May is a good time to discover some movies about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) to increase our understanding about how this mental health issue impacts others.
Though there is less stigma associated with issues of poor mental health than in years before, many Americans are still scared, and rightly so, to be open about their struggles with mental illness. They fear discrimination in the workplace or worry that others will think their problems are not “real.”
In truth, millions of people in the United States battle poor mental health. The month of May has been designated by the U.S. Congress as Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month.
This makes it the perfect time to address the challenges of this disorder, learn how it affects others and celebrate people’s recovery. Watching movies about BPD makes it easier to understand the symptoms and traits associated with it.
BPD is a condition that makes it difficult for people to regulate their emotions. They may experience depression, anxiety or suffer from a terrible self-image much more intensely than others. Many BPD sufferers have a hard time bouncing back to a normal state of mind without treatment. It is also a much more common disorder than most people realize.
It’s estimated that around 1.4 percent of the population cope with BPD, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and that number is likely underreported.
The prevalence of borderline personality disorder is even more understandable when we look to popular culture. Living with and recovering from BPD can be a constant struggle, so it’s not really that surprising to see so many stories about it in Hollywood films.
Here’s a List of 6 Movies About Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
1. Uncut Gems (2019)
Uncut Gems is a film that has been described as a “two hour panic attack.” Adam Sandler plays the character of Howard Ratner, a jeweler and compulsive gambler who lives and works in New York City.
Though a BPD diagnosis is never explicitly made in the storyline, Ratner suffers many of the emotional traits that create so much chaos not just in their life, but also in the lives of everyone around them.
2. Girl, Interrupted (1999)
Girl, Interrupted is a period film set in the backdrop of a mental institution in the ’60s.
Put in the hospital for BPD, the character of Susana Kaysen, played by Winona Ryder, falls under the influence of another, more volatile patient named Lisa Rowe, played by Angelina Jolie.
As the story unfolds, Kaysen must decide between her friendship with Rowe or her own recovery from borderline personality disorder.
3. Welcome to Me (2014)
In the dramedy, Welcome to Me, actress and comedian Kristen Wiig plays the character of Alice Klieg, a woman with BPD who becomes a multi-millionaire after winning the lottery.
Frustrated with the attention she’s receiving, Klieg goes off her medication against the advice of her psychiatrist, and uses her winnings to buy her own nationally televised talk show called Welcome to Me.
4. Silver Linings Playbook (2014)
After a mental health stay in the hospital because of bipolar disorder, Pat Solatano, played by Bradley Cooper, moves back in with his family.
His family becomes worried, however, when he develops a turbulent relationship with Tiffany Maxwell, a character that exhibits all the telltale signs of borderline personality disorder.
The actress Jennifer Lawrence received an Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Maxwell in Silver Linings Playbook.
5. Prozac Nation (2001)
Prozac Nation is an autobiographical film, based on Elizabeth Wurtzel’s groundbreaking memoir of the same name.
The story follows a young Harvard Freshman, starring Christina Ricci, coping with substance abuse, an unstable self-image, depression, and impulse control.
Unfortunately, Elizabeth Wurtzel succumbed to cancer in January 2020, though her willingness to talk and write openly about her struggles with mental health has lived on.
6. One Hour Photo (2002)
The main storyline of One Hour Photo takes place at a small photo-development lab in a mall, where the main character Sy Parrish, played by Robin Williams, has grown attached to one of his female customers through her family photos.
Parrish’s mental state tips when he sees what he believes to be evidence of her husband cheating on her in one of the photos.
The film grows much more intense as Parrish begins stalking the family and secretly takes photos of them.
Sadly, Robin Williams battled mental health issues of his own and died by suicide in 2014.
Borderline Personality Disorder Movies Depictions
Attempting to pin down the exact symptoms and personality traits of BPD can be difficult because it is a unique disorder that is sometimes difficult to accurately diagnose, and the symptoms overlap with other mental health issues.
Characters in borderline personality disorder movies aren’t always given a diagnosis of BPD, even though they exhibit many of the signs of the disorder.
The BPD movies listed here are considered by many to offer some of the best depictions of the disorder and are critically acclaimed.
For Borderline Personality Disorder in May, these are good films to watch to gain a better understanding of BPD.
May is also Mental Health Awareness Month, and these films fit right into the theme of the month.
Dr. Elena Kapustina found her true calling and completed her PsyD in Clinical Psychology after earning her MBA and spending years working as the CFO for major corporations. She founded Iris Healing to holistically work with dual diagnosis patients in order to create a more sustainable recovery. From managing 1,000 employees to creating a top of the line treatment center, Dr. Kapustina harnesses her passion to create positive experiences for others.