Category: Movies

Acting teacher and actor Michael Chekhov thirty years prior to starring as the Freudian analyst  opposite Ingrid Bergman

Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “Spellbound” (1945)

This is the seventh film under under close scrutiny in the AMHF series of films. (We “analyze” other movies in different blogs. But not all are come within this series of, eventually, twenty-one.) Alfred Hitchcock had worked under David O. Selznick five years before, directing Rebecca. The association of two such egos was more a […]

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McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) as a wise-cracking Everyma

Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975)

Of the twenty-one films for discussion on this Web site, here is number six, which stars Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher in signature roles. Thus is the plot, in slightly condensed form, from Wikipedia: In 1963, Randle Patrick “Mac” McMurphy (Jack Nicholson)—a recidivist anti-authoritarian criminal serving a sentence on an Oregon-prison farm for statutory rape […]

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“Trouble with the Curve” Challenges “Moneyball”

Clint Eastwood in the first-named movie, released over the weekend, is an old-time baseball scout who scours the South in his well-traveled Mustang, attending high-school and minor-league games to find the next baseball phenom—as Mickey Mantle was improbably discovered by Tom Greenwade several generations ago. The Eastwood character knows baseball so well that he can […]

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Hope Springs

A miserable marriage is certainly a mental health issue. Hollywood has profiled many of these “stuck” relationships—from those who have made lifetime vows to those with other but important commitments. Witness the continuum from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf? to “The Brady Bunch.” Now, we have Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep—at a time when […]

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Ten Funny Movies to Enhance Mental Health

While confronting our fears, discerning our angers and resentments, or unloading on friends or a therapist may be helpful, there is another school of mental health thought emphasizing distraction and humor. Carol Tavris says one of the best antidotes to the kind of anger that sticks in one’s craw is to see a funny movie–explained […]

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Will Smith and the Memory Eraser

“Men In Black III” and Propranolol

In Men In Black III, Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, have returned to help police the Earth from what they call invading life forms that represent “the scum of the universe.” No spoiler here–but it’s a must-see film if you want to learn more about the dynamics of the Agent J-Agent K relationship. Once […]

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THE AVENGERS: Do No Harm?

A fan of comic books of old, both DC and MARVEL—I recently saw the movie The Avengers. I was hoping for a respite from all the daily stresses, an immersion in a world of fantasy where good might overcome evil. This was not what occurred. The story line here is how the earth is being […]

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Humor and mental well-being....

Laugh with the Three Stooges

Slapstick humor can do wonders for mental health. Norman Cousins retreated to a place where he could watch videotaped comedies when he was suffering from a serious illness. Carol Tavris recommends the same approach when confronted with the inescapable frustrations of life. In National Review Online, AMHF Board Chair Jack Fowler offers a neat slideshow […]

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Controversy Surrounding “Bully”

Controversy swirls around the Motion Picture Association of America “R” rating of Bully. AMHF has earlier blogged on the epidemic of bullying. In principle and logically, AMHF underscores that Cinematherapy begins with the prudent liberty to watch. Currently forbidden by the M.P.A.A. rating, young people—victims and those who target their peers—need to absorb this sensitive-sounding […]

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Cinematherapy

Going out to see a movie on the big screen is a great way to spend an evening. Almost as nice is ordering up a movie on the computer and watching right at home. There’s such a great interest in mental-health themes in movies that AMHF is writing about all this on its blog. Can […]

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“The Prince of Tides”

There’s something about the Deep South that inspires the writing of great literature (think William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote) more than, for example, North Dakota. Likewise, we think of “the grand diagnoses” in psychiatry more than we do, say, about Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Prince of Tides is a 1991 movie capturing the lowland beauty […]

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Special needs. Bullying. Psychological testing. Violence. Has science gone too far?

Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “Charly” (1968)

This is the fifth of twenty-one films in the AMHF series of blogs. Charly is a controversial film, about mental retardation and psychiatry. The central controversy revolves around the question, “What is a human being?” Are individuals challenged by developmental delays “to be cured?” Are they not soulful, “whole individuals”? What would be the role […]

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The psychiatrist-as-social-commentator meets science fiction

Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1956)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is the fourth of twenty-one films under review by AMHF in relation to its mission. Of all the films covered or to be covered, it is unique. One, it is pure science fiction with a wholly supernatural element. Two, the psychiatrist is a minor character and himself winds up a […]

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Faith never makes monkeys out of us

Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947)

On May 2, 2012, it will be sixty-five years since release of Miracle on 34th Street. But the film is hardly ready for retirement. It is one of twenty-one movies identified by AMHF for discussion relevant to the Foundation mission statement. Released one year before Dr. Stefan de Schill assumed directorship of research at AMHF, […]

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Thoughtful, caring: The ultimate analyst as shaman

Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “Now, Voyager” (1942)

Now, Voyager is the second “psychiatry film” in this series of blogs on movies with themes or characters that are relevant to the mission of AMHF. Released almost seventy years ago (October 22, 1942), Now, Voyager, which gets its title from lines in a poem by Walt Whitman (“The Untold Want”), was something of a […]

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Johnny Depp thinks he is Don Juan in this romantic comedy and satire

Psychiatry Films from AMHF: “Don Juan DeMarco” (1995)

Of the twenty-one films referenced in this blog, Don Juan DeMarco is the first I will discuss. Psychiatrist Jack Mickler (Marlon Brando) dissuades a would-be suicide—a 21-year-old, costumed like Zorro claiming he is Don Juan (Johnny Depp)—is held for a ten-day review in a mental institution. Mickler, who is about to retire, insists on doing […]

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“Extremely Fearful, Incredibly Grieving”: Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock

Finally Hollywood has discovered a good man with the right stuff to play the part of an incredibly loving father who happens to be a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, loves baseball, and who has just a enough of Asperger’s syndrome qualities (a mere scent) to bond closely with his nine-year-old, a […]

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Janet Frame, author of "Angel at My Table."

Four More Films to Look For

In addition to the seventeen films related to psychiatry posted on this blog, I have been reminded of four others (though technically, one of the four is a series): Crime Doctor (1943; series 1940s) An Angel at My Table (1990) Girl, Interrupted (1999) The Bell Jar (1979, 2013?)

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Drug and Alcohol Policy in the 21st Century

Alcohol, cocaine, hallucinogens, marijuana, and opiates have had a varied and ambiguous legal and political history prior to the 21st century, and these substances will continue to need study, examination, policy, and law-making into the 21st century and beyond. Dwight Vick and Elizabeth Rhoades have written Drugs and Alcohol in the 21st Century: Theory, Behavior, […]

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Santa meets the modern world.

The Meaning of Happy Holidiays

Pope Benedict VI decries the increasing commercialization of Christmas. Indeed, readers of this blog remember that among the films with a strong psychological component, listed in a recent posting, is Miracle on 34th Street. This 1947 classic, though “AMHF-blog worthy” being about the workings of a therapist and a HRD “personality tester,” primarily takes up […]

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