On movies, mental health and Roger Ebert
Popular film critic Roger Ebert died in April after a long struggle with cancer. He was 70 years old. Ebert was an intelligent, entertaining, and Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic, with a passion for his craft. Over the course of his career, Ebert presented thousands of movie reviews. He published over 300 in 2012 alone. One of the films he reviewed in 2012 was the Academy Award-winning film, Silver Linings Playbook.
Many people connected with mental health are fans of this movie, and multiple mental health organizations have written about the impact of the film on mental health and people with mental health conditions. Ebert wrote from a different perspective.
Ebert had been quoted earlier saying, “No good film is too long and no bad movie is short enough.” He had good things to say about this film. In his review of Silver Linings Playbook Ebert notes:
“One of the ingenious and sort of brave accomplishments of Russell’s screenplay (inspired by a novel by Matthew Quick) is the way it requires both father and son to face and deal with their mental problems and against all odds finds a way to do that through both an Eagles game and a dance contest. We’re fully aware of the plot conventions at work here, the wheels and gears churning within the machinery, but with these actors, this velocity and the oblique economy of the dialogue, we realize we don’t often see it done this well. ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ is so good, it could almost be a terrific old classic.”
Some of the words he uses may not be the way we would describe mental health matters, but what Roger Ebert, and many others have done, is endorse the impact of the film. People not connected with mental health got, and continue to get, a glimpse into the real impact of mental health on families. And whether or not you agree with how this is presented in the film, it does provide people with an opportunity to discuss the real effects. This kind of talk is a good thing. And certainly worthy of a “Thumbs up.”