15 Movies That Catastrophically Misunderstand What It's Like To Live With Mental Illness

Anyone who's ever been to see a therapist knows Hollywood often glamorizes the experience of mental illness. Movies with mentally ill characters are often seen as Oscar-bait and can sometimes be guilty of using mental illness as a plot device. In real life, there are no miracle therapy breakthroughs that suddenly cure dissociative identity disorder. After struggling for years, no one's depression is lifted just because they finally meet that special someone that brings meaning to their life.

Mentally ill characters in movies who get better through willpower are just one trope used by Hollywood. Others include using mentally ill characters as magic beings who become savior-figures forcing change upon the hero; actually being a genius in some respect; or, existing for comedic purposes in a film. All of these tropes are dangerous in that they make light of a serious subject and look at mental illness through a romanticized filter.

Mental illness is a real experience and when Hollywood exploits it through movies that handle mental illness badly, people are then misinformed about its reality. Don't let these movies fool you.

Photo: Silver Linings Playbook/The Weinstein Company