Dozens of directors have reported on Movies About Mental Disabilities. Here are 25 of our favorites.
From David Fincher, starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Meat Loaf, Zach Grenier
Fight Club is a 1999 American psychological thriller film directed by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, and Helena Bonham Carter. The film tells the story of an unnamed narrator, played by Norton, who is discontent with his white-collar job. He forms a "fight club" with soap maker Tyler Durden, played by Pitt, and they are joined by men who also want to fight recreationally. The narrator becomes embroiled in a relationship with Durden and a dissolute woman, Marla Singer, played by Bonham Carter. Throughout the film, the narrator struggles with his mental health and begins to develop a split personality, which leads to the creation of a vast underground Fight Club network to which numerous men and women are recruited, creating an army of anarcho-sociopaths. The film explores themes of masculinity, femininity, freedom, and morality. It became a cult classic and was praised by audiences, but was generally met with mixed reviews by critics.
From Robert Zemeckis, starring Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Sally Field
Forrest Gump is a 1994 American romantic-drama film directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, and Gary Sinise. It tells the story of a slow-witted but kindhearted man from Alabama who, with the help of a feather that falls from the sky, goes on an epic journey through much of the twentieth century, meeting with presidents, meeting the love of his life, and influencing several generations. Through his unique outlook on life, Forrest teaches us to accept the things we cannot change and make the most out of what we have. Along the way, Forrest discovers the importance of friendship, courage, and the power of love.
From Milos Forman, starring Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Michael Berryman, Peter Brocco
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is an iconic film directed by Milos Forman and released in 1975. The movie follows the story of Randle P. McMurphy, a convict who, in order to escape a jail sentence, pleads insanity and is sent to a mental institution. McMurphy's stay at the institution is initially filled with pranks, defiance and non-conformity, but his actions soon come into conflict with the oppressive regime led by the tyrannical Nurse Ratched. As his battle of wills intensifies, McMurphy's rebellious spirit begins to inspire the other inmates to question the oppressive regime and stand up for themselves. The film is a powerful exploration of freedom and oppression, and a stirring portrait of one man's refusal to be broken by an indifferent and oppressive system.
Éric Toledano, starring François Cluzet, Omar Sy, Anne Le Ny, Audrey Fleurot
The Intouchables is a 2011 French buddy comedy-drama film directed by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano. It stars François Cluzet and Omar Sy as two mismatched men who form an unlikely friendship. Cluzet plays a wealthy quadriplegic, Philippe, who hires Driss, an ex-convict played by Sy. Philippe is a wealthy, cultured, and educated quadriplegic who requires a live-in caretaker for his daily needs. Driss, a man from the projects, is hired despite having no experience or qualifications for the job. Despite their differences and the culture shock, the two men quickly form a close bond and Philippe encourages Driss to pursue his dreams. Throughout the film, their bond is tested by Philippe's overbearing staff and Driss's criminal past. Through their friendship, Philippe re-discovers the joy of living and Driss finds purpose and self-respect. In the end, the two men, who could not be more different, find common ground in being true to themselves and helping each other out.
From Sam Mendes, starring Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley
American Beauty is a 1999 American drama film directed by Sam Mendes and written by Alan Ball. The film stars Kevin Spacey as Lester Burnham, a middle-aged magazine writer who has a mid-life crisis. He becomes infatuated with his teenage daughter's best friend, Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari), and changes his life to get closer to her. Meanwhile, his wife Carolyn (Annette Bening) finds herself attracted to a real estate tycoon. The film follows Lester's journey to rediscovering his own beauty and happiness, despite the struggles and hardships he experiences along the way. The movie was critically acclaimed and was a box office success. It won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography.
From Christopher Nolan, starring Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Mark Boone Junior
Memento is a film directed by Christopher Nolan in 2000. The film follows Leonard Shelby, a man who suffers from anterograde amnesia and is searching for his wife's killer. Leonard is unable to form new memories, so he takes Polaroid photographs, notes, and tattoos to help him remember what has happened. He also enlists the help of a mysterious stranger, Teddy, in his search. As the story unfolds, it is revealed that Leonard is trying to take revenge on the person who killed his wife, but the truth of his identity and his wife's killer is never fully revealed to the audience. Along the way, Leonard discovers that he may be the killer he is trying to find.
