Bipolar disorder is a condition where a person has periods of extreme highs and lows, along with changes in their behavior and thinking. The person shifts between feeling excited and confident or exhibiting manic behavior, to being sad or depressed. They can also have periods of feeling relatively normal.
According to WebMD, “most people with bipolar disorder spend more time with depressive symptoms than manic or hypomanic symptoms.”
There are a number of movies out about mental illness. Here are some that focus on bipolar disease.
This documentary is a great opener to explain what it is like to have bipolar disorder, expressed through the stories of four people over a period of three years. Two are on medication, and two are not.
Kristin Davis plays Billie, and Joel Gretsch portrays her husband Rick. Tammy Blanchard plays Billy's sister Elizabeth, known as “Baby," who has bipolar disorder. Louise Fletcher portrays Aunt Will.
It shows them living their lives, engaged in regular activities such as getting ready for work or painting artwork. It also reflects how they feel about hiding the fact that they are bipolar, and the difficulties this has caused in their relationships.
This movie explores the lives of three women, who are connected by the book “Mrs Dalloway,” by Virginia Woolf. Their stories are told by switching back and forth to each of their lives, which are happening during different time periods, but overlap in ways that makes their stories compelling.
Clarissa Vaughan, played by Meryl Streep, is trying to plan a party for her friend who has AIDs. Laura Brown is played by Julianne Moore, who is a pregnant 1950s housewife in an unhappy marriage.
Nicole Kidman portrays Virginia Woolf, the author of “Mrs Dalloway,” who struggles with bipolar disorder. She has had nervous breakdowns in the past, so her husband fears she will do herself harm.
This movie was nominated for eight Academy awards. The main character, Pat Solitano, is played by Bradley Cooper. Pat has bipolar disorder and was released from a mental health facility after eight months of treatment, when he moves in with his parents. His father, Patrizio, is played by Robert De Niro and his mother, Dolores, is portrayed by Jacki Weaver.
Pat wants to reconcile with his wife Nikki, played by Brea Bee, who left him after she had an affair. Pat meets a troubled young woman named Tiffany Maxwell, portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence. There is chemistry between them but Pat remains obsessed with finding a way to return to his ex-wife throughout the story.
This family story takes place in the late 1970s. Cameron (Cam) Stuart, played by Mark Ruffalo, is a father with bipolar disorder who has lost his job after having a mental breakdown.
His wife Maggie, played by Zoe Saldana, moves with their two daughters to a rent-controlled apartment, but receives a scholarship to Columbia University to earn her MBA. In order to do this however, she needs her husband to live with the daughters while she is gone, and they all struggle to adjust to these changes.
This movie is about a couple who are both poets with bipolar disorder. Katie Holmes plays Carla. Luke Kirby plays Marco.
They meet in a psychiatric facility and struggle to balance their love and their lives together. The writer-director of this movie, Paul Dalio, also suffers from bipolar disorder.
He stated that he found inspiration for the movie in a book titled “Touched with Fire,” which is about the connection of manic-depression and creativity. The book was written by a psychologist who has studied bipolar disease in depth.
This movie should be out in theaters in February 2016.
Bipolar Disorder. WebMD. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
Of Two Minds: New Documentary Film Explores Bipolar Disorder. Psychology Today. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
The Hours (film). Wikipedia. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
Silver Linings Playbook. Wikipedia. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
Katie Holmes on Playing a Bipolar Artist in 'Touched With Fire' (Exclusive First Trailer!) Yahoo.com. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
Michele is an R.N. freelance writer with a special interest in woman’s healthcare and quality of care issues.
Edited by Jody Smith