|Index||4 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Back in the 1970s a study by the sociologist Rosenhans and his students
(under the above title) made headlines. Rosenhans had his students, all
perfectly sane, go to the admissions offices of a couple of psychiatric
hospitals, complaining of (fake) symptoms, like hearing voices. All the
"pseudopatients" were admitted and immediately dropped their symptoms and
acted sane. They sat around the ward taking notes of their experiences,
which, at one institution, was described as "engaging in writing behavior."
After varying periods of time all the pseudopatients were released, most
with a diagnosis of "schizophrenia, in remission." The reason the study
made headlines is that it seemed to blame mental illness on society, a hip
and fashionable radical idea at the time. It's been pretty thoroughly
discredited by now because of various methodological flaws, except among
some die-hards. But this movie could have been written in five minutes by
one of those die-hards.
The whole story is rigged. Victoria Principal, a paragon of sanity, is assaulted by her father-in-law, the greedy drunk snobbish grasping goaty Robert Vaughan. She tells her somewhat dullish husband and, on the advice of a distracted but smarmy quack, she admits herself to a psychiatric hospital that thrives on patients who are covered by medical insurance. The staff have reassured her that she can leave whenever she wants, make phone calls, receive visitors, or whatever, but -- you know what? They're lying. They get rid of her husband pronto, then take her behind locked doors where they shoot her full of drugs and keep her in a bare room with no toilet and no chocolates on the pillow. Not even a pillow. Not even a bed, come to think of it.
The staff are a lot of ogres. They refuse to provide her with sanitary napkins, won't allow visitors, tear her away from the phone when she tries to call for help. She -- this is just terrible -- she even loses her baby. A walking zombie.
Her husband is a lawyer. When he again visits and insists on seeing her they demand to know who he is. "I'm her lawyer!" he claims. Then, upon further inquiry, he admits, "Well, I'm her husband." Nurse Diesel tells Victoria that her husband is here but he's delusional and dangerous so she shouldn't see him. Once again hubby is given the bum's rush while he helpfully flails about like a raving lunatic shouting, "I'm her husband! I'm her lawyer! I'm her husband AND her lawyer! I have rights!"
Finally she gets out and is admitted to a kindlier gentler institution where the head shrink gives her a baseball bat and tells her to whup this mattress while shouting accusations at her husband as if it were he instead of a rolled-up mattress she was belaboring. Of course, after such catharsis, she recovers but has to come to terms with the fact that her husband is blind to her needs and to his own father's flaws.
But why go on? The heroes are heroes and the villains are villains and the husband is the "good German" of the piece who finally sees what a blind weakling he's been.
I haven't warned about spoilers because I didn't think any warnings were needed. You can see the end coming a mile away. It's hard to imagine anyone sitting back and taking this retrograde garbage at all seriously, except maybe Rosenhans, who may have leaped up and clapped all the way through it. It -- how do the kiddies put it? -- it "sux". I don't want to waste anything resembling eloquence on this claptrap. It isn't bad enough to be amusing, but it's easily bad enough to make one ashamed of being a TV viewer.
A very much underrated film, I found myself absolutely glued to the television set. Funnily enough, although I am a man, I found myself identifying with the woman, beautifully portrayed by Victoria Principle. Maybe this is because I have suffered from mental illness myself and know some of the hideous things that can go on in mental institutions. This is not a film made simply to entertain, so if that's all you're after you'd be better off watching Tom & Jerry. The story might seem implausible but is supposed to be based on true events. There is a very strong message that the film delivers, namely that however inconceivable a person's story, sometimes it may be true, and that the person that you most admire may in fact be a liar. To disbelieve someone who is telling the truth, simply because it goes against the grain, is a terrible injustice. A deep but brilliant and highly moving film.
I liked this movie very much.I just finished watching it tonight, but had
seen half of it on TV before, so I got the DVD copy of it. I don't think
Victoria Principal gets much credit for her acting and I hadn't seen her
a movie before and I was surprised how good she was in this movie. The
is based on a true story and its hard to believe that such things can
happen. Principal plays the part of Anna, the wife of a lawyer who won't
believe what she tells him about someone else (can't give the plot away).
could identify with Anna's total frustration with her husband not
her. It would drive me crazy too. Anna ends up having a breakdown and is
forced into a psychiatric ward where she is treated badly and being there
makes her more ill than when she first went in.
Nicholas Campbell (Da Vinci's Inquest on Canadian TV) plays the part of
sympathetic and compassionate husband but in the beginning he is not
supportive of his wife because he doesn't want to believe
His acting is top rate and he is convincing. plays his part very well.
Robert Vaughn and Kenneth Welsh also show some excellent acting. An under-rated movie. If you like this kind of movie, get it if you can.
Watching this film makes you wonder what they could have made of it were it
not a cheap TV movie. The rough plot of: woman gets assaulted by
father-in-law, develops depressive tendencies, gets put in hospital for her
"protection and treatment" and is kept there and "tortured" for quite a
while!!, : is midly engaging but the sensationalist treatment of the subject
leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Occasionally breaking into farce, where the
hospital orderlies set upon the "heroine" with an almost sadistic sneer on
their lips. Fear is the only reaction that the makers were looking for.
Having had some second hand "experience" of this type of mental illness, I can tell you that this would be a realistic film were the human race starring in a cheap, sensational, "made for TV" movie.
For a really thought-provoking take on the treatment of mental illness watch "one flew over the cuckoo's nest" and one of the few real-life films made about enforced incarceration.
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