No matter what my age is, I still look for the funny sections in the newspaper. What can I say? I like smiling, and at times, bursting into laughter too. Continue reading “These Hilarious Cartoons Will Made You Laugh Out Loud!”
Whenever we think about Ashton Kutcher, most of us tend to think about all of the awesome roles that he has played over the years. What some of us do not Continue reading “Ashton Kutcher Quietly Saved 6,000 Children From Human Sex Trafficking”
The world is astonished by an unexpected Taylor Swift’s activity on her social media accounts. Without any hint or warning, Taylor Swift deleted lots of her posts and pictures. She deleted all of her Instagram posts and her Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube have become half empty (if not entirely empty, too).
The Real Truth About Why Taylor Swift Deleted Her Social Media Posts
While the fans start worrying about what Taylor Swift is doing right now and planning to do next, there might be the great news for you. There is a probability that Taylor Swift is working on a new album and planning to announce a tour. There is no official confirmation of a tour or an album at this time, but we are sure something great is coming…
The Venice film festival kicks off awards-season with star power – from Clooney’s Suburbicon to Damon in sci-fi comedy Downsizing – as it fights off competition from Telluride, Toronto and Netflix
Awards hopefuls … clockwise from top left, Mother!, Suburbicon, The Shape of Water and Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno
The Oscars may be seven months away, but speculation over which big names might take home the Academy’s coveted gold statuettes begins in earnest on 30 August with the opening of the Venice film festival. Once seen as a waning force in the film industry calendar, the world’s oldest film festival has regained its status as a kingmaker for award-season hopefuls, with a record of launching films that have gone on to enjoy success at the Academy Awards, including two recent best picture winners in Spotlight and Gravity,and the film that took home the highest number of Oscars this year, La La Land.
While that latter film was already considered a dead-cert for awards-season glory, even before it premiered at the festival, this year’s event boasts no such obvious frontrunner. Instead, the lineup features a clutch of films regarded as possible awards hopefuls. Such uncertainty is reflective of a notably open Oscars race, in which several of the major awards contenders, including the fashion drama Phantom Thread (with Daniel Day-Lewis) and Steven Spielberg’s Pentagon Papers biopic are not set to debut until later this year.
Festival director Alberto Barbera, who is responsible for selecting much of the festival programme, acknowledges the issue, but is confident that several of the films in his lineup will be in the reckoning at the sharp end of awards season. “There will be more contenders for sure, because some of the most interesting films were not ready in time for September,” he says. “But some of the films in our lineup still have a good chance of running for one of the major awards from the Academy next year.”
Chief among these is Alexander Payne’s sci-fi comedy Downsizing, which has the festival’s opening-gala slot. A departure for Payne, known for small-scale character-driven dramas, the film stars Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig as a couple who shrink themselves as a cost-cutting measure. Barbera describes Downsizing as a multilayered crowd-pleaser. “It’s very funny, very surprising, very enjoyable, but then it becomes more and more dramatic. It faces the problems of the future of the planet in terms of climate change.”
There are similarly high hopes for two other American films helmed by prominent directors. Darren Aronofsky, who last appeared at the festival with his acclaimed thriller Black Swan, returns to the Lido with Mother!, a psychological horror about a young woman whose home life is disrupted by the appearance of several unwelcome guests. It stars Jennifer Lawrence and is described by Barbera as one of the director’s “most personal and radical works”. Meanwhile, Pan’s Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro premieres The Shape of Water, a cold-war era fantasy starring Sally Hawkins that Barbera says is “somewhere between Beauty and the Beast and the Monster from the Black Lagoon. He’s rarely done something so accomplished and beautiful.”
There are other notable selections at the festival also. George Clooney’s Coen brothers-scripted drama Suburbicon, again starring Damon, will premiere in competition, as will Lean on Pete, a new drama by the British director Andrew Haigh and Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno, by the Tunisian-French director Abdellatif Kechiche. The latter has reportedly struggled to finance his latest film, even attempting to auction off the Palme d’Or he won at the 2013 Cannes film festival for his previous film Blue Is the Warmest Colour.
For its president, the challenges of putting together the Venice lineup are made more pronounced by the presence close by in the calendar of two competitors: Telluride, the Colorado-based event that begins on 1 September, and the Toronto international film festival, which follows a week later. Competition between the events for exclusive titles had grown intense, fuelled in part by a sense that newer festivals are overtaking more established rivals in acquiring major titles. With Venice now considered to be once again level pegging with its rivals, Barbera is happy to play down the competition. “It was quite rough in the past. It was a little war, but I always said that we shouldn’t compete against each other. We’re not there to show our muscles, we’re here to serve the promotion of good films.”
