We rarely bring up the subject of mental health difficulties in our local communities, let alone across the United States. To see how prevalent mental illness is in our culture, all we need to do is watch a movie on the “big screen.” Psychological disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) are well-represented in films.
People with borderline personality disorder may have short-term but severe episodes of despair, anxiety, or rage. These episodes can last anywhere from a few hours to several days at a time. People with the illness typically have a hard time controlling their emotions or recovering quickly from their mood swings.
Mental disease is characterized by a persistent pattern of fluctuating moods, self-image, and behavior, claims the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH).
The prevalence of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) in the United States is believed to be 1.4 percent, however there are many cases that go untreated and are not included in this estimate.
Bipolar illness (BPD) is commonly depicted in dramatic, real-life ways in the movies. These include strained relationships, irrational decisions, and self-destructive behaviors such as substance misuse, hazardous sexual activity, binge eating, and shopping sprees.
Here Are 9 Movies About Borderline Personality Disorder
1. Gia (1998)
In this HBO film, Angelina Jolie portrays Gia Marie Carangi, a pioneering supermodel. Even though Carangi is not diagnosed as having BPD directly, his turbulent life showed many of the telltale indicators, such as sadness, a strong fear of rejection, and an ongoing struggle with substance misuse.
Both Angelina Jolie and Faye Dunaway received Golden Globe nominations for their roles in the film.
2. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
The romantic comedy Silver Linings Playbook, starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, has a star-studded ensemble but is actually about folks dealing with mental health concerns.
After a recent spell in the hospital due to Pat Solano’s mental disorder, Cooper portrays the character. After that, he has a tumultuous romance with Tiffany Maxwell, played by Jennifer Lawrence, who exhibits all of the symptoms of borderline personality disorder.
It’s a comedy/drama film directed by David O. Russell that deals with mental illness. Lawrence won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the film.
3. Thirteen (2003)
Niki Reed wrote part of the screenplay for Thirteen, which is partially based on the year she spent as an adolescent in Los Angeles.
Tracy Freeland, played by Evan Rachel Wood, is a young woman in her junior year of high school when she starts doing drugs, committing crimes, and having sex with boys. BPD sufferers often have chaotic and unstable families, and Tracy’s mother Holly Hunter (who plays Tracy’s mother) is no exception.
The film was directed by Catherine Hardwick and won Hunter an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
4. Welcome to Me (2014)
Kristen Wiig portrays Alice Klieg, a borderline personality disordered woman, in the comedy film Welcome to Me. When Alice wins the lottery, she immediately invests her winnings on a talk show featuring nothing but herself.
An endearing picture, it doesn’t shy away from the illogical worries and desires of the protagonist, or from her hard struggles.
After its release, the film was well-received and has since expanded its audience through streaming services like Netflix and Amazon.
5. Fatal Attraction (1987)
Fatal Attraction, starring Michael Douglas as successful New York attorney Dan Gallagher, is a classic thriller. As Glenn Close’s character, Alex Forrest, portrays, his world is turned upside down when he has an affair with her.
With her great dread of abandonment and rejection and mood swings that erupt into vindictive wrath against Dan and his family, Close’s character displays classic indications of borderline personality disorder.
For two months, the film occupied the top spot in the box office, garnering critical acclaim and six Academy Award nominations.
6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
As Joel Barish and Clem Kruzynski, Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet feature in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a science fiction-based romantic comedy/drama.
The film depicts an alienated couple whose memories of one another have been wiped in a nonlinear form. Clem is depicted as a “free spirit,” however the video clearly shows that she suffers from many of the symptoms of BPD.
The picture, which had an all-star cast, was a critical and commercial success, getting nominations for both the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes. The fact that Jim Carrey began openly revealing his battles with mental health concerns several years later is also interesting.
7. Girl, Interrupted (1999)
Winona Ryder plays Susana Kaysen, a woman hospitalized for borderline personality disorder in the 1960s, in Girl, Interrupted, a psychological drama.
When Angelina Jolie’s character, Kaysen, befriends her, she is easily sucked into a dangerous and chaotic path that both she and Jolie find themselves on.
She must decide whether her association with Jolie’s character would impede her recovery from BPD.
Despite poor reviews upon its initial release, Angelina Jolie was honored with an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for her work in Girl, Interrupted, a film on borderline personality disorder.
8. Frances (1982)
For the film, I was inspired by the real-life story of Frances Farmer, a 1930s actress and television host who struggled with bipolar disorder. The tale revolves around Jessica Lange’s character, Farmer, as she begins to show signs of mental illness and is eventually committed to an institution.
Several reviewers have praised her performance as one of Lange’s best ever, and she was nominated for both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Actress in the process.
9. Prozac Nation (2001)
The film Prozac Nation is based on Elizabeth Wurtzel’s best-selling memoir of the same name.
Christina Ricci portrays Wurtzel, a Harvard student struggling with substance misuse, despair, severe insecurities, and self-destructive conduct in this autobiographical drama.
However, the film debuted to mixed reviews but continues to be a unique example of a writer openly dealing with her own mental health concerns.. After the film’s release, Wurtzel continued to compose. In 2020, she succumbed to the effects of her battle with breast cancer.