From Asghar Farhadi, starring Payman Maadi, Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat, Shahab Hosseini
"A Separation" is an Iranian drama film directed by Asghar Farhadi. It tells the story of a married couple, Nader and Simin, who are trying to decide whether to stay together or separate. Nader is determined to stay in Iran to take care of his ailing father, while Simin wants to leave the country with their 11-year-old daughter, Termeh. Their attempts to find a compromise unravel, leading to a court case that results in unforeseen and devastating consequences. Throughout the film, Farhadi examines the consequences of decisions made under the pressures of family and society. The film is a powerful exploration of Iranian society and the modern relationship between men and women. It was met with critical acclaim and won numerous awards, including the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
From Alfred Hitchcock, starring James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes, Tom Helmore
Vertigo is a 1958 American psychological thriller film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock. The film stars James Stewart as former police detective John "Scottie" Ferguson, who is forced into early retirement because an incident in the line of duty has caused him to develop acrophobia and vertigo. Ferguson is hired by an acquaintance, Gavin Elster, as a private investigator to follow Gavin's wife Madeleine, who is possessed by the spirit of her ancestor Carlotta Valdes. Scottie trails Madeleine and notices her strange behavior, which leads him to believe she is suicidal. After he saves her from a suicide attempt in San Francisco Bay, Scottie falls in love with her and they begin an affair. When Madeleine suddenly disappears, Scottie is devastated and becomes obsessed with discovering the truth about her. With the help of a fellow former police officer, Midge Wood, Scottie eventually discovers the truth about Madeleine’s past and her identity. This shocking revelation has devastating consequences for Scottie and his struggle to overcome his vertigo.
From Michel Gondry, starring Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Tom Wilkinson, Gerry Robert Byrne
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a 2004 romantic science fiction drama directed by Michel Gondry. The film follows Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) and Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) as they attempt to erase their memories of each other after their tumultuous relationship ends. The film follows Joel and Clementine as they discover each other, fall in love, and then fall apart. After the breakup, Clementine enacts a procedure known as 'Lacuna' to erase all memories of Joel from her mind. Joel, feeling betrayed, decides to do the same. The film then follows Joel's internal journey as he attempts to keep his memories of Clementine intact as a way to hold onto their relationship. The film is a commentary on the nature of love and relationships, and offers a unique exploration of the power of memory, and the difficulty of letting go of the past. It is a visually stunning, thought-provoking, and ultimately uplifting film.
From Ron Howard, starring Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Plummer
A Beautiful Mind is a biographical drama film based on the true story of John Nash, a Nobel Laureate in Economics. The film follows Nash's journey from his early days at Princeton University to his eventual rise to become one of the most renowned mathematicians of the 20th Century. Nash struggles with a growing mental illness and is eventually diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Despite these challenges, he continues to make groundbreaking discoveries in mathematics and economics, eventually earning him the Nobel Prize. With the help of his loving wife Alicia and his doctor, Nash eventually learns to cope with his mental illness and discovers a brilliant new way of looking at the world. The film covers the struggles and triumphs of Nash's life, showing the power of resilience and the beauty of the human spirit.
From Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd, Albert Brooks
Taxi Driver is a 1976 American psychological thriller directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Paul Schrader. The film follows Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro), an unstable Vietnam War veteran and former Marine who is driven to violence and loneliness by his alienation in a corrupt and apathetic society. Throughout the film, he slowly descends into insanity as he stalks and plots to assassinate a presidential candidate and becomes increasingly obsessed with a 12-year-old prostitute named Iris. The film also stars Cybill Shepherd, Jodie Foster, Albert Brooks, Harvey Keitel, and Peter Boyle. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won the Palme d'Or at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival. It is widely regarded as one of the most influential films of all time and has been deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress.
From Martin Scorsese, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Emily Mortimer, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley
Shutter Island is a psychological thriller set in 1954, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio as U.S. Marshal Edward "Teddy" Daniels. Teddy is sent to investigate the disappearance of a patient from a hospital for the criminally insane located on Shutter Island. As Teddy and his partner, Chuck Aule, explore the island and its secrets, Teddy begins to question his own sanity and discovers a sinister conspiracy involving the hospital and its staff. With the clock ticking, he must find out the truth before it's too late.
