‘Maniac’ Nails What It’s Like Living with Mental Illness

The Netflix series stars Emma Stone and Jonah Hill as New Yorkers seeking a psychological cure-all.

The best part of Netflix’s new series, Maniac, isn’t Emma Stone and Jonah Hill in 1980s Long Island cosplay, or the show’s superb retro-futuristic imagining of New York. It’s not even those adorable pooper scooper robots that act like Roombas for dog shit—though honestly, the city should look into them. Aside from falling onto subway tracks or being crushed by a construction crane, stepping in poop is one of the biggest hazards of NYC habitation.

No, the best part of the 10-episode limited series created and written by Patrick Somerville (The Leftovers) and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective) comes midway through the season, when Annie (Stone), Owen (Hill), and the other subjects of a mysterious pharmaceutical trial talk through their drug-fueled hallucinations, or “reflections” as they’re called in the show, with the scientist in charge of their study, Dr. James K. Mantleray (Justin Theroux).  more

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Unsane: how film’s portrayal of mental illness is (slowly) improving

Steven Soderbergh: Unretired. The director announced in 2013 that he was quitting because “movies don’t matter any more”. But he has continued to work steadily since – in television and, since last year, film again. The film he made before announcing his “retirement” was Side Effects, a psychological thriller exploring big pharma, that followed a young woman (Rooney Mara) detained in a psychiatric hospital against her will. His new film, Unsane, is a psychological thriller that follows a young woman (Claire Foy) detained in a psychiatric hospital against her will. It is clear, then, that Soderbergh finds mental illness and psychiatry interesting topics to explore.

He’s not alone. But how has the onscreen treatment of mental illness evolved over the years?

One of the screen characters we most associate with mental illness is Jack Nicholson’s Mac McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest who, lest we forget, was not insane, just hoping to avoid a prison sentence. Miloš Forman’s film, based on the Ken Kesey novel, was praised at the time for a sympathetic treatment of the inpatients, its “battle against the system” narrative and the more-or-less accurate portrayals of the often inhumane treatments routine at the time (lobotomies and electroconvulsive therapy without muscle relaxants).  more

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Mental health event brings stories of help, hope

STOCKTON — Marsha Posner Williams is a successful television producer, winner of two Emmy and three Golden Globe awards for “The Golden Girls.”

Yael Deynes, who survived a suicide attempt, physical and mental abuse by his biological mother in his native Puerto Rico and controlling, mental abuse at the hands of his former gay lover, has made an award-winning short film and is seeking funding for his first feature-length motion picture.

The two will share their stories of success and offer encouragement Friday when they speak on “Curing The Stigma” from 1:30-3 p.m. in the Tillie Lewis Theatre as San Joaquin Delta College concludes its observance of Mental Health Awareness Week.  more

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