Blue Jasmine, written and directed by Woody Allen, perpetuates the stigma of the stereotypical crazy person. IMDB classifies it as a Comedy, although my friends (neither of them have a mental illness) and I thought it was extremely depressing. To be fair, there are quite a few rave reviews, but I found nothing funny or enjoyable about it all. Under the movie description, it says “A New York socialite, deeply troubled and in denial….” Jasmine is quite a bit more than “troubled.” (Spoiler alert to the end of the paragraph) Her mental decline is rapid, and flashbacks show that she seemed to have some sort of mental illness for quite some time. She even makes light of ECT by calling it “Edison’s Therapy.” She lies to get what she wants, but it ends up backfiring on her. The movie ends with her sitting on a park bench, babbling to herself (it’s mentioned earlier that she was once found talking to herself in public). Jasmine sits next to a woman who looks at her uncomfortably and gets up and walks away.
I suppose I can see how some might see this as a comedy, but from the point of view of a person with bipolar disorder, all I saw was a very disturbing stigmatization of mental illness. If I would have known more about this movie, I would have saved my money. I have enough of this in my own life, and I prefer to be entertained at the movies, not reminded of my own reality (nor have it thrown in my face in the guise of a comedy).
What do you think of mental illness in the movies? Have you seen this movie and have a different opinion? I’d love to read what you have to say about this.
- 10 Ways Mental Illness is Stigmatized In Our Culture
- Glenn Close on Lifting the Stigma Around Mental Illness
- Media and Mental Health Stigma: The Problem or the Solution
- Jennifer Lawrence Criticizes Mental Illness Stigma
- Do popular media such as movies aggravate the stigma of mental disorders?“Film media should be used to advantage to dispel the stigma associated with psychiatric disorders. Care should be taken to ensure that only scientifically sound messages are conveyed to the lay audience. The help of the censor board should be taken to check the dissemination of erroneous messages related to mental disorders, which would only aggravate the traditional stigma associated with such disorders.”