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Elizabeth Blue

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Elizabeth Blue Movie Poster Image
Drama quietly explores a woman's mental illness.
  • PG-13
  • 2017
  • 95 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Underlying message that people with mental illnesses should be treated by medical professionals. Also conveys the idea that most people, whether they're mentally unstable or not, want to feel loved and protected by someone else. Compassion is a theme.

Positive Role Models & Representations

There aren't many media representations of characters with mental illnesses, so this film is unique in that the main character is living with schizophrenia, anxiety, and OCD. But there are no overtly positive role models besides the psychiatrist, who truly wants to help Elizabeth stop hallucinating and live in reality.

Violence

Elizabeth hears voices in her head that periodically tell her to end her misery and commit suicide. A destructive voice is personified by a man who appears to command her to kill herself. She responds to it by flailing around. In one scene, her boyfriend slaps her to get her out of an obsessive reverie. It seems out of necessity rather than anger, but it's still upsetting.

Sex

Elizabeth and Grant live together, kiss, sleep next to each other, see each other undressed (like when she's taking a bath), and take a shower together, but no nudity is shown, and there are no sex scenes.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Elizabeth is on a variety of prescription drugs. Her psychiatrist goes over her treatment plan and dosages at every therapy session.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Elizabeth Blue is an indie drama about a young woman (Anna Schafer) living with schizophrenia. Inspired by the filmmaker's own experiences with mental illness, the movie chronicles Elizabeth's life after she's released from a psychiatric hospital and moves in with her fiancé. The story is most likely to appeal to older teens interested in either indie films or the serious subject matter. Expect a few scenes of a couple kissing, caressing, and even showering together, but there's no graphic nudity or simulated sex. The movie's disturbing scenes are related to Elizabeth's illness; the voices in her head manifest themselves as a man who tries to convince her to commit suicide. In another scene, her fiancé feels the need to slap her to stop her from obsessing about an imaginary danger. Families with teens who watch the movie together will want to discuss the representation and reality of mental illness, as well as how the film promotes compassion.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 7, 9, and 12 year old Written byAngelinaFreedman September 3, 2018

A good film to watch for sheltered youth

Although Elizabeth Blue does have a slow pace, I don’t think mental illness can possibly be portrayed realistically at a faster one. You feel the pain and lone... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

ELIZABETH BLUE is the story of a schizophrenic 20-something woman named Elizabeth (Anna Schafer) who's discharged from a residential psychiatric hospital and then returns to her Los Angeles apartment with her fiancé, Grant (Ryan Vincent). Under the care of a psychiatrist, Dr. Bowman (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), Elizabeth receives a treatment plan that involves medications and instructions to ignore any hallucinations that might appear. Elizabeth, who also suffers from anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder, proceeds to spend most of her time in the apartment, scribbling notes and ideas about her upcoming wedding, while Grant worries that she's not taking her medication and insists he'll always be there for her. As Elizabeth continues to see Dr. Bowman, it's clear the voices in her head aren't all benign; some want her to hurt herself to escape her illness.

Is it any good?

This drama's pace might be too slow for some viewers, but there's an intimacy and authenticity to Elizabeth's struggle for a typical life when she's dealing with a serious illness. Despite the odds against them, Elizabeth and Grant share a sweet, loving romance. It's unclear what he does for a living, but Vincent plays Grant as a dutifully caring, devoted partner who wants to grow old and have children with Elizabeth -- even though he knows that will mean helping her navigate her mental health for the rest of their lives. And Schafer gives a surprisingly nuanced performance as Elizabeth, who one moment can seem "fine" but the next becomes obsessive and has to fight off the impulse to do what the voices are telling her.

Best known for playing dangerous men, Akinnuoye-Agbaje plays against type as a patient psychiatrist who tries his hardest to help Elizabeth see what's real and what's her illness. Other notable supporting characters include Kathleen Quinlan in brief scenes as Elizabeth's mother and Christopher Ashman as Elizabeth's cruel hallucination. That said, while Elizabeth Blue means well, there's not much of a plot, and as a character study, it's fairly obvious where the story is heading. A few solid performances make the drama watchable, but whatever director Vincent Sabella is trying to convey gets obscured by the film's gimmicky (and easy-to-guess) denouement.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Elizabeth Blue depicts mental illness. How do movies typically portray characters with mental illnesses and disabilities? Name some that have been notable. How is this one similar/different?

  • Are there any role models in the movie? Who are they, and what makes them stand out? What character strengths do they demonstrate?

  • How do you feel about the end? What do you think happens next?

Movie details

Character Strengths

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