Mental illness is not a subject to be neglected. Movie posters were there primarily to persuade moviegoers to go see the movie. Most movie posters are created as marketing and promotional materials and are also used as collectibles because they often depict a scene or the main characters from a movie. This also influences how the viewer sees the film, not just the people in the film.
Films about mental health have abounded since the term was coined by the World Health Organization in May 1949. This list includes many films relevant to such promotion, across a wide range of genres, as well as their associated film posters. These are examples of how context is set not only for film advertising, but also for the presentation of a less distorted and less propaganda-like message.
Moreover, a film that conveys the message that mental health awareness is important, a priority, and highly regarded must convey a message to the audience that is not harmful and denigrates the many people who suffer from the stigma of mental health.
Below are some Hollywood movies that deal with mental health issues without the movie poster making fun of them. (With an international film bonus)
- One of them flew over the cuckoo’s nest.
One of my favorite films about Jack Nicholson, Milos Forman’s 1975 film, came out at a time when many in the United States were struggling to deal with the “madness” of it all. This film “cuckoo” wrote about a country that has always been a bit addicted to painkillers and therapists, the thought of madness is no longer funny. It’s a great example of how psychology tries to understand how the mind works, and the fact that imperfect people aren’t necessarily mentally ill. You won’t see Jack Nicholson sticking his tongue out at a billboard either.
Two. As good as can be expected.
For a film about obsession and misanthropy, it is hard to believe that this film about Jack Nicholson’s dog should be a film about his obsessive hatred of people and society. One of the most endearing films about the fact that, ultimately, no man is an island.
3. Playbook “silver pads
The poster might suggest a love story between the two. But in fact, the film is about two traumatized patients and how they both find their positive point in life.
Four. My name is Sam.
Who would have thought that this film would be about a mentally challenged father who must prove that he can take care of his daughter? The sympathy on the film’s poster alone was enough to win over audiences at the time as a big favorite.
The Aviator is a film about Howard Hughes, Hollywood’s most eccentric tycoon, who struggles with a mental illness that develops throughout his career. Of course, the poster doesn’t show you that he’s dealing with it, but rather gives you a stunning picture of a man who sees infinite possibilities.
6. girl, interrupted
I decided to add two posters for this 1995 film to underscore the power of the image’s impact. In this film, Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie are forces to be reckoned with (along with the performances of the rest of the cast), but what we see in the preview is the image of one or two women who may be like everyone else, but who are struggling with different struggles that none of us want to admit.
I never imagined that an animated film could endure so much trauma and knowledge about the psyche when Disney-Pixar decided to go even further and include psychology as its main forum. This poster for Inside Out is cleverly placed, as we see ourselves literally exposed, happiness and sadness all in one.
8. I’m a cyborg, but it doesn’t matter!
This Japanese poster for Park Chan-wook’s film intrigues with a trendy and exciting love story. In reality, Im Soo Joon’s character is a wounded soul who thinks he is a cyborg and falls in love with a crazy schizophrenic played by Rain. Other posters in this film show the two lying in a hospital bed giggling as romantic partners, while in the current film we see them struggling to keep up with society.
Scary, but fascinating. Until, at the end, we are sucked into a depressing black hole of insults. Yet Joaquin Phoenix manages to lure us in with a simple look and homemade makeup. He looks incredibly good. But never in an offensive way. Until you’ve seen the film for yourself.
10th Rain Man
Looking at this poster, do you think this movie is about autism? No, of course you wouldn’t. You’d certainly hate Tom Cruise’s character after this movie, but you’d be surprised how smart Dustin Hoffman was as Rain Man Ray.
These two posters for Lars von Trier’s Melancholia show how the film’s posters can lure you into the protagonist’s spell so early on. You get the impression that it’s science fiction, when in reality the film is about inner turmoil, especially with Kirsten Dunst’s character and the apocalypse that slowly breaks out in her.
12. beautiful mind
If you haven’t seen Ron Howard’s “A Beautiful Mind” yet, I’m sorry to spoil you. This film is about how the mind works in schizophrenia, a mental disorder that is very serious to mock. Russell Crowe in the role of John Nash, the brilliant mathematician who shows up here with little aliens by his side because, well, we see him in the movie exploring a little bit of ET and his brilliant and beautiful mind.
13. always Alice
Alzheimer’s disease is a very sensitive disease that has claimed many victims over the past century. How would you put it in the context of a movie poster that shows how a person can feel so alone while losing their memories in the process?
14. black swan
Love it or hate it, compare it to Perfect Blue or not, the poster says it all. There’s nothing like peer pressure to put you in a state of euphoria, suicide and hallucinogenicity, like Natalie Portman expressed for the love of fame in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan.
No matter what decade you are in, if you are a woman and you stand up for yourself, you will somehow be harassed for what you say, even if you talk about abusing other people. The same is true of Clint Eastwood’s Changeling, with Angelina Jolie, in which a single mother, Christine Collings, discovers that when the authorities bring back a boy who is clearly not her son, she is vilified as an unfit mother and then admitted to a psychiatric ward. Just as painful, especially for mothers, the poster offers few clues to the tragedy to come.
You knew it: the Philippines recently passed its first mental health law (Republic Act No. 11036). The law aims to ensure access to comprehensive and integrated mental health services while protecting the rights of people with mental disorders and their families (Lally et al., 2019).
There are now a number of groups and agencies that offer their expertise to those who need help or who can be listened to. Visit this link and browse the extensive catalog of help available.