For many major festivals, selecting films has been complicated by the emergence of Netflix and Amazon, which have begun investing heavily in original content for their streaming platforms. Netflix has angered distributors by being reluctant to release its original films in cinemas, a move that led the Cannes film festival to announce that only titles given a full theatrical release could compete for the Palme d’Or.
Barbera has no such plans for Venice to follow suit. “We simply cannot ignore this phenomenon,” he says. “Most contemporary film-makers are going to Amazon and Netflix with projects. If a film-maker accepts the new rules of the game, I don’t see why a festival shouldn’t do the same.”
In further evidence that the festival might be moving with the times, this year the Lido will welcome a virtual reality section, a response to growing interest in the medium. Barbera points to the interest in the technology shown by top film-makers such as Birdman director Alejandro González Iñárritu, who premiered a virtual reality exhibit at Cannes, as evidence of its growing importance. “I don’t think VR is the future of cinema, it’s something else. It’s a completely new medium,” he says.
Alejandro González Iñárritu’s VR exhibit Carne y Arena. Photograph: Neil Kellerhouse/EPA
While Barbera has broken an 11-year run of male Venice jury heads by appointing Annette Bening as this year’s president, the number of female film-makers at this year’s festival is less impressive, with just one – the Chinese director Vivian Qu – appearing in competition.
Barbera admits that gender disparity at Venice is a “big issue”, but blames the film industry at large. “We made our selection on the basis of the quality of films that we saw, and I really hope that the film industry will get rid of all their prejudices against women, because female film-makers show the same kind of creativity and competence of their male colleagues. I think the situation is changing little by little and the next years we’ll see more and more female film-makers,” he said.
Myron Ebell, who headed the EPA’s transition team when Trump became president, said the last decade has been a period of ‘low hurricane activity’
National guardsmen rescue stranded residents after massive flooding from record rains overwhelmed roads and buildings throughout the city after Harvey. Photograph: Zachary West/Zuma/Avalon.red
Conservative groups with close links to the Trump administration have sought to ridicule the link between climate change and events such as tropical storm Harvey, amid warnings from scientists that storms are being exacerbated by warming temperatures.
Harvey, which smashed into the Texas coast on Friday, rapidly developed into a Category 4 hurricane and has drenched parts of Houston with around 50in of rain in less than a week, more than the city typically receives in a year. So much rain fell that the National Weather Service had to add new colours to its maps.
The flooding has resulted in at least 15 deaths, with more than 30,000 people forced from their homes. Fema has warned that hundreds of thousands of people will require federal help for several years, with Greg Abbott, governor of Texas, calling Harvey “one of the largest disasters America has ever faced”. Insurers have warned the cost of the damage could amount to $100bn.
Some scientists have pointed to the tropical storm as further evidence of the dangers of climate change, with Penn State University professor of meteorology Michael Mann stating that warming temperatures “worsened the impact” of the storm, heightening the risk to life and property.
Conservative groups, however, have mobilized to downplay or mock any association between the storm and climate change. Myron Ebell, who headed the Environmental Protection Agency’s transition team when Donald Trump became president, said the last decade has been a “period of low hurricane activity” and pointed out that previous hurricanes occurred when emissions were lower.
“Instead of wasting colossal sums of money on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, much smaller amounts should be spent on improving the infrastructure that protects the Gulf and Atlantic costs,” said Ebell, who is director of environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian thinktank that has received donations from fossil fuel companies such as Exxon Mobil.
Thomas Pyle, who led Trump’s transition team for the department of energy, said: “It is unfortunate, but not surprising, that the left is exploiting Hurricane Harveyto try and advance their political agenda, but it won’t work.
“When everything is a problem related to climate change, the solutions no longer become attainable. That is their fundamental problem.”
Pyle is president of the Institute of Energy Research, which was founded in Houston but is now based in Washington DC. The nonprofit organization has consistently questioned the science of climate change and has close ties to the Koch family.
Want to help those impacted by tropical storm Harvey? Here’s how
The Heartland Institute, a prominent conservative group that produced a blueprint of cuts to the EPA that has been mirrored by the Trump administration’s budget, quoted a procession of figures from the worlds of economics, mathematics and engineering to ridicule the climate change dimension of Harvey.