From Clint Eastwood, starring Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Jay Baruchel
Million Dollar Baby is a 2004 drama directed by Clint Eastwood, starring Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, and Morgan Freeman. The film follows Maggie Fitzgerald, an underprivileged woman who dreams of becoming a professional boxer. With the help of an aging trainer, Frankie Dunn, and a former boxer, Scrap-Iron Dupois, Maggie works hard to achieve her dream. As she begins to rise in the ranks of the boxing world, tragedy strikes, testing the spirit and determination of Maggie, Frankie, and Scrap-Iron. Through their struggles, the three form an unlikely bond, as Maggie fights to become a champion in the world of boxing and in life.
From Michael Cimino, starring Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Cazale, John Savage
The Deer Hunter is a 1978 American epic war drama film directed by Michael Cimino. The film follows a trio of steelworkers (Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, and John Savage) whose lives are changed forever after they are sent to Vietnam. When they return home to Pennsylvania, their relationships are forever changed by the harsh realities of war, and their lives spiral out of control. The film is noted for its frequent use of Russian roulette as a metaphor for the brutality of war, its gripping visuals, and its intense performances from its cast. The Deer Hunter went on to win five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor for Christopher Walken. The film is widely considered a classic of American cinema and stands as one of the greatest movies of all time.
From Barry Levinson, starring Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino, Gerald R. Molen
Rain Man is a 1988 American road comedy-drama film directed by Barry Levinson and written by Barry Morrow and Ronald Bass. It tells the story of an abrasive, selfish young wheeler-dealer, Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise), who discovers that his estranged father has died and bequeathed all of his multimillion-dollar estate to his other son, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), an autistic savant, of whose existence Charlie was unaware. Charlie is left with only his father's car and the instruction to deliver the car to an address in New Mexico. He decides to kidnap Raymond and transport him cross-country in order to get his hands on the inheritance. Along the way, the two brothers, who are complete opposites, learn to bond and grow closer. In the end, Charlie forgoes the money and decides to care for Raymond and make sure he is looked after properly.
From Martin Brest, starring Al Pacino, Chris O'Donnell, James Rebhorn, Gabrielle Anwar
Scent of a Woman is a 1992 American drama film directed by Martin Brest and starring Al Pacino and Chris O'Donnell. The film is based on the 1974 Italian film of the same name, and tells the story of a prep school student who takes a job as an assistant to an irascible, blind, medically retired US Army officer. After a clash of personalities, the two come to terms and the student learns a valuable lesson in life from the officer. The film also stars James Rebhorn, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Gabrielle Anwar, and Bradley Whitford. Pacino won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance.
From Alejandro Amenábar, starring Javier Bardem, Belén Rueda, Lola Dueñas, Mabel Rivera
The Sea Inside is a 2004 Spanish drama film directed by Alejandro Amenábar and written by Amenábar and Mateo Gil. The film is inspired by the real-life story of Ramón Sampedro (played by Javier Bardem), a Galician who fought a 30-year campaign to win the right to end his own life with dignity. Through the gift of his love, these two women are inspired to accomplish things they never thought possible. The film also stars Belén Rueda as Julia, Lola Dueñas as Rosa, Celso Bugallo as José and Mabel Rivera as Manuela. The film explores a number of themes, including the right to die, euthanasia, and the value of life. It is a film that shows how a person’s actions and beliefs can profoundly affect the lives of others.
From Xavier Dolan, starring Anne Dorval, Antoine Olivier Pilon, Suzanne Clément, Patrick Huard
Mommy is a 2014 Canadian drama film written, produced, and directed by Xavier Dolan. The film stars Anne Dorval as a widowed single mother, Diane "Die" Després, who struggles to raise her troubled and violent son Steve (Antoine-Olivier Pilon). After Steve is expelled from school, Die is desperate to find a way to keep him out of trouble and off the streets, so she enlists the help of her neighbor Kyla (Suzanne Clément), a teacher and single mother. Together, the two women must find a way to manage Steve's outbursts, while also helping him achieve greater control of his emotions. As the film progresses, it becomes clear that the bond between mother and son is strong and deep, despite their frequent clashes. Ultimately, the film is a powerful exploration of unconditional love and the resilience of family.
From Tom Hooper, starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Derek Jacobi
The King's Speech is a 2010 British historical drama film directed by Tom Hooper and written by David Seidler. This film tells the story of King George VI, who is reluctantly thrust into the spotlight after his brother abdicates the throne. To make matters worse, the king suffers from a debilitating speech impediment, which makes it difficult and embarrassing for him to speak in public. With the country on the brink of war, the king must find a way to overcome his fear and deliver a rousing speech to rally his people. With the help of his wife, Queen Elizabeth, and an unorthodox speech therapist, Lionel Logue, the king is able to overcome his fear and find his voice. Through courage and perseverance, he is able to deliver a stirring and inspirational speech to his people and lead the country through a time of great need.
