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Mental Health

5 Oscar-Nominated Movies That Explore Mental Health Disorders

Samya Ghosal

Movies can prove to be a thought-provoking medium for the depiction of mental health.

For those living with mental health issues or those who wish to understand these conditions better, movies can prove to be an insightful and thought-provoking medium for the subject. Not only this, but an accurate and moving depiction of living with mental health conditions can be a source of hope and something that such patients can connect with.

While there are several bad movies that are filled with over-exaggerations and harmful stereotypes, Hollywood has provided us with beautiful examples that depict conditions like OCD, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and other mental health issues.

Mentioned below are some examples of amazing oscar-nominated movies with heart-moving depictions of mental health issues-

Silver Linings Playbook

No list about mental health in movies is complete without the mention of Silver Linings Playbook. A movie about a man dealing with bipolar disorder as he fights to regain normalcy and his relationship with his estranged wife will surely touch your heart. The film does an excellent job of showing manic depression or bipolar disorder in a person who in general is very bright and active.

Still Alice

This is a heart-wrenching depiction of a lively and energetic, 50-years old linguistic professor and her descent into Alzheimer’s. As the movie progresses, the lead played by the highly-talented Julianne Moore, goes from being an intelligent, confident and powerful woman to a scared and confused patient. Her journey into the illness takes place alongside her family of 3 kids and a husband, who struggle with adjusting to her condition.

Coming Home

This depiction of a war veteran suffering from PTSD and paralysis changed the way people looked at these patients. This movie doesn’t shy away from showing the real physical and emotional challenges of dealing with these conditions and maintaining healthy relationships. John Vought won the Oscar for the best actor and quite understandably so.


Directed by the legendary Ingmar Bergman, this movie popularized the use of the term “gaslighting” which means “a verbal or behavioural tactic where one tries to gain power or the upper hand by manipulating the victim into questioning their reality”. It is a common tactic used by emotional abusers, dictators, cult leaders, and toxic narcissists. One can understand the lasting contribution this movie had in the realm of mental health by looking at the popularity of the term- gaslighting.


Joaquin Phoenix has been nominated in the category of best actor for the Oscars this year, for his portrayal of the Joker. This movie has also sparked numerous conversations on mental health and the stigma associated with it. With a powerful and emotional performance by Phoenix, this movie perfectly captures what it feels like to suffer alone with mental health problems and how such patients face constant stigma from society in their everyday lives.


It is natural for people to see themselves in the characters portrayed in cinema and the portrayal of mental health conditions in movies allows patients to relate and seek inspiration. Cinema has not only made people more aware of these conditions but it has also attempted to change the attitude of society towards these conditions. People with mental health problems need our understanding and support.

If you know someone who is struggling with such issues then don’t hesitate to show your support or help them seek medical care.

Have we missed out on any prominent movies depicting mental health disorders? Do let us know in the comment section below.

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