“In the bizarro world of the climate change cultists … Harvey will be creatively spun to ‘prove’ there are dire effects linked to man-created climate change, a theory that is not proven by the available science,” said Bette Grande, a Heartland research fellow and a Republican who served in the North Dakota state legislature until 2014.
“Facts do not get in the way of climate change alarmism, and we will continue to fight for the truth in the months and years to come.”
Harvey was the most powerful storm to hit Texas in 50 years, but according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it is “premature” to conclude that there has already been an increase in Atlantic-born hurricanes due to temperatures that have risen globally, on average, by around 1C since the industrial revolution.
Scientists have also been reluctant to assign individual storms to climate change but recent research has sought to isolate global changes from natural variability in disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005.
However, researchers are also increasingly certain that the warming of the atmosphere and oceans is likely to fuel longer or more destructive hurricanes. A draft of the upcoming national climate assessment states there is “high confidence” that there will be an increase in the intensity and precipitation rates of hurricanes and typhoons in the Atlantic and Pacific as temperatures rise further.
Harvey may well fit that theory, according to climate scientist Kevin Trenberth, as the hurricane managed to turn from a tropical depression to a category four event in little more than two days, fed by a patch of the Gulf of Mexico that was up to 4C warmer than the long term average.
“When storms start to get going, they churn up water from deeper in the ocean and this colder water can slow them down,” said Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. “But if the upwelling water is warmer, it gives them a longer lifetime and larger intensity. There is now more ocean heat deep below the surface. The Atlantic was primed for an event like this.”
While the number of hurricanes may actually fall, scientists warn the remaining events will likely be stronger. A warmer atmosphere holds more evaporated water, which can fuel precipitation – Trenberth said as much as 30% of Harvey’s rainfall could be attributed to global warming. For lower-lying areas, the storm surge created by hurricanes is worsened by a sea level that is rising, on average, by around 3.5mm a year across the globe.
The oil and gas industry has sought to see off the threat in the Gulf of Mexico with taller platforms – post-Katrina, offshore rigs are around 90ft above sea levelcompared to 70ft in the 1990s – but the Houston, the epicenter of the industry, is considered vulnerable due to its relaxed approach to planning that has seen housing built in flood-prone areas.
Barack Obama’s administration established a rule that sought to flood-proof new federal infrastructure projects by demanding they incorporate the latest climate change science. Last week, Trump announced he would scrap the rule, provoking a rebuke from Carlos Curbelo, a Florida Republican congressman who called the move “irresponsible”.
Curbelo, who has attempted to rally Republicans to address climate change, wouldn’t comment on the climate change link to Harvey. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, Texas’s Republican senators, didn’t respond to questions on the climate link, nor did Abbott, the state’s governor, or Dan Patrick, Texas’s lieutenant governor. All four of the Texas politicians have expressed doubts over the broad scientific understanding that the world is warming and that human activity is the primary cause.
Is tropical storm Harvey linked to climate change?
“It’s essential to talk about climate change in relation to events like Hurricane Harvey and it’s sad a lot of reports don’t mention it in any way,” said Trenberth.
“You don’t want to overstate it but climate change is a contributor and is making storms more intense. A relatively small increase in intensity can do a tremendous amount of damage. It’s enough for thresholds to be crossed and for things to start breaking.”
These celebrities are proving laughter really is the best medicine:
#1 Maria Bamford
Photo: Natalie Brasington
In both her standup routines and now in her Netflix series Lady Dynamite, comedian Maria Bamford normalizes topics like bipolar depression, hospitalization, and obsessive thoughts. The series is a loosely biographical show based on her hospitalization for bipolar depression several years ago. She has said that the bipolar diagnosis was initially hard to digest: “I was surprised how prejudiced I was against myself.”
#2 Stephen Fry
Photo: Claire Newman-Williams
Stephen Fry is a comedian, screen actor, stage actor, game show host, radio personality, playwright, columnist, novelist, has been called a national treasure in his native England. His 2006 documentary The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive was widely praised for its honesty. Fry continues to speak honestly and openly about living with bipolar disorder.
#3 Russell Brand
Photo: Eva Rinaldi / CC BY-SA 2.0
A British comedian, activist and actor. In 2012 he celebrated 12 years being sober (no alcohol or drugs). Having been diagnosed with both bipolar disorder and ADHD, Brand often talks about living with bipolar in his performances and his writing. “Sometimes, as a comedian, a line will come to you, that is so beautiful, so perfect, that you think: I did not create this line. This line belongs to all of us. Surely this is a line of God.”