From Billy Bob Thornton, starring Billy Bob Thornton, Dwight Yoakam, J.T. Walsh, John Ritter
Sling Blade is a drama film written and directed by Billy Bob Thornton, and stars Thornton, Dwight Yoakam, J.T. Walsh and John Ritter. Set in rural Arkansas, the story follows Karl Childers, a mentally challenged man who is released from a psychiatric hospital after spending 25 years there for murdering his mother and her lover. Upon returning to his hometown, Karl befriends a young boy, Frank Wheatley, and his mother, Linda. Karl is welcomed into their home and he develops a strong bond with Frank. As Karl adjusts to his newfound freedom, he finds himself in difficult situations due to his past and struggles to be accepted by his peers. However, when Linda’s abusive boyfriend, Doyle, enters the picture, Karl is forced to make a difficult decision. He must find the strength to confront Doyle, and ultimately protect the people he loves. With the help of his friend, Vaughan Cunningham, Karl is determined to make the right choice. In the end, Karl takes a stand and shows that he is capable of redeeming himself.
From Julian Schnabel, starring Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Josée Croze, Anne Consigny
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a biographical drama film that tells the story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, the former French editor of Elle magazine. After suffering a stroke, Bauby is left with Locked-in Syndrome, which leaves him completely paralyzed except for his left eye. He is able to communicate by blinking his eye to create letters of the alphabet. With the help of his physical therapist, Bauby begins to write his memoirs, transcribed by an assistant. Through these memoirs, he reflects on his life, his relationships, and his struggles with his condition. The film follows his journey of resilience and acceptance, as he battles his physical limitations and the mental anguish of his condition.
From Richard Kelly, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Mary McDonnell, Holmes Osborne
Donnie Darko is a troubled teenage boy living in suburban America in 1988. After a bizarre encounter with a mysterious figure in a rabbit suit, Donnie is left with visions of a giant, destructive rabbit called Frank. Donnie soon learns that the world may end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds. As he struggles to figure out Frank's mission, Donnie begins to unravel the mysteries of time travel and his own destiny. As fear and despair begin to consume him, Donnie must ultimately choose between his own life and the lives of those he loves.
From Karan Johar, starring Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Sheetal Menon, Katie Amanda Keane
'My Name Is Khan' is a 2010 Indian drama film written and directed by Karan Johar and starring Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in lead roles. The film follows the story of Rizwan Khan, a Muslim man with Asperger syndrome, and his journey from India to the United States in search of his wife, Mandira, who has been affected by the aftermath of 9/11. Along the way, Rizwan experiences discrimination due to his skin color and religious beliefs, forcing him to confront a world filled with prejudice and bigotry. Through his journey, Rizwan teaches everyone he meets that people should not be judged by their religion or beliefs, but by the content of their character. Ultimately, Rizwan's journey culminates in a reunion with his wife, Mandira, and a greater understanding that the world is a better place when we come together in acceptance and understanding.
From Jean-Marc Vallée, starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto, Steve Zahn
Dallas Buyers Club is a 2013 biographical drama film directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and written by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack. It tells the true story of Ron Woodroof, a homophobic electrician and rodeo cowboy who is diagnosed with AIDS in 1985 and given only thirty days to live. As he struggles with the illness, he finds himself at odds with the medical community when he is unable to get the medication he needs to stay alive. He decides to take matters into his own hands and begins to smuggle and distribute non-FDA approved medications from Mexico to help those in need. Along the way, he forms an unlikely alliance with a transgender woman named Rayon and with each other, they fight to take on the medical establishment and gain access to the AIDS drugs they need to survive.
From Daniel Ribeiro, starring Ghilherme Lobo, Fabio Audi, Tess Amorim, Lúcia Romano
Rated Not Rated
The Way He Looks is a 2014 Brazilian romantic drama film directed by Daniel Ribeiro. The story follows Leo (Ghilherme Lobo), a blind teenager struggling to fit in at his new high school. When Gabriel (Fabio Audi), a new student, arrives, Leo's life is changed forever. Together, the two form a close bond that develops into a deep, romantic relationship. Despite the disapproval of their families and friends, Leo and Gabriel are determined to make their relationship work. Ultimately, The Way He Looks celebrates love, friendship, and the strength of the human spirit.