Bloggy Moms

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Ending Mental Health Stereotypes in First Run Movies


This weekend I went to see Warner Bros. "The Intern." It's cute comedy staring Anne Hathaway, Robert Deniro and Rene Russo. I really enjoyed 98% of it. The 2% that I didn't like, almost caused me to walk out of the theater. 
If I had been with my 11 year old daughter, I would have probably had to do some serious explaining to her about two very minor scenes. As one movie reviewer wrote:  "There is an awkward and unfunny joke about a child possibly having bipolar disorder." Here's what happened, when we are introduced to Anne Hathaway's character's daughter in the movie, we are told that she is not friends with a girl because "She is bipolar." This joke is repeated one other time. It garnered a few chuckles from the audience in the movie theater where I was. 
I am sorely disappointed in Nancy Meyer, the writer/director of the movie, for writing this into the script. I'm saddened that Kevin Tsuijihara, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. allowed this in a film that is put out by his studio. The starring actors, Anne Hathaway, Robert Deniro, and Rene Russo must not know anyone who has this disorder. If any of these individuals did, they would not have allowed it to be a part of the script. 
We as a nation have come a long way in ending many stereotypes. The N word and the R word are no longer acceptable. Many are repulsed by these words. We've tried to show a fair side towards roles that women and men play in society (a strong point of this movie.) We've made great strides in breaking down the color barriers. This movie shows us that we still have a ways to go towards ending the stigma of mental health. 
Challenges in mental health are no laughing matter. My daughter struggles with bipolar disorder. Thankfully she's had over two years of stability, but it took her a lot of hard work to get there. 
It is my belief that if she had been old enough to see this movie, she would have been deeply offended by the little joke that was made about her disorder. 
As of this writing my daughter has not encountered rude comments or misunderstandings about bipolar. I'm sure that will not be the case, the older she gets. Movies and the media in general can do a lot to end the stigma and shame of mental illness.
Perhaps instead of saying that the daughter's friend was "bipolar", the writer could have said that she was having a rough day.
I implore those associated with this movie to really consider their part in educating others that jokes about mental illnesses are not OK. Maybe next time they are reading over a script that puts down or makes light of mental health challenges, they will speak up and asked that the lines be rewritten. The time for change is now. 





You can also follow our story on Facebook at Raising a Drama Queen: Musings and Insights in Bipolar Land

#EndTheStigma
#TheIntern

4 comments:

  1. The truly confusing thing about all of this is that Robert DeNiro has a son with bipolar disorder and Rene Russo, who also has bipolar disorder, is an outspoken advocate for it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The truly confusing thing about all of this is that Robert DeNiro has a son with bipolar disorder and Rene Russo, who also has bipolar disorder, is an outspoken advocate for it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I found this article because I just watched the movie a few nights ago and the 2 "Jokes" about bipolar bummed me out and tarnished an otherwise great movie. They were not in any way important to the story and could easily been changed. I have seen this more and more in movies the last few years and it always bugs me. Thanks for writing this post.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I found this article because I just watched the movie a few nights ago and the 2 "Jokes" about bipolar bummed me out and tarnished an otherwise great movie. They were not in any way important to the story and could easily been changed. I have seen this more and more in movies the last few years and it always bugs me. Thanks for writing this post.

    ReplyDelete