Top 5 Movies That Talk About Mental Illness

Movies and films can affect the views and opinions of its viewers. These works of art can influence people in so many ways. With millions of motion pictures available in the market, it can get confusing as to which among them you should watch first. The answer to this question is highly dependent on the things you want to find out as well as the current state of your emotions.


In this article, we are going to list down the top five movies that have a good interpretation of what mental illness is about. The films included in this list are perfect for people who know someone suffering from a severe mental illness. The best thing about these movies is that they depict the reality of dealing with someone with a mental health problem.


TOP 5: Black Swan

Year: 2010

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky




Black Swan is a psychological thriller which portrays several issues of mental illness. The main character is a ballerina who suffered from an eating disorder, specifically bulimia nervosa, coupled with some chronic hallucinations. The movie revolves around this girl who aims to become successful in her career in ballet. The story revolves how she struggles to achieve this goal and the price she has to pay for it. “No one likes to fail, but some people take it harder than others,” says counselor Monte Drenner. That explains the whole plot of the story.


TOP 4: A Beautiful Mind

Year: 2001

Directed by: Ron Howard


The film is based on the true to life story of a world-renowned mathematician named John Nash. The scenes present to its viewers how Nash developed a disorder known as paranoid schizophrenia. The film has received high recognition as it showed the good side of the people who suffer from the said mental illness. “Schizophrenia is a thought disorder,” says Simon Rego, PsyD. But the film is contrary to other films that portray people with schizophrenia as dangerous or harmful. 


TOP 3: Shutter Island

Year: 2010

Director: Martin Scorsese




Leonardo Di Caprio stars in this movie as someone who investigates a particular psychiatric facility or institution in a remote place called Shutter Island. The movie is full of twists as the main character, Teddy, eventually turns out to be a murderous man who is suffering from bipolar disorder.  As Catherine “Katie” Ness, MA, LCPC explains the condition, “Bipolar Disorder is a mental health issue where neurological differences can be observed between those who have and do not have this diagnosis.” Shutter Island shows its viewers how inhumane and brutal mental hospitals or establishments were not too long ago.


TOP 2: Silver Linings Playbook

Year: 2012

Director: David Russell


This comedy-drama is the movie adaptation of the novel written by Matthew Quick. This film depicts the life of a man who suffers from bipolar disorder. Because of his condition, he is sent to a psychiatric hospital, but he is eventually released after a few months.




The storyline circles on the struggles of the main character in battling his bipolar disorder as he tries to win back his former wife. The movie is quite inspiring especially for those who never left even after discovering that their loved ones have mental disorders.


TOP 1: Memento

Year: 2000

Director: Christoper Nolan


The movie is based on a short story by Jonathan Nolan entitled “Memento Mori.” There are two versions of similar scenes throughout the entire film. The first version shows full black and white scenes. On the other hand, the second version has colorful scenes. According to the director, his style of filming was employed to show viewers the reality of the main character’s life who has the disorder known as anterograde amnesia. This mental illness is the failure to create new memories after the happening of a particular event that caused the condition.


This entry was posted in Films.