Movies have the power to do more than just entertain. They can take us on a journey of learning and understanding, especially when it comes to sensitive topics like mental illness. It’s crucial to have open discussions about this subject, and movies featuring characters with mental illnesses can help spark those conversations. Thankfully, Netflix is a treasure trove of incredible films that tackle mental illness.
Netflix offers a diverse range of content, catering to all tastes and interests. When it comes to mental illness, there is an abundance of movies to choose from. This list highlights some of the absolute best options available. From exploring schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder to shedding light on anorexia and more, these films take you on an emotional rollercoaster. But fear not, some of them even weave in humor to uplift your spirits. Whether you’re drawn to a heartwarming documentary like “Asperger’s Are Us” or a spine-chilling psychological thriller like “Horse Girl,” Netflix has got you covered.
If you’re curious about diving into the world of mental illness films, keep reading for more details about the captivating movies on Netflix. Discover and embrace the ones that resonated with you the most, and let them inspire you on a deeper level.
1. All the Bright Places
All the Bright Places is actually a movie adaptation of Jennifer Niven’s popular young adult novel. It’s a heartfelt story that revolves around the romance between two teenagers, Violet and Theodore, portrayed by Elle Fanning and Justice Smith. Critics have applauded the film for how sensitively it tackles the complex emotions and experiences of adolescence and love. The movie’s epilogue even goes as far as dedicating itself to those who have been affected by mental health issues, suicide, or grief. If you or someone you know is going through a tough time, you can find additional support and resources at allthebrightplacesfilm.info.
2. To the Bone
Eating disorders are a serious matter, and the Netflix film To the Bone tackles this issue head-on. The story revolves around Ellen, a young college dropout played by Lily Collins, who battles anorexia. In her quest for recovery, she finds solace in Dr. William Beckham’s patient program, portrayed by Keanu Reeves. Alongside other patients, including the kind-hearted dancer Luke, played by Alex Sharp, Ellen must confront her inner demons. However, her journey to health is far from smooth, as she encounters several obstacles before ultimately choosing wellness. To the Bone may not always be easy to watch, but it sheds light on the harsh realities of eating disorders.
3. Brain on Fire
Chloë Grace Moretz takes the lead role in this biographical drama that tells the story of Susannah Cahalan. Susannah, who worked as a writer for The New York Post and lived with her boyfriend Stephen (played by Thomas Mann), suddenly started experiencing flu-like symptoms one day, followed by unusual auditory side effects. As time went on, her condition worsened, leading doctors to consider the possibilities of bipolar disorder or even schizophrenia. However, it turns out that her condition is much rarer than anticipated – she has NMDA receptor encephalitis, also known as brain inflammation. Fortunately, Susannah manages to recover her cognitive abilities and shares her inspiring story with others who have been affected by the disease.
4. The Perfection
If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers like Whiplash and Black Swan, then The Perfection is definitely worth checking out. Allison Williams, known for her incredible work in horror movies like Get Out, delivers a standout performance as Charlotte Willmore, a talented cellist who is forced to leave Bachoff music school to take care of her terminally ill mother. However, when she returns years later, she encounters her replacement, Lizzie (played by Logan Browning), and starts plotting her revenge.
In a shocking turn of events, Charlotte manages to drug Lizzie and manipulates her into cutting off her own hand. While some might initially think Charlotte’s motivation is driven by jealousy, the truth behind her actions is much more complex. This movie is full of mind-bending twists that will leave you completely stunned.
5. Silver Linings Playbook
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence deliver an electrifying performance in David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook. Cooper portrays Pat, a man who has recently been discharged from a psychiatric hospital after receiving treatment for bipolar disorder. Determined to reconcile with his estranged wife, Pat seeks the assistance of Tiffany, his young and widowed neighbor brilliantly portrayed by Lawrence. The catch? Pat must team up with Tiffany and participate in a couples’ dance competition. As their relationship deepens, they find solace in each other’s company, helping one another in their journey of healing. This remarkable film is packed with heartwarming moments and breakthroughs that will leave you deeply moved. Trust me, you won’t want to miss it.
