The Best 'Psych Flicks' of 2010

Clinical Psychiatry News, December 2010 | Go to article overview

The Best 'Psych Flicks' of 2010


"Everyone Is Entitled to My Opinion" - decal on coffee mug, Father's Day gift from two of my sons.

As we poise to exit 2010, here's a list of the best films I saw this year that have prominent psychiatric, psychotherapeutic, or broader mental health themes (what I call a "psych flick"). Regarding such lists, Harvard cultural historian Louis Menand, in a 2004 humor piece about "Best" lists in The New Yorker magazine, had this to say:

"Everyone acts superior to lists (so arbitrary and invidious!), but the act is a bluff. The fact of the matter is basic and ineluctable: we need these lists. ... The year would not be complete without them. The first response to the appearance of the ten-best lists is simple gratitude. It is good to know that someone has been paying attention. ... You need, you realize, a list, and in exactly the same way that a drowning sailor needs a life preserver. The people who make these annual lists ... have crossed the great sea of packaged amusement, pathos, and distraction for us, and they have emerged [saying] 'Here; these are the best.' "

Psychodynamic therapists can make a psych flick - or psychflick - out of almost any drama. My perspective is both more specific and broader. I'm always on the lookout for an actor's performance that is authentic, either as a psychiatrist or psychotherapist, or as a patient suffering from a recognizable psychiatric disorder. I look for believable enactments of treatment and therapeutic relationships, as well as realistic gazes at conflicts in families and other close relationships. I seek out psychflicks that focus on children, adolescents, and aging populations, not just on the adults in between.

I include theatrically distributed documentaries because the best ones can educate viewers about mental illness in an entertaining manner, not as a didactic exercise, which nobody wants in a movie. I make no exceptions for foreign language films, which make up 25% of the psychflicks I have catalogued over the years. The most authentic recent dramatizations of psychiatric disorders come from places such as Belgium, Iceland, the Scandinavian countries, and South Korea. Movies spoken in other languages (stated in parentheses here) have English subtitles. The films are listed by category and alphabetically by title within each category. For more in-depth reviews, visit the Movie Review Query Engine at www.MRQE.com.

* Non-Fiction Films. This category includes four documentaries and two docudramas (marked DD).

"The Inheritors" ("Los herederos") - Lyrical, by turns an uplifting and sad film about the long, hard work days put in by kids in rural Mexico. They are good at what they do and teach each other new skills. They are weary by evening: you see fatigue in their faces like that in their parents'. For subsistence farmers, family survival depends on their children's contributions. But how will an unschooled population manage when they inherit the nation? (In Spanish) Grade: A.

"Last Train Home" - We know of the displacement of Chinese workers from rural to urban settings to find jobs, while ties to home remain strong. This film offers a shockingly intimate portrait of 200 million workers jamming onto trains for their annual trip home at the Lunar New Year. Intimacy comes as we follow the camera to view homecoming experiences in a particular family. (In Mandarin) Grade: A.

"Reporter" - New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof at work in the world. ("Nicholas Kristof's Call for Compassion," Reel Life, Clinical Psychiatry News, July 2010, p. 9). Grade: B+.

"Restrepo" - First documentary of the Afghan War. Rugged mountains and tiny villages in the northeast shelter the Taliban. Our troops, way too exposed, get popped. Sound like Vietnam? A person who recently served in Afghanistan says this film is the real deal. Grade: A-.

"The Social Network" - Absorbing DD about Mark Zuckerberg, whose shyness led him to substitute virtual relationships for real ones.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Best 'Psych Flicks' of 2010
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.