Psych Central

Movie Review Articles

Movie Review: Frankie & Alice

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

Movie Review: Frankie & Alice

It’s been 57 years since The Three Faces of Eve premiered in move theaters. One of the first cinematic portrayals of serious mental illness, the movie starred Joanne Woodward. She would end up winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance portraying three different personalities in one individual in the film.

Enter Halle Berry and her performance in Frankie and Alice. Although first released to very limited audience in 2010, it garnered Berry a Golden Globe nomination in 2011 for her lead role in the film. In it, she portrays Frankie, a go-go dancer in the 1970s who experiences blackouts she can’t explain.

Finally released more generally this past week, it’s an interesting and engaging addition to the film category of movies portraying multiple personalities.

Why Are We Drawn to Horror Films?

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

Why Are We Drawn to Horror Films?My relationship with horror films is one massive contradiction. On the one hand, I can’t peel my eyes away from the screen. On the other hand, I know that I’m surely going to be spooked in the aftermath (the more paranormal content, the creepier it is). And yet, I’m drawn to frightening movies anyway, in dark rooms and late at night. (Go big or go home, right?)

“Lauren, why do you do that to yourself?” family members ask, after it’s apparent that my vivid, disturbing dreams are probably a byproduct of the storylines I watched before sleep: John Cusack spends the night in a haunted hotel room and loses his mind. He escapes the room, physically, but does he ever really leave? The spirit of a murder victim lingers around the Yankee Peddler Inn — she’s seeking vengeance. Religion turns dark and exorcisms occur. Ouija boards just encompass freakiness.

Why are we so drawn to things that scare us?

When You’re Running Toward Something

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

When You're Running Toward SomethingI had run for three years, two months, 14 days and 16 hours.
~ Forrest Gump

Apparently, I’m a bit behind on the Forrest Gump bandwagon. After viewing the film in its entirety recently, I knew I had to flesh out a concept that was thematically addressed throughout — running. Whenever I think of ‘running’ from a psychological standpoint, I conjure up images of people trying to escape life, avoid their problems and mentally recharge elsewhere, without coping effectively.

However, when I saw Forrest run (“Run Forrest run” is the famous line), I gathered that he wasn’t running away — he was running toward something. In fact, maybe the notion of chasing your dreams isn’t such a cliché after all.

A Few Valuable Life Lessons from ‘Pocahontas’

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

A Few Valuable Life Lessons from 'Pocahontas'Can you sing with all the voices of the …

Become Your Own Superhero!

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Become Your Own Superhero!I was giddy like a schoolgirl at a Justin Bieber concert when I went to see the movie ‘Man of Steel’ the other day. You see, I’m a big fan of Superman and this was the movie I’d been waiting for all year. (Thankfully, the film was great and I loved it.)

It also got me thinking about what we, as mortal humans, can learn from the life journey of Superman to help us become our own superhero. Clearly, I’m not suggesting that you go out and get yourself bitten by a radioactive spider or spend millions on a cool black suit with a utility belt to become a superhero; no, nothing like that.

What I’m suggesting is that there are many moral dilemmas which Superman faces that we can learn from.

The Value of a Romance Movie

Monday, April 8th, 2013

The Value of a Romance Movie“No matter how many years go by, I’ll know one thing to be as true as ever was.”
~ Dear John

If I got paid for every time I tried to convince someone to watch Dear John, I’d probably have quite the sum of money. Honestly, all it takes is hearing the theme by Deborah Lurie, and my emotional state heightens at the possibility of something great, even with the lingering undertones of hurt and heartache.

Whether it’s Dear John, The Notebook, or other romantic flicks that require Kleenex, I appreciate films that showcase what many deem as “unrealistic” narratives.

Oscar-Winner Jennifer Lawrence Speaks Up for Mental Health

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Oscar-Winner Jennifer Lawrence Speaks Up for Mental HealthYou may have missed the Oscars on Sunday night, but you surely haven’t missed all the talk about them since their aired.

One of the things you may have also missed, though, was Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence speaking about mental illness and the stigma and prejudice that still surround people with a mental health concern.

In the movie she won the Best Actress Oscar for, Lawrence plays a character who befriends Bradley Cooper’s character, who has bipolar disorder. Her performance is simply wondrous, and given her age at the time of the filming — just 21 — also quite extraordinary.

“I think that there’s such a huge stigma over it [mental illness], that I hope we can get rid of, or help… I mean, people have diabetes or asthma and they have to take medication for it. But as soon as you have to take medication for your mind, there’s this instant stigma. Hopefully we’ve given those people hope, and made people realize that it’s not–”

Click through to watch the interview…

Lincoln: An Oscar-Deserving Story of Hope

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Lincoln: An Oscar-Deserving Story of Hope The 2012 American historical drama film “Lincoln”, directed and produced by Steven Spielberg and starring Daniel Day-Lewis, has been nominated for seven Golden Globe Awards and twelve Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor. The movie was meticulously done and succeeded in capturing Lincoln’s enigmatic, complex, and charming self.

However, it wasn’t the great acting or directing that had me so glued to the screen that I was afraid to reach for popcorn.

Lincoln has been my mental health hero ever since Joshua Wolf Shenk, who has since become a friend of mine, published his acclaimed book, “Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness.” Shenk took seven years to research and write the masterpiece, and it gained attention right as I had graduated from one psych ward unit and was going into another one.

History of Psychology Round-Up: From The Wolf Man To Prozac

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

History of Psychology Round-Up: From The Wolf Man To ProzacWhile researching the history of psychology, I come across a lot of interesting information. Every month I share five pieces, podcasts or videos that you might find fascinating, too.

Last month we talked about Alan Turing, Carl Jung and the famous Robbers Cave Experiment.

This month we’ve got quite the array of topics and in various mediums, including a podcast and a few videos. You’ll learn about the first sport psychologist, the infamous Wolf Man, the history of treating depression, mental asylums and a recent film featuring psychology’s masterminds.

Review of Jung vs. Freud in A Dangerous Method

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

Review of Jung vs. Freud in A Dangerous MethodA Dangerous Method, the new David Cronenberg movie — based upon the 2002 Christopher Hampton stage play entitled, The Talking Cure, (which in turn was based on the 1993 non-fiction book by John Kerr, A Most Dangerous Method) — is not only about the relationships you see on the screen between Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud and Sabina Spielrein, but a breathtaking metaphor for Freud’s depiction of the mind.

A successful effort on a multitude of layers, the movie offers us a rollercoaster ride in a car filled with a motley group of historical characters in psychology and psychoanalysis. The movie depicts the life of Jung and Freud’s relationship from the time they first met in 1907 until their professional relationship collapses in 1913 — a short 6 years. I saw a screening of the movie earlier this month.

But it would be wrong to characterize this as a story only about Jung and Freud’s relationship. Instead, it’s a larger-than-life tale about the first days of psychoanalysis and Jung’s career, set against the backdrop of pre-war Europe, artfully relayed on many different levels.

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