“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” has been on my list for a while; it is one of only three films to have won the Big Five at the Oscars. For you non-Oscar fanatics out there, the Big Five is the coined term for a film that has won all of the five major awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay (original or adapted). “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is based on Ken Kesey’s famous novel from 1962 of the same name, of which I purchased at a used bookstore for $2 and still have yet to read. I’ll get around to that one day, too. All of this being said, there were super high expectations going into this first viewing. Continue reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: Order and Chaos in Society
A two-fold coming-of-age narrative ‘Mary and Max’ (2009) charters the progression of Mary’s, a young, ‘chubby’ and socially anxious Australian into a woman, friendship with Max, a middle-aged Atheistic Jew in America. Pen pals, a support system, their friendship grows as Mary seeks an escape from her abusive, sherry-soaked mother Vera, all marvellous narrated by Australian treasure Barry Humphries. At random, fascinated by the states, Mary picks an address from a U.S phonebook and hopes to receive a reply to her letter. Gradually, as life moves on the pair grow distant, and after taking a degree in psychology, Mary uses her experiences with Max, who suffers from anxiety and lives in isolation due to his Asperger’s syndrome, as a case study for a book. Continue reading Mental Health Awarenss Month, Retrospective Review: Mary and Max
You wouldn’t imagine a film titled “The Virgin Suicides” (1999) would be beautifully atmospheric and dreamlike. Or maybe you would if you knew it was written and directed by Sofia Coppola who is known for brilliantly capturing an atmosphere with her films whether it’s the 1990s in Los Angeles with “The Bling Ring” (2013) or our collective memory of a lavish queen with “Marie Antoinette” (2006). Coppola’s directorial debut is a tale about five young girls who commit suicide and perhaps more poignantly, the neighborhood boys who are obsessed with them. For as much as it’s a film about mental health and girlhood, it’s also about collective memory and the impact that a few people can have on a community. Continue reading Mental Health Awareness Month, Retrospective Review: The Virgin Suicides
When reflecting upon the cinema that we consumed as children, we often remember most fondly the tales that excited us, humoured us, or maybe even frightened us. For many, regardless of generation, Disney has been a big contributor to such memories. But the best children’s tales contain valuable messages, or even truths, in their stories. Although I was a teenager in his last year of high school when Disney’s “Frozen” (2013) was released, it is a film that I believe will allow children and adults alike to recognise and understand lessons in mental health for generations to come. Continue reading Mental Health Awareness Month: How “Frozen” Thaws Fearful Hearts
Terry Gilliam created a nightmarish vision of the future in 1985 with possibly his best-known film “Brazil.” That proved to be just a warm-up for the mind-bending, chilling dystopia of “12 Monkeys’ (1995) which has only become even more prophetic in the current worldwide pandemic of COVID-19. The husband and wife team of David and Janet Peoples wrote a screenplay that is surprisingly poignant in its subtext of compassion and kindness being vital to treating mental illness.
As much as protagonist James Cole struggles with the anguish of his post-traumatic stress, we now face our own troubling and harrowing present. It is a harsh reminder that while our reality is not as fatally bleak as Cole’s, it is a strain on the mental health of us all. Continue reading 12 Monkeys (1995): Trauma and The Prescience of Gilliam’s Vision
“Benny and Joon” (1993) is an odd little concoction of a film. On one hand, it has its cuteness and quirk, and on the other- is a very serious example of one’s struggle with mental illness. Neither can be overlooked, nor appreciated without the other, throughout the course of the film. The melding of these makes it a charismatic picture.
Joon Pearl (Mary Stuart Masterson) and Benny Pearl (Aidan Quinn) are brother and sister. She’s an artist, he’s a mechanic, and he looks after her as her mental illness keeps her from living on her own. They have their own rhythm, and there is safety and harmony in their shared life, but it’s obvious both want more. Continue reading Mental Health Awareness Month: Benny and Joon
Let me tell you why I love Sofia Coppola so much: she’s interesting. She is unbothered by box office returns; she is loyal to her vision. Here is a woman who has had a keen understanding of Hollywood since her earliest memories–she plays the baby in “The Godfather”, for crying out loud! She is a keen observer of life, of human nature, and–as a consequence, I suppose, of growing up around the glitz and glam of Hollywood–the repercussions of copious amounts of glitz and glam.
In keeping with this month’s theme of Mental Health, I thought it’d be appropriate to write about a woman’s depiction of a man’s mental state in La La Land. “Somewhere”, which won the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival, offers very little in terms of plot and intrigue. Continue reading Mental Health Awareness Month Review: “Somewhere”
Suicide is not funny. It devastates family and friends and is a thief which robs us of our loved ones. But film is not real life. It is a tool through which we tell stories, a way for filmmakers to examine issues and situations, and a way for audiences to experience any number of things in (physical) safety.
Laughter can aid in the healing and processing of painful events. But clearly, the way suicide is shown and discussed can hurt as much as it can heal. And, although filmmakers are under no obligation to show suicide in a certain way, the potential impact of their films means that they carry responsibility. Continue reading Mental Health Awareness Month: Suicide in Comedy
When you watch the trailer for “I, Tonya” (2017), you get the tonal sense of the film. It is a dark comedy about infamous skating figure Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie). I can yammer on all day about I am still not over Robbie losing the Oscar; her performance is magnetic. She was captivating from start to finish. It was a career-defining performance, one that demonstrated her innate talent…but I am seriously digressing. Robbie is incredible in the film, which is why I think the abuse and trauma we see in the film makes it all the more difficult to watch.
I have my Master’s degree in Professional Counseling. One of the courses I took was on trauma-informed therapy. Trauma is everyone. Trauma is, in essence, completely defined by a person. Continue reading “I, Tonya” and the Preponderance of Trauma
By Bianca Garner With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, it seems like the apporitate time for people to seek out Jared Douglas‘ film, “The Sound of the Wind”. This is a well-crafted, and emotional charged film, which tells the story of Lucio, a young man whose paranoia has him torn between the pain of abandoning his daughter and the safety of his own life. … Continue reading Exclusive Interview with Jared Douglas, Christian Gnecco Quintero, and Stefanie Rons Regarding “The Sound of the Wind”