Title: Movies & Mental Illness (4th Edition): Using Films to Understand Psychopathology
Authors: Danny Wedding and Ryan M Niemiec
Reviewer: Adam Fitzgerald, senior nurse practitioner
What was it like?
This book is written by two US psychologists whom use films to help explain and demonstrate psychopathology.
What were the highlights?
The book is laid out in a number of easy to reference chapters and simple to read tables listing films that correlate to a specific psychological condition. It can easily be used or non health care professionals or those whom would like a slight introduction to mental health without having to digest numerous textbooks or like myself prefer a different way of learning.
Strengths & weaknesses:
As previously mentioned the book is broken into a number of easy to use chapters, hence if you wished to review some information on Personality Disorders you could turn to chapter 13 to which links into the film No Country for Old Men. Movies & Mental Illness then progresses to give you questions to consider while watching the film, followed by a systematic psychological evaluation of one of the characters including a proposed treatment plan. After this evaluation the book goes on to use the film as a basis of describing psychopathy and anti-social behaviour. This linear approach of allowing the reader to consider certain questions as a form of guided learning then tying that into a psychological assessment before analysing the character and tying it into the theory behind it. Along with this, at the end of each chapter, are further films and reading material that may prove to be helpful.
Considering the book is primarily aimed at the US market, the terminology appears to transfer well over to the UK reader. However the statistics are primarily US based.
In addition to the previous points the book has an extensive appendices, which catalogue further films with a brief evaluation other films that can be used to highlight conditions, a listing of the voted 50 top villains and heroes and an example syllabus that can be used with the book.
Who should read it?
This book has a large audience - it could capture ranging from lay persons wishing to gain an insight into mental health through an easily digestible format through to those formally teaching mental health courses.