Movies with Character Disorders

This course tries to cover how psychology and abnormal behavior are often covered by the media. Sometimes life imitates art just as art often imitates life. For better or worse, society’s understanding of mental illness is strongly influenced by media. Nonetheless, it allows for the study of disorders, their etiology, and their diagnosis. For this paper, you are to choose a character from a movie on the list below and write a case description that includes a multi-axial DSM-IV diagnosis. The paper should be 2-3 pages and include the following:

Background: This can include information about the character’s family, social, medical, academic, and occupational history as well as notable demographic information.

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Clinical Observations: You should include information about the presenting problem, current symptoms, and current social functioning.
Diagnosis: This should be multi-axial and based on the 5 Axes of the DSM-IV.
Discussion: Explain, using evidence from various sources (textbook, DSM, and one other reliable source), supporting evidence of your main (Axis I and/or Axis II) diagnosis. Additionally, discuss your differential diagnosis, that is, the other diagnoses you considered and why they were ruled out from your final diagnosis.
Evaluation: Please conclude your paper by evaluating the accuracy of the movie’s depiction of the abnormal behavior/diagnosis based on what you have learned about the disorder.

You can earn up to 50 points and grading is based on an evaluation rubric available on the course website on Blackboard. If you hope to choose a movie, not on this list, it must first be approved by me. Everyone must submit their choice of the film by the beginning of class on September 27.
The final papers will be due November 20.

A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Adaptation (2002)
American Beauty (1999)
American Psycho (2000)
As Good As It Gets (1997)
Aviator, The (2004)
Bad Santa (2003)
Black Swan (2010)
Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
Boys Don’t Cry (1999)
Clean and Sober (1988)
Copycat (1995)
Deer Hunter, The (1978)
Hours, The (2002)
House of Sand and Fog (2003)
Falling Down (1994)
Fatal Attraction (1987)
Fight Club (1999)
Fisher King, The (1991)
Forrest Gump (1994)
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Girl, Interrupted (1999)
Identity (2003)
Iron Lady, The (2011)
K-Pax (2001)
Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Long Day’s Journey into Night (1962)
Machinist, The (2004)
Matchstick Men (2003)
Memento (2001)
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Monster’s Ball (2002)
Notebook, The (2004)
Ordinary People (1980)
Primal Fear (1996)
Psycho (1960)
Rain Man (1993)
Red Dragon (2002)
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Royal Tenenbaums, The (2001)
Shine (1996)
Shutter Island (2010)
Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Single White Female (1992)
Sybil (1976)
Talented Mr. Ripley, The (1999)
Taxi Driver (1976)
Three Faces of Eve, The (1957)
Trainspotting (1996)
Vertigo (1958)
When a Man Loves a Woman (1994)

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