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The Beaver Movie Review Paper

By emmagmommy Apr 18, 2013 794 Words
The Beaver: A Depiction of Depression

September 22, 2012

Perpetuates Stigma

Films rarely broach the subject of mental illness, as it relates to families, due to its somber nature. This film, The Beaver (2011) provides the viewer with insight into the topic of mental illness as it identifies the various areas of life affected and the depth of the life altering changes. There has long been a stigma regarding depression. The general public often believes the person suffering from depression is doing so by choice; the person could “snap out of it” if they really wanted to. The general public is often confused about the difference between feeling sad and feeling depressed. The film views the topic of depression outside the boundaries of the typical clinical definition. In this film the character suffering from depression portrays symptoms of mania with an elevated and expansive mood throughout the film. This portrayal misinforms the viewer regarding the characteristics of depression. They are led to believe symptoms of depression are as severe as the symptoms of a person experiencing mania. This misconception could lead the general public into viewing depression more negatively. As a result of the incongruence between the film and the actual manifestations experienced by a person diagnosed with depression, the film perpetuates the negative stigma of depression. Informs Nursing Practice

Mood disorders are prevalent among patients in the healthcare field and nurses must be aware of the common symptoms associated with these disorders in order to better care for patients. Depression, as defined in Townsend (2009), is “An alteration in mood that is expressed by feelings of sadness, despair, and pessimism. There is a loss of interest in usual activities and changes in appetite and sleep patterns are common” (p. 520). Although this film does not correctly recognize the true definition of depression, it brings about the reality that mood disorders can be life altering for all parties involved and that treatment should be sought in order to control the symptoms and their manifestations. Oftentimes, these patients are in a state of desperation, and although their disease is not tangible, it is life threatening in some cases. As a nurse, when caring for a patient suffering from depression interventions must be directed towards helping and educating the patient and family about the signs and symptoms of depression. Additionally, patients must be taught coping skills and strategies to address and prevent the onset of depression. The prompt intervention by patient and family will ensure appropriate treatment to avoid further patient decline. Film Portrayal of Depression

This film appears to portray depression inaccurately. In this film, Walter is portrayed as a profoundly depressed man on the brink of suicide. He is losing his career and family as a result of his depression. Walter finds another, more perverse, alter ego through the use of a beaver puppet. This beaver takes on a life of its’ own; one that Walter is unable to control. Throughout the film, the “depressive” character suffers from grandiose delusions, engages in risky behaviors, and feels invincible. The symptoms presented are incongruent with the aforementioned definition in Townsend (2009), but are more indicative of the symptoms of mania. Preparation for Class and Clinical

The DSM-IV-TR is a “Standard nomenclature of emotional illness published by the American Psychiatric Association. It classifies mental illness and presents guidelines and diagnostic criteria for various mental disorders”(Townsend, 2009, p. 854). In the film, Walter suffers from cycling feelings of worthlessness and thoughts of suicide as well as hyperactivity, rapid speech, and reckless behaviors. The characterization of bipolar one disorder is more consistent with the symptoms depicted in the film. Evaluation and Recommendation

The 2011 film, The Beaver, does not accurately depict the symptoms of depression and provides the viewer with a misguided belief regarding depression. Although I am aware of the symptoms of depression, I was left wondering if the film was accurate and my belief was inaccurate. After researching the symptoms portrayed in the film, I believe Walter was suffering from bipolar one disorder. In my opinion, those viewing the film whom are unfamiliar with the symptoms of depression, will be mislead.

I would not recommend this film. It is difficult to watch because of the somber nature of the topic. Overall, it gives an inaccurate depiction of depression and the characteristics of this disease. This inaccuracy definitely perpetuates the stigma attached to depression.

American Psychiatric Association. (2012). DSM-IV-TR. Retrieved from Golin, S. (Producer), Killen, K. (Writer), & Foster, J. (Director). (2011). The  Beaver [Motion Picture]. United States of America.

Townsend, M. (2009). Psychiatric Mental health nursing: Concepts of care in evidence-based practice. (6th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company.

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