#4 Ruby Wax
Ruby Wax is an American/British actress, comedienne, mental health campaigner, and author. She became well known after starring in the sitcom Girls on Top (1985-86). In 2010 her and stand-up comic show Losing It deals with her experience of bipolar. Her show played in London for a year; in response to the audience reaction from the show, she founded the mental health website www.sane.org.uk. Her memoir, How Do You Want Me? (2002), reached the Sunday Times best-seller list.
#5 Victoria Maxwell
Photo: Peter Holst
Victoria Maxwell is an award-winning actress and playwright and has worked alongside David Duchovny, John Travolta and Johnny Depp, among others. After her diagnosis of bipolar disorder, anxiety & psychosis, she became extremely proactive in her recovery. In her acclaimed one-woman show Crazy for Life, that has toured internationally, Maxwell combines her acting background and sense of humor to give an insider’s perspective to mental illness.
In both her standup routines and now in her Netflix series Lady Dynamite, comedian Maria Bamford normalizes topics like bipolar depression, hospitalization, and obsessive thoughts.
I’ve been a loyal fan of comic Maria Bamford’s ever since watching her ingeniously frank and vulnerable web series The Maria Bamford Show. In it, she highlights her personal struggles with depression and anxiety while acting as herself and a panoply of other characters—including members of her quirky Midwestern family, who feature prominently in much of her comedy.
Created in 2007, the low-budget series springs from the comedian’s self-proclaimed worst fear: moving back to Minnesota to live with her parents after a mental health crisis. Life imitated art a few years later when—having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder II and hospitalized for severe depression—Maria did in fact find herself back in Duluth.
Coming full circle, art imitates life in this year’s scripted comedy series Lady Dynamite. The “Netflix original” is loosely based on the period around Maria’s bipolar diagnosis and post-hospitalization recovery. The first season cuts back and forth between Duluth and Los Angeles, illness and wellness, hospitalization and high-end real estate acquisition, depression and hypomania, success and failure, love and loss.
Like her character, Maria lives in L.A. The 46-year-old now shares a home with her husband, artist Scott Marvel Cassidy, and their three pugs, Blueberry, Betty and Arnold.
Maria has been labeled a “cult comedian,” an “alternative comedian,” and “a comedian’s comedian.” (Marc Maron described her as “the best comic in the country,” and Stephen Colbert introduced her as his “favorite comedian on planet Earth.”) Maria’s alternative comedy has hit the mainstream, however—so much so that you can stream her on your service of choice.
There’s the 2005 Comedy Central documentary The Comedians of Comedy, which follows Maria, Patton Oswalt, Zach Galifianakis, and Brian Posehn on tour. There’s her 2012 stand-up solo concert Maria Bamford: The Special Special Special!, performed in her living room before a captivated audience of two: her parents.
Then there are her recurring guest roles on shows like Louie and Arrested Development. After launching her stand-up career at age 19 in Minneapolis, Maria branched into acting in her late 20s. Her face may be most familiar to the general public from Target’s Christmas ads a few years running.
She’s also lent her versatile voice to a dizzying roster of animated characters on Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time, Nickelodeon’s The Legend of Korra, the PBS series WordGirl, and many other series.
And now, of course, there’s Lady Dynamite. The show has received acclaim from the likes of the New York Times (“a layered, surreal sitcom of mental illness”), Variety (“an amusing combination of humane wisdom and goofy wit”), and Rolling Stone (“easily one of the most unique, dynamic shows of the year so far”).
If you haven’t seen it yet, be warned: Lady Dynamite is bona fide binge bait. I started watching on a Saturday morning with the intention of catching one or maybe two episodes. Six hours later, I was still on the couch.
What I love most about Maria isn’t her inimitable comedic genius or her seemingly endless array of hilarious voices. Rather, it’s her singular comedic voice, boldly shattering stigma and discrimination with every note. By finding the humor in her experiences with bipolar and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Maria is helping to change the way our society views mental illness.
Talking with Maria in person (or rather, by phone) is like absorbing one of those word-heavy, Neo-Expressionist Basquiat masterpieces. At once on point and all over the place, precise and chaotic, Maria’s speech is in itself a work of art.
Here’s some of what she had to say during our hour-long conversation, edited for length and clarity—and her sometimes salty language.
Question: You weren’t diagnosed with bipolar II until you were 40. What was that like?
