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Indian motorcycle

February 27, 2013  10:48pm

And meanwhile, most of Christian culture in American remains as ignorant and insensitive towards mental and emotional health problems as ever. Many Christians have no sympathy for Christians who have mental illness, such as depression. Some Christians refuse to even believe that Christians can get mentally ill. They say that a "true" Christian can never get depression, anxiety, or other psychological issues. Still others naively think if you just pray enough, read your Bible, or attend church, that by doggies, the depression or other mental illness will just drift away like magic! Don't even get me started on the heresy and ineptitude of "nouthetic counseling," which to blame victims for their own pain, boils all problems down to personal sin, and tells them to "just read your Bible more."

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Mark Sells

February 26, 2013  11:14pm

KP--I watch plenty of rated R films depending on how the content is treated. Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List were rated R, for example. I also enjoyed Silver Linings Playbook. But we should respect Christians who refuse to watch films with graphic sex, violence, or language. At any rate, it is uncharitable to assume--as you state--that these Christians would shun the people on a psychiatric ward. That's like saying that people who object to pornography also object to having sex with their spouses or that people who refuse to watch the latest Die Hard movie would balk at defending their families.

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Mark Sells

February 26, 2013  10:58pm

I loved this movie and would agree that it stands up better than most Hollywood depictions of mental illness, but more accurate than One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, as the author says? Hardly. Silver Linings falls to the temptation to romanticize certain aspects of mental illness. I enjoyed the love story, but we're supposed to believe that these two screwed up people are going to be happy together? Maybe so, but this is hardly the despairing realism of the asylum in Cuckoo's Nest.

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February 25, 2013  12:17pm

KP -- My problem is not with the fact that sexual issues are dealt with -- that information can be related to the viewer without having to watch nudity and the acts themselves. As a christian I don't need to subject myself to ogling others' and viewing sex acts for entertainment. I can't help but think that this important topic would get a much wider viewing if it didn't come with an "R" rating. Like so many movies, it just doesn't need it.

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February 25, 2013  1:06am

As a Christian with mental illnesses who appreciated the depiction of them in SLP, I agree; Christians should see this film, as I suggest here: http://achristianthing.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/mental-illness-and-silver-l inings-playbook-one-sufferers-perspective/ I'd also like to say a little something to those who seem hung up on the content of the film. Too often, those who will not watch a film like this to preserve themselves from being "corrupted" are the same people who will not have anything to do with people on a psych ward because they don't want to be tainted by them. The reality of mental illness is that it often does affect people in ways that would make nice decent Christians squirm, and this can include sex and swearing. Unfortunately, such respectable Christians often avoid the mentally ill instead of questioning their own so-called morals. The real problem in Christian circles is not open antagonism, but those who say, "We need to take mental illness seriously, but..."

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Steve Skeete

February 23, 2013  2:09pm

Hollywood wants us to believe that an overdose of toxic language and excessive sex is 'art imitating life'. Don't believe them! Any film can be a good film without explicit sex and swearing. Doubt me? Then turn the clock back thirty or more years and see. Be that as it may, reaching out to those with mental illness is not only a necessity but the duty of the Church. I know and work with persons who are mentally ill and who must take various medications daily if they are to stay balanced and enjoy life. However, I also know many persons who take medication daily for a variety of physical illnesses. A good friend of mine who died recently had been a dialysis patient for years, making two to three trips to the hospital weekly, and spending up to four continuous hours on dialysis machines. No one stigmatized her, made fun of her or was afraid of her. All liked her though some felt sorry for her. It is time, we saw mental patients as simply sufferers the same as those who suffer physically.

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Laura Tang

February 23, 2013  8:42am

I saw this movie and, yes, didn't like the language and some sexual discussion, but overall I thought it gave a more realistic picture of mental illness and working class family life. I actually thought that working towards a goal (performing in a dance competition), not romance, brought these two people towards some semblance of healing and normalcy. Friendship and budding romance grew in the process. My teenage son has adolescent depression, which I recognized in time for him get treatment (counseling and medication) to prevent a dismal performance and experience this school year. I am glad I am sensitive to these issues and not afraid of or embarrassed by them, especially in a country (I live in China.) that lags far behind in understanding mental illness. We are very clear in our home about God's sovereignty and healing power, and I email our son encouraging Scripture every day while he is at school (with a laptop).

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Sarah Shaver

February 22, 2013  3:45pm

The sex isn't that blatant, and it's not a theme of the movie. yes, the main female character becomes very promiscuous and looses her job because of it - but then you find out how her depression triggered this in her and you just want to cry. Other than a lot of really bad language and bawdy sex talk, all you see is a woman's bare back. and one time that is presented as a sort of sad, poignant part of Pat's "recovery" - letting his wife go. Yes, the language is terrifically bad, but i felt like i was peeping in the window of an average of a bit off kilter family. my husband's family is very much like Pat's parents and brother. the language they used was no worse or better than many people i work with or some of my friends. these are the people my husband and I need to understand so we can meet them with Christ. I encouraged my 19 year old son and 17 year old daughter to see the movie because of it's very real portrayal of mental illness. it's not glamorous.

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Kathi Vande Guchte

February 22, 2013  12:19pm

Thank you, Amy, for writing this clear and balanced article on mental illness. Oh, the church is afraid of mental illness, and many have opinions about it. I know one concern is whether people with mental illness are possessed or plagued by demons, as people in the Bible were healed by Jesus and the Apostles. I believe it is a combination of brain chemistry and physical ailment, but also that the devil enjoys persecuting those with mental illness the most, for the sole reason the illness in in the mind/brain. The church is changing and people are approaching mental illness more lovinly and educated than decades ago. As far as the mental health community, it is incredibly broken, which greatly impacts those suffering with mental illness and those who love them. Family members really need a place where they can go and support each other without the ill party present. In my area, this doesn't exist...perhaps someday.

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Hannah N.

February 22, 2013  10:52am

Thanks for your compassionate treatment of this topic, Amy.

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February 22, 2013  10:36am

Unfortunately, this movie's R rating makes it a no-go for me. I just don't need to steep my mind in the sex and promiscuity this movie depicts and has as it's theme.

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