Seven Movies About Schizophrenia

Cinema often gives us great opportunities to learn about circumstances that are really different from our own. Here, we're going to discuss seven movies about schizophrenia.
Seven Movies About Schizophrenia

Last update: 10 August, 2023

Of all the psychotic disorders, schizophrenia is generally one of the most limiting. In fact, about 50 percent of sufferers are disabled by this debilitating illness. If you want to know more about it and how it has such devastating effects on a sufferer’s quality of life, we suggest you watch these seven movies about schizophrenia. They’ll certainly make you think.

The characters show clear manifestations of strength and courage in the face of the difficulties they encounter on a daily basis.

1. Benny & Joon (1993)

Benny & Joon is a 1993 American movie starring Johnny Depp and directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik.

Joon is a young woman who, after the death of her parents, begins to experience hallucinations and delusional ideas, living in a totally imaginary universe. Her brother, Benny dedicates himself to taking care of her. The arrival of their eccentric cousin, Sam, causes some problems, but ultimately intensifies the love Benny feels for his sister.

2. A Beautiful Mind (2001)

This is a movie about schizophrenia based on a true story. It portrays the life of John Forbes Nash, a mathematician with paranoid schizophrenia who won a Nobel Prize in 1994.

A study conducted by the Universidad de la Frontera (Chile) in 2016 states that the movie depicts how the American mathematician:

  • Faced complex and confusing situations until he finally recognized that he was suffering from schizophrenia.
  • In the face of difficult medical and family circumstances, he managed his illness and moved on with his life, achieving his dream of being a professor at Princeton University. Finally, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1994.

In short, A Beautiful Mind portrays the evolution of Nash’s disease and how important awareness of this debilitating disease is.

3. Black Swan (2010)

Darren Aronofsky directed this fantastic movie. It follows in the footsteps of a ballerina (played by Natalie Portman), who embarks on a quest for artistic perfection.

However, throughout the plot of Black Swan events occur that make us wonder what’s really happening.

4. The Story of Adèle H, (1975)

This is a classic. The Story of Adèle H is based on the life of Adèle Hugo (one of Victor Hugo’s daughters).

The footage shows us her physical and mental problems, related to her obsessive manner of experiencing unrequited love, a feeling that ends up consuming her.

5. The Saint of Fort Washington (1993)

This movie, directed by Tim Hunter, reflects the friendship between a young man with schizophrenia and a Vietnam War veteran. Their relationship begins when they meet at a homeless shelter.

Somehow, the two find a reflection in each other with which they both identify.

6. Donnie Darko (2001)

This is one of the most outstanding cult movies to date. It was directed by Richard Kelly and depicts, via parallel realities and time travel, the story of a teenager with schizophrenia and sleepwalking tendencies.

While sleepwalking, Donnie meets a monstrous rabbit called Frank. He tells Donny the world will end in 28 days. Frank starts to influence Donny through his sleepwalking episodes and encourages him to behave extremely badly. But are the events real or not? This movie is a mix of a coming-of-age and a science fiction story.

7. K-Pax (2001)

K-Pax portrays the life of Prot, an unknown man who claims to come from a distant planet (K-Pax) to which he wants to return. The information he provides about this planet turns out to be true, although is only known by a few astrophysicists. However, this doesn’t mean that he isn’t suffering from a mental illness.

Prot is admitted to a psychiatric hospital due to his delusional beliefs. He revolutionizes the lives of the rest of the people in the center, as well as the vision his psychiatrist has of life. Throughout the movie, we see the story of Prot unravel. We also learn the reasons behind the fact that his mind has created a parallel story to protect him from what happened on the mysterious date of July 27th.

Without a doubt, K-Pax is a film that makes us reflect. It also shatters many myths about mental illness.

The characters in these movies find it extremely difficult to differentiate what’s real from what isn’t. In fact, the stories allow us to get an idea of the difficulties that people who suffer from this disorder have to face.

All of the movies are part fiction, but there’s also an honest relationship with the complex reality that sufferers of mental illness find themselves facing on a daily basis.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.