In honor of National Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month in June, we’ve selected a few PTSD-themed films that provide insight into what it’s like to cope with the effects of a traumatic event.
A century ago, academics and observers of the human condition became aware of the long-term effects of trauma on a person’s psychological health.
No earlier than 1980 was Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) officially recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) as a distinct diagnosis (DSM-5).
Many people think of PTSD as a condition that only affects returning military personnel, but the reality is that anyone who has been through or witnessed a traumatic event, such as sexual or physical abuse, domestic violence, a terrible car accident, or the loss of a loved one, can suffer from the debilitating symptoms.
In order to raise awareness of this condition, educate our communities, and give services for this treatable mental illness, PTSD Awareness Month is organized by the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA).
Here are 8 Movies About PTSD
1. Mystic River (2003)
Mystic River, a Clint Eastwood-directed PTSD film based on Dennis Lehane’s novel of the same name, stars Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, and Kevin Bacon.
There are growing suspicions in this Boston town that longtime friend Dave (Tim Robbins) is the killer after Jimmy’s daughter was murdered.
He was kidnapped and sexually assaulted as a child and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result.
2. The Deer Hunter (1978)
The Deer Hunter, starring Christopher Walken and Robert DeNiro, is one of the most well-known films about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The plot thickens as they try to flee, but they are soon separated. They are able to escape.
This suspenseful picture, winner of five Academy Awards, has stood the test of time.
3. The Hurt Locker (2009)
Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner), a bomb-defusing specialist, is the star of the film, which takes place during the Iraq War.
Even though Sgt. James is unable to function in the United States with his wife and child, it soon becomes apparent that he thrives on taking wartime risks, even ones that put his fellow troops at peril.
The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow’s film, won the Best Picture and Best Actor Oscars.
4. Iron Man 3 (2013)
Even in the Marvel Universe, PTSD has made an appearance. After saving Earth from an extraterrestrial invasion, Tony Stark, the billionaire portrayed by Robert Downey Jr., begins to experience flashbacks and panic attacks.
By spending more time constructing stronger Iron Man suits, Stark has become more isolated from the rest of the world.
Pepper Potts, played by Gwenyth Paltrow, suffers from his mental and physical seclusion, and he now has to discover and hunt down a terrorist known as The Mandarin.
5. A Private War (2018)
Marie Colvin, a prominent war correspondent who has been diagnosed with PTSD, is the subject of this film, which is based on a true story.
Rosamund Pike plays Colvin, a woman who can’t seem to stay away from pursuing deadly situations in order to provide a voice to those who are being oppressed by warlords.
It was produced in part by Charlize Theron, who has spoken openly about her own experiences with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
6. Room (2015)
Brie Larson portrays Joy Newsome, a woman imprisoned in a small shed for seven years and exposed to sexual brutality as she tries to free herself and her newborn boy.
A new chapter of her life opens up for her and Jacob Tremblay’s Jack, depicted by the actor, when they are freed.
To prepare for her Academy Award-winning part in Room, Larson worked with a trauma specialist.
7. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
Charlie is in the hospital with flashbacks and clinical depression after his aunt dies in a horrible automobile accident.
As soon as he’s free, he’s worried about his high school freshman year.
Emma Watson’s Sam and Patrick, Charlie’s stepbrother, become his closest friends as they deal with their own personal tragedies.
Throughout the course of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Charlie discovers that his story has much more to it than he originally assumed.
8. I, Tonya (2018)
When Tonya Harding’s involvement in the attack on fellow Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was revealed, I, Tonya was based on the real-life drama of her involvement in the attack on Kerrigan’s fellow skater.
A person who has been subjected to abuse and suffering on a regular basis, like Harding (Margot Robbie) shows many of the signs and characteristics associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Robbie received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for her performance in this remarkable picture.
Final Thoughts on Movies About PTSD
It can be exceedingly tough for those who suffer from PTSD, as well as those who care for them.
In the absence of personal experience with trauma, it is impossible for others to comprehend what it is like to live with it on a day-to-day basis.
Films about trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may be able to provide light on the mental health challenges that survivors face.
Some of the world’s most well-known personalities have spoken out about their own personal experiences of suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
It’s National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month in June, and it’s an excellent time to learn more about this mental health condition and the treatment options available to people who need them.