6. As Good as It Gets
Meet Melvin Udall, played by the legendary Jack Nicholson. Melvin is a bit of a loner and suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, but here’s the surprising part: he’s actually a hugely successful romance novelist. Every single day, you can find him at the same diner, chowing down and having some interesting interactions with the waitress, Carol, played by the talented Helen Hunt. Oh, and did I mention that Carol’s got a son who deals with some serious asthma?
One day, something unexpected happens. Melvin’s neighbor gets caught up in a dangerous robbery, and Melvin finds himself responsible for taking care of his neighbor’s adorable dog, Verdell. Now, this simple act of pet-sitting changes Melvin’s life in ways he never could have imagined. Suddenly, he’s exposed to a whole new world of experiences, and it even leads him to develop feelings for Carol. Yep, Melvin starts pursuing Carol in a more direct way.
What makes this movie so special is that it showcases the incredible resilience of the human spirit. It demonstrates how someone can overcome the challenges of mental illness and still find fulfillment in life, especially with the support of others. It’s a truly inspiring tale that reminds us that no matter what we’re going through, there’s always hope for a brighter future.
7. Strange Voices
Back in 1987, there was this TV drama called Strange Voices that gained a lot of popularity. It revolves around Nicole, a bright college student played by Nancy McKeon, who starts suspecting her boyfriend of being unfaithful after hearing voices in her head. Nicole, like anyone else, is completely baffled by these mysterious voices. Consequently, she is taken to a hospital where she receives a diagnosis of schizophrenia. The movie primarily focuses on how Nicole’s family deals with this revelation and explores the best way to move forward in her treatment. It’s a gripping and honest portrayal of mental illness, with a hopeful ending to boot.
Sam Worthington stars in a psychological thriller that delves into the mind of a man who undergoes a distressing event, leading him to lose touch with reality. The story revolves around Ray, played by Worthington, as he grapples with the aftermath of a shocking incident involving his daughter Peri. Following an unexpected accident that lands Peri in a pit, Ray and his wife Joanne, portrayed by Lily Rabe, rush her to the hospital for urgent medical attention.
In a bizarre turn of events, Joanne and Peri seemingly vanish into thin air after entering the hospital room, leaving Ray bewildered. As Ray dozes off in the waiting area, he awakens to an unsettling reality. The hospital staff claims to have no knowledge of his family’s presence, triggering Ray’s relentless pursuit of the truth. However, appearances can be deceiving, and an unexpected twist awaits, guaranteed to send chills down your spine.
The strain of mental illness affects doctors just as profoundly as it does their patients. Enter Clinical, the story of Dr. Jane Mathis, a psychiatrist specializing in high-risk cases. Unfortunately, a distressing incident unfolds when a patient tries to assault her and subsequently takes their own life within the confines of her own home. This traumatic event takes its toll on Dr. Mathis, leading her to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and experience sleep paralysis.
Despite being advised against it, Dr. Mathis bravely continues her practice of psychiatry. However, her decision to take on a mysterious new patient named Alex will prove to be a turning point, escalating the danger she faces. As the story unfolds, Dr. Mathis finds herself becoming just as mentally compromised as those she seeks to help.
10. You Get Me
You Get Me definitely gives off some vibes similar to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Fatal Attraction. So here’s the deal: Holly (played by Bella Thorne) spends a romantic weekend with this guy she’s into, and guess what? She conveniently transfers to his high school. This obviously doesn’t sit well with him or his girlfriend. But here’s the thing, their fling was just a one-time thing, no strings attached. But Holly, she’s convinced that her and Tyler (played by Taylor John Smith) are soulmates or something.
As time goes on, Holly starts getting closer to Tyler’s inner circle. But here’s where things start to get weird. People start noticing that something isn’t quite right with Holly. It’s like she’s got some dark secrets or hidden agenda or something. And then, bam! They uncover the truth about her past, but by that point, it might already be too late for them to do anything about it.