I’d heard so much negative buzz about The Beaver (starring Mel Gibson and directed by Jodie Foster) that I stayed away from my local movie theater despite the film’s interesting psychological subject matter. This past week, I finally saw it on DVD and was surprised to find myself appreciating it much more than I’d expected.
While there’s some truth to the criticism I’ve heard, The Beaver tackles a difficult subject — suicidal depression — with psychological insight and emotional honesty. It scorns the simplistic answers offered by pop psychology and rejects the widely propagated medical lie that depression results from a chemical imbalance in the brain. The film doesn’t really try to explain depression (although it offers some interesting hints as to its origins), or offer a solution that leads to the happy ending. Instead, it explores a peculiar form of splitting, a desperate attempt to “cure” depression when all else fails.
Announcing a new YouTube channel. The first video uses the film “Limitless” with Bradley Cooper to illustrate the process of manic flight in bipolar disorder.
The film ‘Limitless’ (2010) with Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish and Robert DeNiro, begins with a revealing portrayal of shame and self-loathing in depression, followed by the manic escape into omnipotence of thought that characterizes bipolar disorder, but winds up as a bland thriller and a familiar cautionary tale about the dangers of drug addiction.
A discussion of Charlie Sheen’s recent interviews and how his manic behavior reflect defenses against intolerable shame.