Last week, our top ten list featured ten films that give the audience a unique perspective on living with physical disability. But not every disability has its origin in the body. Mental and behavioral disabilities can create significant challenges for individuals and families as well.These ten films explore the trials and challenges inherent in living with disabilities that seem to originate in the mind.
Adam: Adam is a handsome but intriguing young man who has Asperger’s syndrome and has led a sheltered existence. Then he meets his new neighbor, Beth. She is a beautiful, cosmopolitan young woman who pulls him into the outside world, with funny, touching and entirely unexpected results. Their implausible and enigmatic relationship reveals just how far two people from different realities can stretch in search of an extraordinary connection.
The Piano: A woman who refuses to speak, her piano, and her daughter are sent to New Zealand for an arranged marriage.
I am Sam: Sam Dawson has the mental capacity of a 7-year-old. He works at a Starbucks and is obsessed with the Beatles. He has a daughter with a homeless woman; she
m as soon as they leave the hospital. He names his daughter Lucy Diamond (after the Beatles song), and raises her. But as she reaches age 7 herself, Sam’s limitations start to become a problem at school; she’s intentionally holding back to avoid looking smarter than him. The authorities take her away, and Sam shames high-priced lawyer Rita Harrison into taking his case pro-bono. In the process, he teaches her a great deal about love, and whether it’s really all you need.
Shine: A dramatization of the true story of David Helfgott, a young man who defied his father’s wishes in order to pursue a career as a pianist.
Benny and Joon: A unique romantic comedy about a smart and pretty young girl who just happens to be a little unbalanced and a whimsical misfit who charms her with his Buster Keaton/Charlie Chaplin-like antics.
As Good as it Gets: A single mother/waitress, a cranky and bigoted, obsessive-compulsive writer and a gay artist form an unlikely friendship.
A Beautiful Mind: Chronicles the life of mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr., and discusses his contributions to the study of economics, his illegitimate child, his bouts with schizophrenia, and his Nobel Prize-winning theories.
Girl, Interrupted:The true story of a young woman’s life-altering stay at a famous psychiatric hospital in the turbulent late 1960s
Away from Her: Fiona and Grant are an Ontario couple who have been married for over 40 years. During the twilight of their years, Grant is forced to face the fact that Fiona’s ‘forgetfulness’ actually is Alzheimer’s. After Fiona wanders away and is found, the decision is made for her to go into a nursing home. For the first time in their relationship, they are forced to undergo a separation since this is the nursing home ‘no-visitors,’ first 30 days policy of a patient’s stay. When Grant visits Fiona after the orientation period, he is devastated to find out that not only has she seemingly forgotten him, but she has transferred her affections to another man. As the distance between husband and wife grows, Grant must draw upon his love for Fiona to perform an act of self-sacrifice in order to ensure her happiness.
Birdman: A black comedy story of an actor famous for portraying an iconic superhero as he struggles to mount a Broadway play. In the days leading up to opening night, he battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career, and himself.
Lars and the Real Girl: Lars is a sweet but quirky guy who thinks he’s found the girl of his dreams in a life-sized doll named Bianca. He is content with his artificial girlfriend until he develops feelings for Margo, an attractive co-worker. Now Lars finds himself in a unique love triangle, hoping to somehow discover the real meaning of true love.