Monday, March 28, 2011

On Movies - it's insane!

March Madness got Molly at the Bumbles Blog to thinking about madness or rather insanity. Our task this week is to consider films in which insanity is featured. Turns out that once I started thinking about this, I recalled a flood of films. This is a popular theme it seems. With the exception of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, I'm going to focus on films which depict a true story about a woman who is thought to be "abnormal" or even insane at some point in her life -- a painter, a writer, an actress and a survivor of horrific childhood abuse.

First, I have to start with One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (1975) because I loved both the film and the book.


But let's turn our attention now to some films about real women who were considered at the least to be eccentric and to the extreme having serious mental health issues requiring involuntary commitment.

Séraphine (2008) I just recently watched this film. It's beautiful to look at and the acting, especially by the actress in the title role is mesmerizing. Here's the trailer:



An all too familiar (and true) story of an unusually gifted woman who is institutionalized for eight years, An Angel at My Table (1990). Fantastic film!



Another film based (loosely, some would argue) on a true story about Frances Farmer, a gifted actress who is also sent to a mental institution where she endures some rather harsh treatments and abuses is Frances (1982).



And lastly, Sybil (1976). This made-for-television film created increased public awareness of multiple personality disorder similar to what The Karen Carpenter Story did for anorexia.


[Cross-posted at Sassy Banana]

13 comments:

Siv Maria said...

Good movies, how about "the fisher king" and "Hours"

Lee said...

Great picks, Siv.

Pam said...

I've only seen two of those. Need to check out the others. And thank you so much for the kind comments about Scrappycat.

Jenners said...

The only one I saw was Cuckoos Nest...what a good book and movie!

Nicole said...

"One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest" is such a classic film and I was not familiar with this movie until a friend convinced me to watch it a few years ago. I was so angry at the way the main character was treated and also concerned about how hospitals are dealing with their patients who really are mentally ill.

The ending scenes in this movie makes it easy to sympathize with the main character.

I'm not familiar with any of the remaining films mentioned in this post, except for "Sybil".

However, when you mentioned an interest in listing movies centered on women, that film "Monster" based on real life, came to mind.

Lee said...

Nicole - "Monster" -- yes, although sadly, Aileen receives execution by the state instead of any mental health treatment in her relatively short & violent life.

Kathleen said...

Really great picks. I had forgotten about Sybil. What a great portrayal by Sally Fields. The book was good too.

Janell said...

I was thinking of The Snakepit.

Lee said...

Had never heard of The Snake Pit (1948). Great pick!

I used to call a former place of employment "the snake pit."

keri said...

All really good movies, Frances broke my heart. Not sure if "The Reader" qualifies, but it's one that I saw recently that had me riveted.. great post. keri

keri said...

P.S. that photo of the acorn is mesmerizingly simple and beautiful.

Lee said...

keri - I loved The Reader, both the book (one of my favorites) and the film. Although the book has many themes, I'm thinking about how the main character's behavior (not defending herself against false charges) was hard to understand. PTSD? Or was she always a little "different" and that's why the rest of the women pinned the guilt of the war crime on her? Good choice. You've got me thinking. Or is it a matter of societal stigma and extreme shame being interpreted or manifested as "mental illness?"

stacybuckeye said...

I have only seen One Flew Over, where have I been on t hese others?! I have been meaning to watch Sybil for years but keep forgetting when I put stuff on hold! Thanks for the reminder.