I will admit that I was a little bit uncomfortable watching this film, and if I’m entirely honest I was little bit bored by the plot. Then again I’m not interested in American Football, gambling or ballroom dancing. I wanted to watch it though is to see how it portrayed mental health and it was this issue that made me sit and watch it to the end.
I think it was uncomfortable to watch because of the writing and the acting, especially by Bradley Cooper. I know Jennifer Lawrence received an Academy Award for her role, but it was Cooper that resonated with me more. I think it was the obsession, the mood swings, and the general feeling of frustration he felt about people not understanding him that captivated me.
As someone who’s only really self-identified with having problems with depression and anxiety in the last year or so, seeing someone on screen go through the torment that mental illness can be like and the slow acceptance of coming up with a strategy to deal with it was refreshing. It wasn’t sugar -coated – it was nitty and gritty, and as realistic as I think could be managed on screen.
I think such portrayals are necessary as it will help more people to understand the trauma that people who have mental illness can go through and also see how others react to them. The less sugar-coating we have on the subject, and the more than realistic portrayals are seen, then the stigma of mental illness can be lifted quicker and properly supported recovery can become a reality for more people who are suffering.