It’s no surprise that mental illness is depicted somewhat more dramatically in movies compared to real life. But that doesn’t mean actors (and directors and writers) can’t strive to be both accurate and compassionate in their portrayals. Fortunately, most do, according to this breakdown of cinematic classics by psychologist Ali Mattu.
Buzzfeed recruited the help of Dr Mattu — a clinical psychologist working for the Columbia University Medical Center — to analyse a number of films and their treatment of mental illness.
The movies covered include Iron Man 3 (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), Split (Dissociative Identity Disorder) and A Beautiful Mind (Schizophrenia), among others.
Most pass muster, though Dr Mattu does a great job of picking out the details and differences. Take Russell Crowe’s performance as mathematician John Nash in A Beautiful Mind:
So, he’s experiencing a visual hallucination. He’s seeing something that isn’t really there. It’s much more common to have auditory hallucinations, to hear things. But some people do experience visual hallucinations.
The full video clocks in at 12 minutes and is well worth watching.