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Mental Disorders in Popular Film


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Table of Contents

1. Gender and Reality in Fight Club and Black Swan 2. Villainizing and Psychopaths in The Dark Knight and The Silence of the Lambs 3. Cognitive Theory and Autism in Rain Man and Mary and Max 4. Disability Theory and Race in Radio and The Soloist 5. Institutionalization and Gaslighting in Girl Interrupted and 12 Monkeys

About the Author

Erin Heath is associate professor in the School of Languages and Literature at Wayland Baptist University.


Heath brings an engaging style to dense theoretical material and complicated films. Working with classics of disability in cinema, such as Rainman, as well as more recent popular films, such as Black Swan and Batman Begins, Heath delves into the ways that disability is portrayed and how it is used cinematically to tell particular stories. This highly teachable book offers more contemporary texts and a focus on mental disorders, making it a necessary update to the canon of disability within film and media studies. -- Elizabeth Ellcessor, University of Viriginia
Erin Heath draws fascinating and sometimes startling lines of connection between thematic elements of every film she analyzes. Her mastery of the language of film criticism is impressive, matched only by the accessibility of her writing style. So many factors engage my interest in these chapters-among them Heath's facility with ranges of theorists such as Foucault and Butler, Marx and Siebers. I find myself learning more about both films and theory I thought I had mastered! Heath's message-that Hollywood films steer their depictions of characters with mental disorders into the lanes of marginalization and danger-is ultimately emancipatory for real persons with these diagnoses. I need this book for my students in Disability and Media classes! -- Mark O'Hara, Miami University
Mental Disorders in Popular Film is a delightful manuscript with many intriguing critiques of popular media depictions of disability-a rare find indeed. The author includes disability theory, scholarly literature, political critique, intersectionality, misconceptions (and corrections), and eye-opening revelations of how mass media manipulates its viewers' outlooks on mental illness and developmental disabilities. These five chapters or cases each contain two movie examples to enlighten readers in ways which cannot be unseen or unknown, all wrapped up in a highly accessible read suitable for both students-and everyone else. Moviemakers beware! -- Kimberly Maich, Associate Professor of Education, Memorial University

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