Mental Illness In Cinema

Essay by TytiiNoelCollege, Undergraduate November 2014

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Tytiana Williams

21 October 2014

Psychollywood: Mental Illness in Cinema

Professor Markowitz

Media has one important objective which is to entertain the audience rather than educate. What we view in movies are often times dramatic and more condensed then compared to reality. Media portrayals of individuals with mental illness are most of the time inaccurate and sensationalized, depicting them as dangerous and violent. In the film" As Good As It Gets, Melvin Udall is shown as an unpredictable person who alienates everyone that he comes in to contact with. The movie is displayed as such to show the audience that people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are ill-tempered. When mental illnesses are represented in a negative manner it causes the targeted audience to become misinformed.

Mental Illness in media has a significant impact on the perceptions and beliefs of millions of people. It is depicted in various mediums such as the news and television shows.

However, mental illness is more widely expressed through film. When it comes to mental illness, Hollywood glamourizes images to shape new opinions into the viewer's mind. Whether the viewer had prior knowledge on the topic or not, the media has a way to alter their thinking leaving a lasting impression.

Although we are aware that mental illnesses are glamourized in film, it is necessary to discuss how mental health professionals are depicted in film as well. There are not many films released to date that show a detailed distinction among mental health professionals and how they can help their patients. When writers fail to incorporate a distinction between the purposes of mental health professional it confuses the audience.

When it comes to movies, we depend on the Motion Picture Association of America to rate what we watch. In regards to mental illness movies, the MPA should...