There are few better contemporary modalities for studying psychology and the tender threads of relationship than film. When I finished my graduate counseling studies, I made a solemn promise to myself that I would be a life-long learner on a syllabus of my own choosing, and that choice includes a steady diet of film.
While the following is not a guide to film, it’s an archive of my favorite films that speak to my generation through dark comedy, painful drama, and poignant representation of the world not so much discovered but revealed through our choices. The list is being built slowly over time. Please bear with me as I add films and their trailers.
Films (in no particular order)
Dirty Filthy Love (2004). Directed by Adrian Shergold. A man’s life falls apart after his marriage comes to an end. As anxiety sets in, he finds he can no longer cope. He joins an unusual self-help group, and finds love, solace, shared misery, and hope.
Secretary (2002) Directed by Steven Shainberg. A woman with self harm rituals finds employment with a lawyer who likes dom-submissives. Together they reveal to one another their need for connection and relationship that free her from her self-destructive patterns.
Lars And The Real Girl (2007). Directed by Lars Gillespie. Lars recreates a world of idealized love, warmth, loss, and abandonment that he experienced in his childhood with the death of his mother at childbirth and the isolation of his father. Purchasing a “live doll”, Lars inspires the entire town to care for Bianca as a way to reach him. The psychiatrist plays a pivotal role in integrating Lars’ behavior instead of medicating and “fixing” him.
Robert Ebert gave this movie 4.5/5 stars for its ability to balance Lars’ portrayal without being “too morose, too strange, too opaque, too earnest.”
Crooked Beauty (2010)
A Film by Ken Paul Rosenthal.Mr. Rosenthal’s mental health films are now a Kickstarter campaign. I hope you’ll support it by taking a look at this Youtube video.
A Taxing Woman
The Stoning of Saraya M.
The Mirror Has Two Faces