Where Hollywood Gets It Wrong

Kelsey Deering , Senior Staff Writer

  3.5 million people in the U.S. suffer from schizophrenia, 5.7 million suffer from bipolar disorder and 200,000 people suffer from multiple personality disorders. Psychology Today classifies these three illnesses as the worst mental ailments to live with.
  Despite this fact, the majority of Hollywood has no problem exploiting these illnesses as plot enhancers to win an oscar or get higher than 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. Never mind the fact that millions of people deal with these illnesses every day. Never mind the fact that human beings
are being institutionalized for an illness that is beyond their control. Never mind the fact that
people who suffer from these illnesses are slandered with words like “crazy” or “insane” when their illness affects their daily lives.
  But hey, as long as it gets me closer to an Academy Award, right? In Silver Linings Playbook, Bradley Cooper shows us that the only cure for Bipolar Disorder is, of course, true love. Disregard
years of therapy, medication or being wary of triggers that patients with this disorder endure. I wonder why acclaimed neurologist Oliver Sacks never prescribed true love to his patients. At least director David O’Russell, can slip 8 Academy Award nominations under his belt for his incredible work exploiting the 5.7 million Americans who deal with bipolar disorder on a daily basis.
  Time and time again, movies portray mental illness as an identity instead of a disorder in characters for the soul purpose of adding substance to an already weak plot. The horror genre is Hollywood’s biggest perpetrator of this feat. In The Visit, mental illness is exploited and used
as a disgusting scare tactic to frighten children who have gone up to see their grandparents for a
weekend. Their grandparents work with mentally ill patients, but much to the children’s dismay their grandparents’ identity has been stolen by escaped psychiatric patients eager to murder. In this horribly offensive train-wreck, mental illness is used as a trope to frighten the audience with
blood-thirsty, insane patients who claim to be suffering from disorders such as schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder. Audiences were bombarded with mental illness stigma, and an inaccurate “fear” of the mentally ill were forced onto its viewers.
  Movies such as Split, which portrays a character who claims to possess Multiple Personality Disorder, turns into a mythical flesh-eating monster who tears apart his victims as his 23rd split personality. This cinematic atrocity ultimately pumps more mental illness stigma in society and portrays people who suffer from this disorder as possessing the capacity to turn into a disgusting, flesh-eating monster. Hollywood’s ability to distort and exploit the true plight of mental illness into a subplot in movies and add substance into characters is disgusting. No more serial killers who murder because of the voices in their head, no more escaped psychiatric patients the whole town is afraid of. Winning an academy award at the expense of millions of people with an illness? I guess that’s Hollywood.