Movies That Feature Characters Dealing with Mental Illness

Talking to kids about depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues can be tough. These movies feature characters living (and often struggling) with mental illness and can help kids understand more about this often sensitive subject. Learning more about these conditions can help kids develop empathy and open the doors for honest discussions. It might also help kids experiencing mental illness themselves feel less alone. If your kid still has questions about mental illness or you're looking for additional resources, try our Mental Health topic center and our list of Apps to Help with Mental Health.

Browse Movies That Feature Characters Dealing with Mental Illness

Finding Nemo Movie Poster Image
Sweet father-son tale has some very scary moments.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2003)
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Inside Out Movie Poster Image
Beautiful, original story about handling big feelings.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Poster Image
Poignant father-son drama deals with heavy themes.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2017)
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Benny and Joon Movie Poster Image
Quirky comedy about oddballs is edgy for a PG movie.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1993)
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The Zigzag Kid Movie Poster Image
Subtitled, sweet coming-of-age caper has mature themes.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2012)
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The Caine Mutiny Movie Poster Image
Classic non-combat WWII drama has complex themes.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1954)
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High Anxiety Movie Poster Image
Very very funny Hitchcock spoof with some adult humor.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1977)
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Elizabeth Blue Movie Poster Image
Drama quietly explores a woman's mental illness.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2017)
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Grey Gardens Movie Poster Image
Drew Barrymore/HBO biopic with adult themes, alcoholism.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2009)
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Pawn Sacrifice Movie Poster Image
Fascinating chess biopic deals with mental instability.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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Rebel Without a Cause Movie Poster Image
1950s James Dean teen-rage landmark still resonates.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1955)
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The Soloist Movie Poster Image
Memorable, sometimes gritty drama about music, friendship.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2009)
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Still Alice Movie Poster Image
Moore turns Alzheimer's drama into acting master class.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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A Beautiful Mind Movie Poster Image
Oscar-winning biopic is too intense for tweens.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2001)
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Beyond the Lights Movie Poster Image
Powerful romantic drama depicts the downside of celebrity.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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It's Kind of a Funny Story Movie Poster Image
Coming-of-age dramedy explores teen pressures, angst.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2010)
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A Tale of Love and Darkness Movie Poster Image
Portman's biopic of Israeli writer is earnest, ethereal.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2016)
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Thin Movie Poster Image
Gripping anorexia docu; watch with your kids.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2006)
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Amadeus Movie Poster Image
Lavish, award-winning film with mature themes.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1984)
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As Good as It Gets Movie Poster Image
Funny, but not a light comedy for youngsters.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1997)
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Boy Interrupted Movie Poster Image
Haunting suicide/depression docu; watch with your teens.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2009)
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Ben Is Back Movie Poster Image
Powerful, mature mother-son drama tackles addiction.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2018)
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The Dark Horse Movie Poster Image
Soulful story about chess, mental illness, and redemption.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2016)
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Good Will Hunting Movie Poster Image
Moving story of brilliant, troubled youth for older teens.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1999)
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The Hours Movie Poster Image
Smart, thoughtful movie for older teens and up.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2003)
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Infinitely Polar Bear Movie Poster Image
Heartfelt drama about family affected by mental illness.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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Matchstick Men Movie Poster Image
This is a movie about con games at every level.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2003)
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The Perks of Being a Wallflower Movie Poster Image
Book-based drama for mature teens tackles tough subjects.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2012)
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Shine Movie Poster Image
Intense, gripping mental illness music drama.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1996)
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The Aviator Movie Poster Image
Howard Hughes biopic has mature themes, violence.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2004)
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Captain Fantastic Movie Poster Image
Original, moving drama has some disturbing moments.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2016)
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Joker Movie Poster Image
Bleak, violent, powerful; not your typical comic book movie.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2019)
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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Movie Poster Image
Classic and brilliant, but violence makes it teens only.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1975)
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Minding the Gap Movie Poster Image
Skateboarders try to overcome childhood abuse; language.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2018)
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Nowhere Boy Movie Poster Image
Compelling, mature portrait of a musician as a young man.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2010)
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Silver Linings Playbook Movie Poster Image
Offbeat dramedy mixes light and dark; some intense moments.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2012)
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The Skeleton Twins Movie Poster Image
Irreverent, mature, deeply affecting drama about siblings.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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A Star Is Born Movie Poster Image
Cooper, Lady Gaga shine in tragic story of love, addiction.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2018)
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The Tribes of Palos Verdes Movie Poster Image
Melancholy coming-of-age drama tackles tough topics.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2017)
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Black Swan Movie Poster Image
Magnificent, macabre thriller too intense for young teens.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2010)
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Donnie Darko Movie Poster Image
Winningly edgy teen-angst sci-fi tragicomedy.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2001)
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Garden State Movie Poster Image
Smart drama for mature older teens and up.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2004)
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Girl, Interrupted Movie Poster Image
Powerful look at mental illness; ages 16+.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1999)
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Mental Movie Poster Image
Unstable woman saves dysfunctional family in offbeat comedy.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2013)
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No Alternative Movie Poster Image
Drugs, sex, profanity in dark coming-of-age story.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2018)
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The Virgin Suicides Movie Poster Image
Intense movie about teen suicide; violence, sex.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2000)
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We Need to Talk About Kevin Movie Poster Image
Bleak film about disturbed teen is difficult to watch.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2011)
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Welcome to Me Movie Poster Image
Irreverent but somewhat disturbing take on mental illness.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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