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... sometimes does.
*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 I 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 with this affliction 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.
SO... watch 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.
Bruce Saunders Feb. 12, 1995.