Hollywood gets on board
Silver Linings Playbook was an ode to the director’s eighteen year old son Matthew who has bipolar disorder. He decided to do the movie so his son would not feel so alone and I look forward to seeing it. Given his son has the disorder, I think we have a chance, finally, for an accurate depiction of our illness. Hollywood is getting on board at last. Sure, they’ve all touched on depression but anyone can do that safely. Bipolar disorder takes balls and someone out there had a heart to the cause and took a stand choosing our mental illness. Thank you, David O’Russell for your movie. I expect when I see it this week that it will ring true of a realistic portrait of our disorder. I don’t know how to reach him, but perhaps I could mail a copy of my book to the director if I approve.
Either way, we are finally getting some press. And not the typical, someone has shot someone else and they MUST be mentally ill. Don’t get me started on that. Tonight’s post is not going to touch this subject. In honor of the SAG Awards, I’ll stick to entertainment, thank you.
Back to the arts…
Don’t get me wrong, Silver Linings Playbook is not the first. There was Michael Clayton, the actor’s name eludes me at this hour. Also, I believe much earlier than that They Call Me Anna paved the way. I remember I went alone to see Michael Clayton and it definitely rattled me for good and bad reasons.
First, the lead character was in an extreme manic state and I, even having been manic myself found it a bit off. I haven’t seen myself on the outside looking in like a movie while extremely manic, so it’s hard to gage.
Naturally, we bipolarians are the toughest critics. I liken it to if someone is battling cancer, they damn well want to see it depicted properly. And let’s face it, mental illness is especially delicate because they are talking about our minds. You better do it right when you are tackling someone else’s sanity or at times, lack thereof. Delicate stuff and I wish they did it better, just like ourselves, though, there is always room for improvement and no one, no thing and certainly no movie is perfect.
Roughly five years ago, we had our first bipolar main character emerge in the theater in Next To Normal. I used to work smack in the middle of the theater district in NYC in my early twenties but have since been rather disconnected from it. Despite my proximity to the city, I haven’t had the funds or gumption to pay attention while in my writing bubble of a world. So this factoid was told to me as I was preparing query letters but a friend in the publishing industry as a positive point to make regarding my book’s popularity. I thought: ‘Wow, a main character. Now that is progressive and it’s about time!’ Hmmm, bipolar had hit the stage and I was thrilled! We were infultrating and people were paying for this entertainment. I wish I had seen that play; however my timing was off. Precisely when I had the money and time, it was closing that week and I lost my opportunity.
From the stage to television, I’m happy to report last year Showtime’s Homeland marks the first time, I’m quite sure, we have seen a main character with bipolar disorder on tv. I was elated to hear Claire Danes was the one to play her too, though I realize it all depends upon the script. Without having Showtime, I had to wait until I subscribed to assess the reality of her character depiction. I’ve only caught a few episodes but from what I’ve seen, they bring the issues of medication and sleep to the forefront. I see her taking meds and missing sleep. I realize their job is not to educate, but am happy she at least is seen taking medication. To me, it’s a no brainer to take a medication that solves a chemical imbalance. But there are people out there that disagree and I respect decision of others to do what they will. Congrats to her for winning yet another award tonight on the SAGs. After seeing a few episodes (gosh, I remember when that word was nails on a chalkboard in our house) being a great actress certainly helps us.
All in all I’m pleased with the direction we’re going. Tonight, I will rest well. And I look forward to going to see the movie.
I only wish tomorrow I wasn’t attending yet another funeral. Another suicide. This makes number three in five years. Although they weren’t a friend and I am going for support, I am tired of funerals. I am tired of suicide but grateful I survived.
Many are not so lucky.