Movie Analysis for Substance Abuse Disorders
This assignment correlates with the Varcarolis’ Foundations of Psychiatric-Mental health nursing textbook by Margaret J. Halter, 8th edition

Suggested Movies:

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Smash (2012)
28 Days (2000)
Crazy Heart (2009)
The Spectacular Now (2013)
Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
Trainwreck (2015)
Trainspotting (1996)
Clean & Sobber (1988)
Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
Flight (2012)
The Five Heart Beats (1991)

***You may choose a movie of your choice with Substance Abuse depicted.

Assignment: After watching the movie, identify and analyze the portrayal of the featured mental illness in a “simple” analysis paper. Note:
• You are NOT creating a summary or “review” of the movie.
• You are analyzing the characters’ portrayal, and movie’s depiction of the “substance abused disorder”.
To make the disorder become more relevant, you will address three components of the film:

1. Accuracy of portrayal: How is the character shown to have a substance abuse disorder? Does the film discuss substance abuse? What are the “typical” symptoms and how are they displayed? How is the condition diagnosed? What are the diagnosis criteria for the illness depicted in the movie? Does this character meet that criteria? Be specific, how is the illness communicated to viewers and to other actors in the film? In what ways does the movie accurately represent the disorder or misrepresent it? Explain using an example(s) from the movie.
2. Treatment recommendations: How is the disorder “treated” in the movie you chose? If the movie does not discuss a treatment plan, what is the most appropriate treatment plan for the disorder? (Please use your book or journal articles to find the most up to date treatment option for the client in the movie).
3. Pick ONE of the three following points to address, choose one that applies to your film:
a) Professional ethics: How are the doctors and therapists depicted? What are their interactions with the ill character? How are these professionals helping or hurting the situation? What is the purpose of depicting mental health care professionals in this light?
b) Perpetuation of stigma: What are the false statements or depictions of mental illness in the film? Are there accurate depictions? How do you know? Why are aspects of illness so misrepresented?
c) Attitude change: How did characters in the film change over time in their attitudes towards mental illness? How did this film change your attitude about the depicted illness?
4. Discuss personal reaction and analysis of the movie.

Analysis Paper, Template: (APA Format! Remember to double space, proofread for spelling & grammar!)
Paragraph 1: Introduction to movie and the depiction of mental illness in the movie (your main sentence within this paragraph will indicate what your three points are going to be.)
Paragraph 2: Accuracy analysis of the movie: How is the character shown to have a substance abuse disorder? How is the disorder communicated to viewers and to other actors in the film?
What diagnosis criteria did the character meet, or not meet?
Paragraph 3: – Treatment analysis and recommendation: How is the substance abuse disorder “treated” in the movie? What treatments are available? (Especially if this movie is older, are there new therapies?) Discuss possible treatments appropriate for this character, not specific medications or anything, but long-term goals.
Paragraph 4: Pick your third topic and answer the questions.
Paragraph 5: Personal reflection: What was your reaction and analysis of the movie?
Possible Paragraph 6: No need to provide a summary paragraph, but it is a good rule of thumb to go back to your main sentence in the first paragraph and make sure you hit all the points that you said you would address

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