I was surprised how prejudiced I was against myself. They tell you it’s the brain chemistry also working its magic, but I was really surprised at how resistant I was to going on a mood stabilizer, taking any time off of work, acknowledging that I needed to be hospitalized.
I remember my psychiatrist said, “You’re talking way too fast. You need to be on a mood stabilizer.” And I was just like, “What are you talking about?” I was just so angry. I didn’t want to go on the meds. It wasn’t until it got bad enough to where I was starting to feel unsafe by myself that I reconsidered.
Q: How are you doing now?
I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar II for roughly the past five years now. I had seen tons of psychiatrists and when I think about it, I’m sure had I been on [mood stabilizers] a lot earlier, I would have been able to miss out on a bunch of major episodes of depression.
And at the same time, I think, “Well, you know, I’m really happy with my life, with what my life has been.” So it’s kind of hard to say . . . but now I feel much more enjoyment in life.
Q: What does self-care look like for you?
Music, exercise and reading. I meditate every day, and I go to a bunch of 12-step fellowships. I get a ton of help there. I’ve been to DA [Debtors Anonymous], UA [Underearners Anonymous], SLAA [Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous], Alanon, AA [Alcoholics Anonymous] and OA [Overeaters Anonymous] as a visitor. They have online and phone meetings, and that makes it easy if I’m out of town.
I don’t believe in God, but I believe in the miraculous human spirit of transformation when people help each other. And it’s free!
Friends and family are hugely helpful, and I’ll always call my psychiatrist if things get dicey. I get all the help that’s on offer. … I hope that if I had a relapse, I’d have the courage and willingness to go into the hospital.
Q: Speaking of hospitals, I love your idea of creating a travel guide app for psychiatric facilities!
Oh, yeah! I don’t have the energy or the time, but I’m all for anyone who wants to take the idea and run with it!
When I checked into [a psychiatric facility] in Pasadena—of course it is a hospital, a psychiatric setting, and I know it’s not going to be like a Shangri-La, but they did say on their website that they had a swimming pool and that they had yoga and all this stuff. And they did not. So yeah, it would be great just to have something like a hotels.com for psychiatric facilities.
Q: Was it like the hospital scenes in Lady Dynamite?
There were no games, there was no group, there was no vision boarding, there was nothing. Like you are sitting there with a tower of Family Circle magazines from the late ’80s, covered in dust.
Q: So true! They always have the worst magazines! By the way, I was thrilled to read that you’re a bp Magazinesubscriber.
I think I’ve gotten it for three years now, and I just love it. My favorite features are where they interview just regular people living their lives, showing that recovery is possible even without every possible advantage in health care and support.
Q: I’m curious: What’s your take on the adult coloring book fad? People seem to find it meditative and even therapeutic.
I’m just so grateful that anyone is doing something solitary and peaceful. I think that it’s just a really safe way to be creative, you know. And I think it shows how much people want to be creative, but they feel overwhelmed by this idea that you have to be good at it. I mean, remember paint-by-numbers?
Q: Of course! Who could forget!
Well, that has been around for a long time, and I think, yes, it’s relaxing, and yes, it’s a safe way to feel creative and to feel like, “Well, I’m gonna make something that somebody’s going to find at least somewhat attractive.” So there’s not as much painful risk involved.
Like, my dad just took a watercolor class and the [crap] that he got from his fellow watercolorers, ladies in their 60s, was unbelievable. Like just saying, “Uh, yeah, you have to put a background on that,” and, “You might want to keep painting that over and over again.”
And he’s like, “No, I just want to paint this boot.” And he painted his boot, and we framed it. He sent me Boot, and then he sent me Clock, because he painted a clock as well.
But there’s just a tremendous amount of peer pressure with creativity. People can have very strong opinions and can be nasty, even people from Duluth! … Of course, my dad didn’t feel it, but I felt so enraged on his behalf. I was just like, who are these [witches]?
Q: At one point you were seeing a therapist weekly. Is that still the case?
My husband and I see our couples therapist. I’ve been in therapy since I was 11, so I feel like if there’s an issue, then my husband and I go to couples therapy and then I go to all my groups, and I think that’s enough.
And everybody, all my friends and family, I’ve told them, “Hey, if I start talking too fast and want to get in touch with the Pope, call a purple van and have ’em take me to doggy day care, ’cause I need to be boarded for the weekend.”
Q: Speaking of the Pope, I know your mom is quite devout. How has she reacted to your lack of faith?
