Having worked with patients suffering from serious mental health problems for many years I am always interested in how the subject is portrayed on film. The film is set in the seventies and eighties and in terms of options available to people with bipolar disorder (this is essentially what is being portrayed) the options were largely around lithium (which is still used) and old style injectable phenothiazines that patients feel dulls their experience. Although the patient here appears to have bipolar disorder she is treated with injectables which did happen and probably still does. The picture presents the effect of such management well and the picture of someone who is too demotivated to leave their chair, sits smoking for hours and is unreactive is familiar to anyone who would have worked in mental health in the eighties.
I think the beauty of this film is that it is very engaging and very quickly I began to care about the characters. Jo Brand is always very good value and although she has been a writer, actor and comedian for many years the psychiatric nurse is just below the surface and this comes across in the film very well.
Keith English's direction brings one very close to the characters and I think accurately portrays the concerns of families caring for people with mental health difficulties. There are some minutes of high comedy but the tagline of 'you can't choose your family' is very accurate. You really can't choose family members and some of the ones depicted here you really would not want. I did think that the film depicted the concerns of family members well, from their lives being caught up with caring for a relative to the worry about whether they are in some way responsible for their relative's illness (they are not).
The nineteen-eighties are not that far away in time and with no internet, no mobiles and a world in which much of what was happening came through the television it was fun to see how far things have moved on. The over crowded décor of the seventies and eighties - the house being too cold for comfort and the isolation of small communities from urban centres all rang very true to me and although I live near London at the moment I grew up near many such places where a bus coming through was the highlight of the day. Keith English captures this all very well and there is massive attention to detail in making sure the illusion is not shattered.
A warm, kind and gentle film which stirs up some genuine emotions.
Happily for people with bipolar disorder there are better options too and the days of people being either so ill that they need hospitalisation or being overly sedated are now way behind us.
The More You Ignore Me
The More You Ignore Me
Based on Jo Brand's critically acclaimed novel of the same name, The More You Ignore Me is a warm, comedy drama focusing on the life of an unconventional family in 1980s rural England. The film focuses on Gina, a young mother, whose efforts to be a loving mother and wife are undermined by her declining mental health. Things deteriorate when she develops an obsession with the local weatherman, which leads to an admission to the nearby psychiatric hospital. Over the years, as she grows up, her daughter Alice struggles to relate to her heavily medicated mum, and causes chaos when she comes up with a plan to reconnect with her, which divides the family forever and leads to a moving climax. Set to the songs of The Smiths, The More You Ignore Me provides a sometimes stark, yet comical insight into life within this quirky household, whilst addressing mental health issues and their impact on the family.
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November 01, 2018 at 08:17 AM