky behavior, the confusion, the substance abuse, the stormy relationships – they are all brilliantly depicted in this dark drama.
Prozac Nation is a true story. It is based on Wurtzel’s bestselling personal memoir published in 1994. Wurtzel was accepted to Harvard on an academic scholarship but had difficulty managing her life due to her manic and depressive episodes. Her downward spiral, which resulted in her getting treatment for her illness, is the focus of the book (and the movie).
The Informant! (2009)
Admittedly, I have not seen this movie. But, when I asked around to friends for their suggestions on the best movies about bipolar disorder, this one came up several times.
The Informant! is also based a true story, which are my favorite kinds of movies, by the way. Truth is stranger than fiction after all!
Set in the 1990s, this comedic true crime story stars Matt Damon as Marc Whitacre. Whitacre works for a global food processing and commodities trading corporation headquartered in Chicago. He collaborates with the FBI as a whistleblower to uncover illegal price-fixing practices the company has been engaging in (of which Whitacre himself is also guilty).
What transpires is the unfolding of a plot whereby Damon’s character engages a complicated scheme driven by mania that ultimately lands him in some hot water. If you love zany (yet realistic) depictions of how bipolar disorder can mess with your mind, this is the movie for you.
Crazy Beautiful (2001)
There have been a number of movies written about romantic relationships where one or more people involved is struggling with the day-in-day-out reality of living with bipolar disorder.
Crazy Beautiful is my favorite. Perhaps it is because the movie is so reminiscent of many of my own personal relationships with men who tried to save me but couldn’t.
The film stars Kirsten Dunst as an affluent California high school student with mental health issues and Jay Hernandez as her over-achieving poor boyfriend from the other side of town.
Dunst’s character displays all the classic symptoms of bipolar disorder, although her diagnosis is never revealed in the movie. Her boyfriend struggles to cope with her unstable behavior, which threatens to interfere with his personal goals and achievements.
The title of this movie could not be more fitting. After all, when you love someone who has bipolar disorder, what else could it be but crazy beautiful?
Call Me Crazy: A Five Film (2013)
This is one of my favorite movies of all time. I have watched it at least ten times.
It is a collection of five short film vignettes with each one depicting some kind of situation centered on mental illness. The all-star cast executes exceptional acting in each of their roles to really drive home how mental health issues can affect individuals and their families.
The first story is about a law student named Lucy (Brittany Snow) who has schizophrenia and suffers a breakdown in school after going off her meds. The second story is about Grace (Sarah Hyland), the daughter of a bipolar mother who has a dangerous manic episode. The third story is about Lucy’s sister Allison (Sofia Vassilieva) and how she has coped with her sister’s schizophrenia. The fourth story is about a stand-up comedian named Eddie (Mitch Rouse) who battles suicidal depression. And, finally, in the fifth and final story; Lucy (now a lawyer) helps Maggie (Jennifer Hudson) who is traumatized by PTSD.
This one was a real tear jerker for me. It is a more obscure movie than the other three, but it is worth watching and showing to family members who may not understand mental illness.
More Movies About Bipolar Disorder and Other Mental Illnesses
Okay, I have given you four great movies about bipolar disorder. If you have already seen them (or they don’t appeal to you), here is a short list of a few more flicks you can check out.
- A Beautiful Mind
- Lust for Life
- Infinitely Polar Bear
- Silver Linings Playbook
- Touched with Fire
- Light Beneath Their Feet
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
- The Hours
- Girl Interrupted
- Shutter Island