A movie about a man dealing with manic-depression prompted these program notes:

This portrayal of manic-depression is very clever - exciting to see it portrayed so well -- and yet it cannot be described as typical. The longer I'm involved in this steep learning curve about mental illness - particularly steepened with the discussion around the movie,'Benny and Joon'- the more I realise that nothing is typical - nothing is more dangerous than to generalize about someone because of the label that one might be given.

As for 'Mr. Jones'
  • M/D's are not all so clever, charming, debonair when we're high - but many of us are.....
  • Not all psychiatrists are as gorgeous, sensitive, shapely, fit as 'Mr. Jones' - but mine swims like a torpedo every day at the rec. centre , to Hawaii and back several times a year!
  • One of the least likely things about this movie is the love affair between patient and psychiatrist - but I suppose it could happen....
  • Not all M/D's are spend-easies when they're high - not a lot have the money and the possibilities money can afford - but I've heard some hair-raising tales and personally have loosened up considerably while under the influence....
  • Not all buddies ( spouses,doctors, lovers ) are so kind and understanding / involved as Mr. Jones' buddy - but some of you are. It's a great help and asset for anyone with this disorder to be understood and stood by beyond the usual boundaries.
  • Not all hospitals have such pleasant living areas and therapeutic programs as some of those portrayed in this movie.
  • Not all survive - suicide is a very common outcome of this illness. Some statistics say one in four m/d's die that way.
  • Not all of our experiences are this dramatic - but, here again, m/d is an extraordinary condition and it often leads in extraordinary directions this movie not as a description of a typical m/d but as a provocative piece that shows what m/d can be - and after the show and a short refreshment break I hope you'll stay to join our panel in a discussion that will round out and balance this portrayal.
As Dr. Brooks said when he talked at M. M. about 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest', it's not a true story - but it speaks to truth.....
After the performance we had a panel discussion involving three people who had the illness and a psychiatrist commenting on the movie and inviting audience participation.

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