10 movie characters who accurately portray mental illness

Cinema generally has had a dubious history with portraying the psychological condition in an authentic or maybe sensitive light. The perceived dramatic nature of the mental illness has notoriously meant it’s too often conveyed as a way to broadcast sentimentality or sensationalism. When it is not either of these, ‘madness’ that is the perfect fuel for horror films by misconceptions of aggressive psychosis.

But even Hollywood can occasionally get it right, and actors and actresses within the previous couple of decades have shown a willingness to let their performances reflect growing public awareness about various mental health conditions.


The courts recognized the act as an episode of bipolar mania, not as a criminal offense of passion, and his long road to recovery begins. Silver Linings Playbook kicks off upon his release when he loses his wife and access to his child and moves back in together with his parents.

Pat feels things too intensely, gets too stressed about trivial things but struggles to succeed because he’s perceived as too high-functioning to be broken. He spends most of the film exhibiting the manic state of manic depression, without much of the depressive state, but what we do see is extremely genuine; a person who can’t understand why nobody is reacting to life the way he is.


Though Winona Ryder’s character was the protagonist of Girl, Interrupted, the suicide attempt that landed her in an all-female mental hospital was the catalyst for more exciting stories featuring her fellow patients. One of the foremost enigmatic patients she encountered was Lisa Rowe, played with light intensity by Angelina Jolie. Lisa was a sociopath; characterized by a charismatic and manipulative nature, she won’t elicit close bonds from the patients round her.


While there’s the thought that a biographical drama about noted mathematician John Forbes Nash, Jr. would evoke exaggerated combat the mental disease that tarnished his reputation, A Beautiful Mind doesn’t do him the disservice. It instead chronicles his years of professional genius, his downward mental spiral, and his eventual recovery during a tasteful way that may not be romanticized.

The public was gripped by the lifetime of the Nobel Prize winner, who suddenly came to the horrific realization that a lot of the locations, events, and other people that characterized his life never actually existed. Nash emerged victorious over the paranoid delusions brought on by his schizophrenia by acknowledging that though they were there, they might not rule his life.


Unlike other teen mental illness movies featuring the polar extremes of bursting out into song or chronic white plague, Perks of Being a Wallflower focuses on a boy named Charlie (Logan Lerman) who’s just trying to urge through his teenage years while handling the crippling PTSD and anxiety that comes with trauma.

This coming-of-age comedy-drama features many of the tropes of teenage films (partying, an old flame, big exams), but through the lens of a boy handling the mental illness. His crushingly omnipresent sadness threatens to derail every social victory he attains for himself and can consume him if he doesn’t find ways to take care of equilibrium despite many triggers.


Mark Ruffalo is at his mercurial best, depicting one father affected by bipolar disorder, unsure of the way to look out for himself, including his two spirited daughters. His family’s support has always kept him ready to undergo life without ever facing his mental illness. Still, after a severe manic episode hospitalizes him, he’s forced to possess a warning call.

Having lost much of their resources, his wife (Zoe Saldana) attends Columbia University to seek a far better degree, and with it, a far better job. He spends the 18 months of her master’s program coming to terms together with his bipolar diagnosis and raising their two daughters. His struggles are real, relatable, and galvanizing due to his mental illness, not despite it.


With Inside Out, Pixar created a surprisingly sensitive and deft portrayal of a toddler affected by anxiety and depression that was accessible to both children and adults. Joy has usually been the predominant emotion in Riley’s life, but the movie gives a voice to sadness, that soon commandeers her personality. It’s one of the most uncomplicated examinations of the role emotions play in human behavioral development in the film.


Autism features a spectrum spanning the foremost high-functioning and, therefore, the most severe alterations to behavior, and consequently, the further along with the range, the higher the prospect of sensationalism. Luckily in Rain Man, this is not the case, and therefore the presentation of Raymond Babbitt’s (Dustin Hoffman) autism is authentic and genuine.

He gets entrusted to his younger brother Charlie after the death of their father and has no idea that Charlie is an opportunist using Raymond to gain their father’s fortune. He initially copes with Raymond’s outbursts for gain, not realizing that he’s becoming the routine and stability that Raymond needs in his life. By the top of the film, they each grow to understand a fraternal love, unlike anything he’s ever known.


In it’s quite a joke, Craig may be a depressed teenager who develops suicidal ideation and does the only thing he can consider during a particularly dark moment - checks himself into a psychological state clinic to get access to some treatment. Once there, he gains something far more valuable than the meds he thinks he needs - perspective.

Craig still has his problems, but after five days of bonding, he realizes that they are not so bad. After all, some folks would give anything to be him altogether his tousled glory for just each day.


With Nicolas Cage playing the role of Roy, a con-artist with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, you’d expect him to bring a number of his grandiose showboating to Matchstick Men. He portrays the mental disease with understated intensity, however, especially when it involves bearing on his vocation and his relationship together with his teenage daughter Angela.

Angela yearns to be closer to her father, also gain an insider perspective into the planet of the con, so she asks to hitch his next big scheme. While they meet up with handling the closed corporation, Roy has got to understand that the methods he won’t control his mental illness need to be adjusted to accommodate his new fatherly role.


The story of Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx) could seem singular enough to be featured because of the premise of a movie, but his circumstances are much more common than you’d think. He began as a gifted professional musician who suddenly finds himself homeless when he’s suffering from the onset of schizophrenia.

Ayer is befriended by Steve (Robert Downey Jr.), a columnist who’s checking out the story, which will get his life back on target. He forms an unlikely friendship with Ayers, and together they carry awareness to not just mental illness, but society’s response to it.


1,320 views0 comments