This is the second blog for the series [Movie on mental health]. Here I will share some of the movies about mental health, that I found interesting. They are not only about mental diseases such as schizophrenia, but more about the problems that everyone might face in real life.
Last time I shared an 2007 movie, Lars and the real girl. This time I want to talk about a more recent one: Swiss Army Man.
Most people always hold the impression of Harry Potter on Daniel Radcliffe. However, amid the changes of his appearance, Radcliffe has been trying hard to subvert his image of that little boy with a scar in the magic world.
In this movie, he made it, by playing a corpse.
The main character, Hank, played by Paul Dano, was a man lost on an island, who had social phobia. When he tried to kill himself, a dead body floated to the island. Hank found that the corpse had powerful fart that could take him escape from the island. During the journey with the corpse, Hank found out different functions of the dead body, as useful as a Swiss army knife.
Hank named the corpse as Manny, and did a lot of things to stimulate him. Hank taught Manny how to behave as normal, which he himself could not make it when he was in the outside world.
Finally, Hank took Manny to Sarah’s home, only to find that she was married and had a baby. And it turned out that Hank had never been on an isolated island, but made everything up in a bush nearby his home.
At the end of the movie, Hank left the reality that he had always tried to get involved, and drove Manny away. But this time, he did not leave because he was afraid, but because he no longer care about what others thought about him.
My story-telling is not good. If you want to know more about it, you can search the movie and watch it. I promise it’s worth watching!
It is believed by many audience and reviews that Manny is the reflection of Hank’s inner world. When Hank wanted to commit suicide, Manny saved him, which implies his desire for life. Those knowledge that Hank taught Manny, were all what he tried to do to fit in the society. Manny is Hank, the one that he wanted to be.
Upon reviewing this movie, I started thinking what it was that caused Hank’s exclusion from the society? Obviously, the other people were not friendly. Sarah rejected Hank and married another man. Hank’s father was initially ashamed of this son. But can we blame them for doing so? Hank was shy, introvert, and neurotic sometimes. He is viewed as “abnormal” in social norms. Can we blame his father for feeling bad about him? Even, can we blame Sarah for marring another guy?
Honestly saying, it is not our responsibility to love any one another. We cannot expect people in the society are all like people in Lars and the real girl. But is it the fault of Hank? He did nothing wrong. He just didn’t know how to be “normal”.
So, in my view, it’s the problem of the so-called “social norms”. Why should everyone be the same to be “normal”? Why are people like Hank labelled as “abnormal”? Who defined that?
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.