6.6/10
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Brain on Fire (2016)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama | 22 June 2018 (USA)
Trailer
1:49 | Trailer
A young, capable professional cannot explain her newly erratic behavior.

Director:

Gerard Barrett

Writers:

Gerard Barrett (screenplay), Susannah Cahalan (memoir)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Chloë Grace Moretz ... Susannah Cahalan
Thomas Mann ... Stephen Grywalski
Richard Armitage ... Tom Cahalan
Carrie-Anne Moss ... Rhona Nack
Jenny Slate ... Margo
Tyler Perry ... Richard
Alex Zahara ... Allen
Jenn MacLean-Angus ... Giselle (as Jean MacLean Angus)
Ken Tremblett ... Senator
Navid Negahban ... Dr. Najjar
Robert Moloney ... Dr. Ryan
Agam Darshi ... Dr. Khan
Janet Kidder ... Dr. Siskin
Vincent Gale ... Dr. Samson
Daniel Bacon ... Dr. Han
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Storyline

The film follows the harrowing experience of a writer struggling with a rare neurological disease from when she first suffers symptoms to the many attempts at diagnosing it and the eventual discovery of the real cause of her illness. Based on the book, 'Brain On Fire', the true story of Susannah Cahalan, a journalist for the New York Post. Written by Danny

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, brief language and partial nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Canada | Ireland

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 June 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Brain on Fire - O Meu Mês de Loucura See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,846
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dakota Fanning was originally cast in the lead role. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Susannah Cahalan: Have you ever been trapped? Lost in your own body, lost in your own mind, lost in time? So desperate to escape, to just... Get out.
See more »

Soundtracks

Song for Kirsten Dunst
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User Reviews

 
From a Doctor who focuses on a related condition
24 June 2018 | by chiggen-99509See all my reviews

Let me preface by stating I am a doctor who has devoted the last 10 years of my career to a closely related condition called PANDAS/PANS, which produces symptoms like Susannah's but in school-aged children. I know the real Dr. Najjar well and we refer patients to one another.

I think the movie must be judged on the public service it provides as much as a work of cinematic art.

I think the movie does a good job trying to depict what is happening in the head of Susanna as the disease takes hold. It tries to depict auditory hallucinations and epileptic phenomena, which only a small percentage of viewers have experience with. Just imagine the terror a person walking the busy, noisy streets of Manhattan must experience while experiencing intense auditory and visual hallucinations. The sad truth is, there are many many homeless people in big cities who are experiencing this every day.

The particular condition Susannah has is "rare", but there are thousands of people with the category of disease to which it belongs - so called "autoimmune encephalopathy" (AE). I think the movie shows a sharp contrast between 20th century psychiatry (psychoanalysis, drugs) and 21st century psychiatry, where a few pioneers like Najaar are actually looking for root causes.

Just to give you an idea of the importance of this condition, Columbia University Vagelos School of Medicine held a two day conference this past March on AE and PANDAS/PANS. I can tell you that EVERY person with a sudden change in mental status, with no prior history of the same, and no simpler explanation MUST be evaluated for AE and, in children, for PANDAS/PANS.

It just might save them for a needless lifetime of visits to the Cuckoo's Nest.


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