Mental Health Movie Analysis
Learning Objective: Students will supplement their knowledge and comprehension of Schizophrenia through analyzing and evaluating their portrayal in selected media.
Desired Outcome: Students will develop their understanding of the featured mental illness through the analysis and evaluation of the characters’ portrayal of mental illness, which will include a discussion of the accuracy of portrayal as well as the diagnosis criteria and treatment of the featured disorder.
Directions: Please choose ONE movie from the list of movies below. The school library has copies available to check out. (*The Public Library may also have these to check out free.)
You may choose another movie where schizophrenia is portrayed *please review with your teacher prior*
A Beautiful Mind (2001)*
−Psychopathology, treatment, schizophrenia, family dynamics, stress and coping
The Fisher King (1991)
−Psychosis, schizophrenia, depression, suicide
Benny & Joon (1993)
−Psychopathology, schizophrenia, personality disorders, family dynamics, stress and coping
Assignment: After watching the movie, identify and analyze the portrayal of the featured mental illness in a “simple” analysis paper. Note:
• You are NOT creating a summary or “review” of the movie.
• You are analyzing the characters’ portrayal, and movie’s depiction of the “mental illness”.
To make the disorder become more relevant, you will address three components of the film:
1. Accuracy of portrayal of mental illness: How is the character shown to be mentally ill? Does the film say what the condition is? What are the “typical” symptoms and how are they displayed? How is the condition diagnosed? What is the diagnosis criteria for the illness depicted in the movie. Does this character meet that criteria? Be specific, how is the illness communicated to viewers and to other actors in the film? In what ways does the movie accurately represent the disorder or misrepresent it? Explain using an examples from the movie.
2. Treatment recommendations: How is the illness “treated” in the movie you chose? What other treatments are available? (Especially if this movie is older, are there new therapies?) What might be a possible treatment plan for this character?
3. Pick ONE of the three following points to address, choose one that applies to your film:
a) Professional ethics: How are the doctors and therapists depicted? What are their interactions with the ill character? How are these professionals helping or hurting the situation? What is the purpose of depicting mental health care professionals in this light?
b) Perpetuation of stigma: What are the false statements or depictions of mental illness in the film? Are there accurate depictions? How do you know? Why are aspects of illness so misrepresented?
c) Attitude change: How did characters in the film change over time in their attitudes towards mental illness? How did this film change your attitude about the depicted illness?
Analysis Paper, Template: (Double space, proof read for spelling & grammar!)
Paragraph 1: Introduction to movie and the depiction of mental illness in the movie (your main sentence within this paragraph will indicate what your three points are going to be.)
Paragraph 2: Accuracy analysis of the movie: How is the character shown to be mentally ill? How is the illness communicated to viewers and to other actors in the film?
What diagnosis criteria did the character meet, or not meet?
Paragraph 3: – Treatment analysis and recommendation: How is the illness “treated” in the movie? What treatments are available? (Especially if this movie is older, are there new therapies?) Discuss possible treatments appropriate for this character, not specific medications or anything, but long term goals.
Paragraph 4: Pick your third topic and answer the questions. No need to provide a summary paragraph, but it is a good rule of thumb to go back to your main sentence in the first paragraph and make sure you hit all the points that you said you would address.
Mental Health Movie Analysis Rubric
Points 0-1 1-2 3-4
Appropriate analysis of the character’s mental disorder Minimal or inaccurate information about the characters featured mental disorder(s). Presents general information about the featured mental disorder(s) and/or gives minimal detail/ information to support analysis. Presents relevant, and accurate viewpoints about the characters featured mental disorder(s). Provides examples to support analysis.
Thorough discussion of the accuracy of the characters Mental disorder portrayal Discussion of analysis accuracy not thoroughly explained, or unsupported. Discusses analysis of accuracy, but not always in a clear and concise manner and/or gives minimal detail/
information to support analysis. Discusses analysis of accuracy in a clear and concise manner.
Provides examples to support analysis.
Thorough discussion of treatment Discussion of analysis treatment not thoroughly explained, or unsupported.
Discusses analysis of treatment, but not always in a clear and concise manner and/ or gives minimal detail/information to support analysis. Discusses analysis of treatment in a clear and concise manner.
Provides examples to support analysis.
Addressed third point appropriately
Discussion of third point not thoroughly explained, or unsupported Discusses third point appropriately, but not always in a clear and concise manner and/or gives minimal detail/
information to support analysis. Discusses third point appropriately, in a clear and concise manner. Provides examples to support analysis.
Easy to read, no spelling and or grammatical errors >5 spelling or grammatical errors. Readability inadequate. 2-5 spelling or grammatical errors.
Readability adequate. 0-2 grammatical or spelling errors. Easy to read and understand.
20 total points possible =100%
Desired Outcome: Students will develop their understanding of the featured mental illness through the analysis and evaluation of the characters’ portrayal of mental illness
Mental Health Movie Analysis
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