Movies, Men, and Mental Health

Eszterhas, Suzy. Sea otter cuddles her pup. Digital Image. The Telegraph. 26 October 2016, https://go.iu.edu/4hBX

Every month of the year is dubbed something strange. “National Hot Tea Month” and “National Oatmeal” month are notable mentions for January. However, there is one January observance of utmost importance – National Mental Wellness month. January is the month of new beginnings, and it’s hard to keep our promises to ourselves. Sometimes by February we have already given up. As January disappears in the rearview, we reflect on how to take care of ourselves and our loved ones in the winter months still ahead. These titles, some available on DVD, some on streaming, all contain stories showing how we must take care of ourselves before we can take care of others. More titles are available through Media Services to check out or stream. Unsure how? Ask a member of our staff at the desk. We love to help!

Regarding Henry (1991)

Regarding Henry. Digital Image. IMDb.com, 4 February 2022, https://go.iu.edu/4hBY

Regarding Henry, starring Harrison Ford and Annette Bening, tells the story of a hot-shot lawyer who has everything and nothing. While he has the job, the family, and the swanky New York apartment, he is never satisfied, and there is a disconnect between him and his family. One night, he steps out for cigarettes and is shot in the head, altering his life, personality, and temperament. Henry and his family have to navigate these new changes. Will lies and hurt tear the family apart? Or will it make them stronger than ever? Available on DVD in Media Services (click titles to go to IUCAT records).

A Beautiful Mind (2001)

A Beautiful Mind. Digital Image. IMDb.com, 4 February 2022, https://go.iu.edu/4hC8

A Beautiful Mind stars Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly and follows the life and diagnosis of the highly intelligent mathematician, John Nash. John Nash’s career takes off as he lands a job with the Department of Defense, he meets Alicia, and everything seems to be going well. But when Soviets attack Nash, threatening his family, he finds himself between a rock and a hard place. Not everything is as it seems in this important film that highlights mental illness. A Beautiful Mind won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture (2002). Available on DVD and streaming on the Swank streaming platform (CAS Authentication required for streaming).

The Sixth Sense (1999)

The Sixth Sense. Digital Image. IMDb.com, 4 February 2022, https://go.iu.edu/4hC9

The Sixth Sense, starring Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment, follows a psychologist and child duo. The films covers the aftermath of the psychologist talking down a gun-wielding patient who invaded his home. He meets Cole, a young boy who is shy and often bullied. Cole confides in Dr. Malcolm that he can see and talk to dead people, ghosts. Dr. Malcolm and Cole navigate this strange ability, learning a few things about each other and about themselves. Between Cole and Dr. Malcolm, it can be difficult to discern who is helping the other more.

The Shining (1980)

The Shining. Digital Image. IMDb.com, 4 February 2022, https://go.iu.edu/4hCb

The Shining stars Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall, directed by Stanley Kubrick. Jack and Wendy Torrance agree to be caretakers of a remote mountain lodge that shuts down for the winter. The Sheriff, before he leaves, warns Jack and Wendy’s son, Danny, not to go into Room 237, as they share a gift they call the “shining,” which gives them the ability to see ghosts. Strange and sinister things begin to happen. Will the family survive the winter or be consumed by the cold and the terror?

Rain Man (1988)

Rain Man. Digital Image. IMDb.com, 4 February 2022, https://go.iu.edu/4hCd

Rain Man, starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, follows two brothers who have to drive across the country to claim their inheritance following their father’s death. Raymond, Charlie’s estranged brother, is twice-exceptional, having both autism and Savant Syndrome. Raymond has been kept in a facility since an incident involving Charlie occurred. The two have to go cross country to get their money back while sticking to Raymond’s strict daily routines, all while getting to know each other. Will Charlie have the patience required to adapt? Or will he forego the whole thing and destroy any hope of a relationship with this brother?

Good Will Hunting (1997)

Good Will Hunting. Digital Image. IMDb.com, 4 February 2022, https://go.iu.edu/4hCe

In Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon plays a humble yet arrogant custodian whose life turns around when he solves a math problem on a chalkboard during one of his shifts. After a brawl gets him in trouble, he’s legally ordered to attend classes and therapy sessions. Will must navigate these uncharted waters as every aspect of his life changes: career, identity, romance, friendships, and more. Can he change for the better or Will will always be hunting for good?

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993)

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? Digital Image. IMDb.com, 4 February 2022, https://go.iu.edu/4hCg

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape stars Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Juliette Lewis. Johnny Depp plays Gilbert Grape, a young grocery store clerk also serving as family patriarch after his father dies by suicide. He looks after his younger brother, Arnie, who displays signs of autism, and who repeatedly gets into trouble. Gilbert and Arnie’s mother is so overweight that she can’t leave their house, let alone take care of Arnie. Gilbert meets Becky and confides in her, but is their connection enough? Or will life get the best of Gilbert Grape?

All of these titles center around an alpha male who must learn to change for the better, mostly through therapy. All of them must deal with trauma, social reputation, and personal growth through the experience of an inconvenient truth. Regardless, they all have to open up and be willing to change, which is no easy feat considering the social pressure on males to maintain control of their emotions. Watch to find out more!

If you or anyone you know is struggling with a mental health crisis, contact the National Suicide Hotline: 800-273-8255. For IU Mental Health Service options, go to https://go.iu.edu/4hCh.

Student blogger Abby Welch is a junior studying Media and Cinema Arts with a focus in Screenwriting. Her two minors are Spanish and History, and she hopes to be accepted into the 4+1 Masters of Library Sciences Program in spring of 2022. On campus, she is involved in Women in Media and Sigma Kappa. In her sparse spare time, she enjoys reading romance novels, writing and developing screenplays, exploring Bloomington with friends, and trying to convince her picky boyfriend to try new restaurants.

Her favorite thing about working in Media Services is choosing a film to play on the lobby monitor and having patrons sing praises about the selection upon entering!