Childhood Trauma & Mental Health: 10 Films

Marriage Story: BRWC LFF Review

Childhood Trauma & Mental Health: 10 Films – In celebration of the deeply personal, autobiographical new documentary Your Mum and Dad (out 26th April),from European Academy Award Nominee Klaartje Quirjins and the director of ‘Anton Corbijn Inside Out, we take a look at some of the key films and TV series that explore grief, mental health and childhood trauma on screen, in an extremely honest, empathetic and representative manner.

1.      Your Mum and Dad

YOUR MUM AND DAD is in UK cinemas and Curzon Home Cinema from 26 April

In an extremely honest, introspective presentation of her own life, Klaartje Quirjins explores how therapy, and the documentary form can attempt to remedy tragic loss, revealing the privacy of trauma and the universal pain of grief. Using her own cinematic lens and expertise, Klaartje takes an incredibly brave stance in interviewing her own family about the struggles of their past. Inspired by the Philip Larkin poem, ‘This be the verse,’ Quirjins delivers a masterwork in the presentation of intergenerational and family trauma and how the process of therapy can mend these painful wounds.

2.      Waves (2019) Trey Edward Shults

The familial bonds of a family are tested to the extremities by an unexpected tragic loss. A narrative that deals with themes of grief, childhood abuse and an authoritarian father, who treads a fine line between supporting and oppressing his children. Wavestakes a contemplative dive into the strains and intricacies of growing up in a ruinous world. Taking both a male and female perspective, formally introduced by a change in aspect ratio, Wavesreveals both gendered sides of a brother and his younger sister’s relationship to the world and the difficulty of growing up.

3.      Out of the Blue (1980) Dennis Hopper

With its recent BFI Restoration, Dennis Hopper’s Out of the Blue, portrays the tragedy of a young girl growing up with two abusive parents. In a tremendously, emotionally driven narrative Linda Manz, a young girl obsessed by Elvis Presley and punk rock music, struggles to find a place belong whilst enduring the hostilities of her father, an ex-convict, played by Hopper himself who is an alcoholic and her mother Kathy played by Sharon Farrell, who has an addiction to heroin. Out of the Bluechallenges pre-existing notions of childhood by realistically portraying the hostile environment of growing up in an abusive household.

4.      Patrick Melrose (2018) Edward Berger

A 5-Part cinematic television show, that empathetically places itself in the shoes of Patrick Melrose, a man with a past blighted by the trauma of childhood, sexual abuse. As Patrick seeks to overcome his alcoholism and drug addiction, alongside his father’s death, the ghosts of his past still haunt his every move. Lead astonishingly by the chameleonic Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick Melrose seeks to provide healing to the wounds of the past, through therapy and familial relationships.

5.      Good Will Hunting (1997) Gus Van Sant

In the safe environment of psychotherapist, Robin Williams’, therapy sessions,Will Hunting, played by Matt Damon, carefullyopens the conversation of childhood abuse, giving a voice to those who were told to keep quiet. Good Will Hunting exposes the harrowing difficulties of abuse and coping with grief, permanently keeping its name in cinematic history as one of most caring, yet quietly devastating works in the mainstream realm of cinema.

6.      Big Little Lies (2017-19) David E.Kelly

Big Little Lies follows the lives of Madeline, Celeste and Jane who are a trio of young women that live in Monterey, California. Their lives, and the lives of their individual families, are shattered at the scene of a horrific murder. Big Little Lies reveals the troubles of broken relationships and the on-set difficulties of raising children in hostile environments.

7.      Marriage Story (2019) Noah Baumbach

Noah Baumbach’s gruelling feature starring Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson follows the intricacies of a coast-to-coast divorce between a stage director and his actress wife that pushes them, as well as their child to their individual, personal extremes.

8.      Magnolia (1999) Paul Thomas Anderson

Paul Thomas Anderson’s epic Los Angeles odyssey chronicles the troubled lives of an array of protagonists who have dysfunctional families. The feature dives into the complexities of mental health, therapy, drug and alcohol addiction and the struggle of being a child growing up in an environment that is oppressive and lacking attachment.

9.      Tokyo Story (1953) Yasujirō Ozu

Yasujirō Ozu’s familial tale of ungrateful children who choose to not spend time with their parents is both full of boundless joy and endless grief. Left to Noriko, the widow of their younger son, to keep her in-laws company Tokyo Story explores the meta-physiological of what it means to be a parent and a child.

10.   Honey Boy (2019) Alma Har’el

Lastly, Honey Boy in an autobiographical study on abusive fathers, therapy and alcoholism Shia LaBeouf collaborates with Alma Har’el and plays his own father. Honey Boy tells the story of Otis Lort, an alcoholic actor, who is charged with assaulting an officer whilst under the influence and is sent to rehabilitation. There, he learns to reconcile and understand his traumatic past and childhood.Top Ten Films that Explore Mental Health and Childhood Trauma 

We hope you're enjoying BRWC. You should check us out on our social channels, subscribe to our newsletter, and tell your friends. BRWC is short for battleroyalewithcheese.

Trending on BRWC:

Dune Part 2: Another Review

Dune Part 2: Another Review

By BRWC / 18th March 2024
Madu: Review

Madu: Review

By BRWC / 25th March 2024 / 1 Comment
Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire - The BRWC Review

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire – The BRWC Review

By BRWC / 22nd March 2024
Immaculate: The BRWC Review

Immaculate: The BRWC Review

By BRWC / 24th March 2024
Tim Travers & The Time Travelers Paradox: Review

Tim Travers & The Time Travelers Paradox: Review

By BRWC / 19th March 2024

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.