The portrayal of mental illness in films in English speaking cultures is significant to society as a whole because it influences how we regard people suffering from mental illnesses. When viewers see mental illness depicted in films, they form opinions and ideas about how these people are in real life. This is why it is crucial that the depiction of characters with these conditions needs to be realistic, otherwise audiences will develop a false idea of what it means to have disorders such as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). The characters are frequently portrayed as evil, violent and uncontrollable. They often commit murders, torture innocent people and play extreme characters in films.
In the American film Split, this is the case. The character played by James McAvoy, Kevin, is seen to have 23 different personalities – most of them violent and abusive. This is a typical approach to people with DID (source/citation). Mr. Robot – an American TV series – takes a different approach. The main character Elliot also suffers from DID. It is this difference that will be discussed in this essay. The public stigma of mental illness in the United States generates numerous discordances between individuals. Society depicts individuals with psychiatric conditions discriminately as incompetents and a threat to people, encouraging segregations in different sectors of civilization such as housing and unemployment. Influencing patients with such conditions to distance themselves from society and stop looking for help.
This is an examination of to what extent does the portrayal of mental illness differ between “Mr Robot” and “Split”? This essay will show how Split on the one hand portrays DID; traditionally maintaining the stereotypical images that depict DID as the opposite of what it is in reality. This is done by directors of big film industries, whereas Mr. Robot portrays DID more accurately, in a way that is approved by people who suffer from DID and is more realistic.
In examining this topic, the film and TV series have been analyzed to show how they portray DID. In addition, other information has been gathered from blogs, reviews and psychological associations to collect a more broad approach. This research question is worthy of investigation because mental illness is an issue that affects many people and when it is portrayed inaccurately it can lead to discrimination of sufferers. In the US today many people wish that more realistic characteristics were accessible today so that films can increase understanding of conditions such as DID rather than misinforming and perpetuating violent stereotypes.