‘Mental disorders in popular film: how Hollywood uses, shames, and obscures mental diversity’


Reviewed by Fiona Gregory

Excerpt: “‘Madness’ is a common feature in cinema, with filmmakers drawn to the heightened emotion and distortions of reality that circulate around actual or alleged ‘insanity.’ Amongst the many films that exploit madness as a narrative ploy, there are a few that attempt to offer a more nuanced representation of mental illness and, as Erin Heath demonstrates in this compelling and important study, even fewer that offer real insight into the lived experience of mental illness. Using a variety of theoretical frameworks drawn from literary studies, feminist criticism, and cognitive studies, Heath shows that mainstream Hollywood cinema repeatedly positions characters with forms of mental disorder or disability as narratively expedient and rarely allows them to be engaging characters in their own right.” Read the full review here