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15 Good Movies On Netflix About Mental Illness

Updated July 13, 2020 203 votes 40 voters15 items

List RulesVote up the best movies on Netflix that focus on the subject of mental illness!

Movies, while entertaining, can also be a great teaching tool, like these mental illness movies on Netflix. Mental illness is a sensitive subject, but one that definitely warrants a discussion. When a movie features a protagonist who struggles with a mental illness, it can be a great way to open up the lines of communication. You might be wondering where to watch movies about mental illness. Well, the good news is that Netflix has got your back. 

With the wide array of content on Netflix nowadays, there truly is a movie for every occasion. There's plenty of movies about mental illness on Netflix, and this list features the best of them. From movies about schizophrenia on Netflix to bipolar disorder to obsessive compulsive disorder to anorexia, this list touches upon multiple mental illnesses that may affect you or someone you love. These movies can get pretty emotionally intense, but several have a streak of humor to lift your spirits. Whether you're looking for a more lighthearted affair like the documentary Asperger's Are Us or a darker psychological thriller like Horse Girl, you'll be covered with options. 

Keep reading to learn more about the mental illness films on Netflix, and vote up the ones you found to be the most touching or inspiring! 

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  • Silver Linings Playbook
    Photo: Silver Linings Playbook / The Weinstein Company

    Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are electric in David O. Russell's Silver Linings PlaybookCooper plays Pat, a man who is released from a psychiatric hospital following his treatment of bipolar disorder. In order to win his wife back, he enlists the help of his young, widowed neighbor Tiffany (Lawrence). In exchange, Pat must enter a couple's dance competition with Tiffany. As the two spend more time together, they grow closer and help each other heal. This brilliant film is filled with genuinely touching moments and breakthroughs. It's a must-watch. 

    • Actors: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Julia Stiles, Chris Tucker
    • Released: 2012
    • Directed by: David O. Russell
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  • As Good as It Gets
    Photo: As Good As It Gets / Sony Pictures Releasing

    Meet Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson), a misanthrope and victim of obsessive compulsive disorder. You'd never guess by that description that he's also a best-selling romance novelist. Melvin spends every day eating at the same diner and interacting with the same waitress named Carol (Helen Hunt) who has an acutely asthmatic son. When Melvin's neighbor is nearly killed in a robbery, he must take care of his dog Verdell. Taking care of Verdell opens Melvin up to a whole new realm of experiences, and eventually leads him to pursuing Carol more directly. This movie shows how someone can ultimately bounce back from a mental illness and lead a full life with support from others. 

    • Actors: Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Julie Benz, Cuba Gooding Jr., Maya Rudolph
    • Released: 1997
    • Directed by: James L. Brooks
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  • Horse Girl
    Photo: Horse Girl / Netflix

    The title of Horse Girl is a bit deceptive. You won't be getting a young girl whose bedroom is decked out in horse decorations. Instead, Horse Girl is about a young, introverted woman named Sarah (Alison Brie) who works at a craft store. She frequently visits her mother's grave, whose suicide the year prior left a deep mark on her. Sarah also pays visits to her former horse Willow, who is now boarded at the stable where she used to ride as a child. But soon, Sarah begins to suffer from paranoid visions and sleepwalking episodes, leading her to believe she is actually a clone of her grandmother. Brie's performance is remarkably committed, bringing to life her character's complicated mental illness with grace and poise. 

    • Actors: Alison Brie, Robin Tunney, Debby Ryan
    • Released: 2020
    • Directed by: Jeff Baena
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    The Perfection

    The Perfection
    Photo: The Perfection / Miramax

    If you enjoy psychological thrillers such as Whiplash and Black SwanThe Perfection will be up your alley. Allison Williams, known for her exceptional horror work in Get Out, brings her A-game as Charlotte Willmore, a prodigious cellist who must leave Bachoff music school to care for her terminally ill mother. When she returns years later, she meets her replacement, Lizzie (Logan Browning), and plots her revenge. Charlotte drugs Lizzie, convincing her to cut off her own hand. At first, Charlotte is accused of jealousy as her motivation, but things are much more complicated than that. This movie has maddening twists you'll never see coming. 

    • Actors: Allison Williams, Logan Browning, Steven Weber
    • Released: 2018
    • Directed by: Richard Shepard
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