One in seventeen people in America live with a serious mental illnesses. The film industry, for a very long time, has been obsessed with movies about the supernatural and evil, and have in the process managed to commodify people with mental illness. Paranormal Activity 1, 2, and 3, Jennifer’s Body, Orphan, Push and Minority Report, just to name a few, are all movies that in one way or another objectify people with a mental illness and the traits pertaining to it. Take the movie Push for example, it objectifies the traits of a mental disorder known as psychosis. It is a very serious mental disorder, and sickeningly common, effecting every three in one-hundred people. Psychosis effects the way that a person experiences and reacts to emotions, and can cause people to feel pain that is not there and not being inflicted on them. This same trait is present in one of the main characters in Push, who is a “watcher.” She has the ability to see things before they happen and feel others’ pain. The movie Push made $44,411,527 at the box office and $16,878,589 in DVD sales, while in the past few years over a billion dollars has been cut from mental health services. I believe that the film industry should not be objectifying and commodifying people with mental illnesses and their traits at the same place time that the government is cutting massive amounts of funding for programs that would actually help real people who are currently suffering from these disorders and their effects.
Four of the most serious and most diagnosable mental disorders, are also some of the ones that get used the most in movies. These four disorders are: depersonalization disorder, psychosis, identity disorder and OCD. One percent of the population of America suffers from depersonalization disorder. This state causes a person to experience periods of detachment from one’s self or one’s surroundings, it often leads to not recalling memories, or having thoughts of something suddenly and not remembering the origin of that thought. It also causes people to have thoughts that arise from experiences that are “unreal” and to feel that they lack inner and outer control of themselves. Psychosis is found in three out of every hundred people in the United States. People who suffer from psychosis experience a loss of contact with reality, usually including false beliefs about what is taking place or who one is (delusions) and seeing or hearing things that aren't there (hallucinations). Many times people who suffer from this, experience “visions” in which they see scenes of something happening. Or they experience kinesthetic hallucinations which is where they feel pain that is not actually being inflicted. Two point six percent of the population suffers from identity disorder. When affected by this disorder, people basically have two personalities. They have one personality that is their actual personality and another personality which can often be harmful and that they do not remember having. Finally, around three point three million people in the United States suffer from OCD. While many people may think they know the basic symptoms of OCD, an overlooked symptom of OCD is obsessive thoughts. These thoughts are usually violent and have to do with the injuring or the harming of a loved one. Most people with OCD experience this to some degree and it is a very scary experience. Now let’s look at the references to these disorders in film, on more of a case by case basis.
The movie Inception is about a man who is an “extractor,” which means he can take ideas from people’s heads while they sleep. He is given a chance to do an “inception,” which is the planting of an idea, and he does it for a reward. This movie suggests that the brain is something that can be easily manipulated and have things planted in it so firmly that one might not even remember where it came from. The very idea behind this movie feeds off of the symptoms associated with depersonalization disorder as...
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