She’s a very liberal Christian. She’s like an Eileen Fisher Christian. She’s wearing long [skirts]; she’s wearing a pop of color in her glasses, and buying organic. That’s the kind of Christian she is.
But yeah, I’m sure she would love it if I were more interested. It’s so funny because our whole family is all into different philosophies of how life works. I’m more into the 12 steps, my dad’s into this thing called “core values,” and my sister, she does life coach stuff.
I believe in human beings. I feel like it’s amazing that we all come up with ways to help each other, and that anything has ever been discovered. I mean, it’s a miracle that I’m alive today. I’m sure I would’ve Virginia Woolf-ed it many years ago had I had no medical intervention.
Q: Your comedy has done so much to destigmatize mental illness and address social issues. Do you consider yourself an activist?
Well, I don’t know. I feel like in order to be an activist I’d have to have a stronger work ethic and more training and wear meaningful T-shirts every day. But yeah, I know I was born sliding into home plate.
My parents paid for my care and education up to the age of 22. I have had every advantage possible, and it’s still been hard, so I just cannot even imagine how hard it would be [without those privileges] … you just start to realize, “Oh, this really is biased.”
Q: Do you think being a woman in the boys’ club of comedy has helped make you more sensitive to injustice and discrimination?
I’m sure that it has because [the discrimination] is so shocking, and you feel like, “Oh, am I imagining it?” Like, am I imagining it that none of these guys will talk to me at this club even though I’m working here, too? This was when I was starting out. It’s just not very flattering hearing, “Great set. Uh, are you doing anything later on? I’d love to give you some notes.” And I’m thinking, “You know what? I don’t think I really want any of your notes.”
Q: Do you have a regular creative routine?
No, I don’t. I wish I did. One thing that has helped me is to rehearse with friends, fellow creatives. I’ll “bookend,” which means I call or text before and after doing just five-minute segments of rehearsing. Because I seriously will not do it if it’s a giant chunk of something. I’ll just never start, so now I’ve started just doing five minutes. I’m sure it will go to one minute at some point.
But just to feel like I’m celebrating it with somebody else makes it more fun. Because now that I know that the money and prestige isn’t fulfilling or that it doesn’t really make a difference creatively, the main thing is just to keep going and just make it more fun.
With strength and grace, these sporting legends are using their own personal experiences to create awareness and break down the stigma that surrounds mental illness.
#1 Chamique Holdsclaw
This former basketball superstar and Olympic gold medalist was initially diagnosed with major depression in 2004, but was re-diagnosed with bipolar disorder when her antidepressants triggered her mania and sent her into over-the-top spending sprees. Her message to others living with bipolar: “I want them to understand it can get better. I went through a period when I had no hope, when I didn’t want to be here,” she revealed to bp Magazine. “I hope they see my journey and get inspired to keep moving forward every day … and utilize the resources around them.” Read more about Chamique Holdsclaw
#2 Amanda Beard
The former Olympic swimmer has battled bulimia, unhealthy relationships, drug abuse, clinical depression, and self-harm. “Some days, it was hard to just get out of bed,” Beard told Esperanza Magazine-HopeToCope.com. “There were all these great things going on in my life, but on the inside, I hated everything about me.” Her life turned around when she found therapy and antidepressants.
#3 Keith O’Neil
The former NFL linebacker has a long history battling heavy drinking, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and major manic episodes until finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder. “I was mentally in a cold, dark, sad place and no one could help me,” O’Neil told bp Magazine. “Finding the right medications, along with my faith, has made all the difference in the world.” He’s now tackling stigma and helping to raise awareness to mental health. Read more about Keith O’Neil
#4 Dorothy Hamill
This Olympic figure skating legend was diagnosed with depression in 1993 and has a strong familial history of anxiety and depression. She advises that having a core support group, medication, and therapy helped her find happiness. She is now a motivational speaker for mental health sufferers. “I think it’s important for people to know that just because it looks like everything’s fabulous on the outside, it isn’t always.” Read more about Dorothy Hamill
#5 Suzy Favor Hamilton
The former Olympic runner harbored intense hypersexuality linked with her bipolar I disorder and suffered from intense peripartum depression. “In my case, my bipolar was driving me toward sex. It could have just as easily have been driving me toward drugs and alcohol or gambling,” she told bp Magazine. “The message, though, is that it can be treated if diagnosed correctly, with the help of medical people and family and friends. There is hope, and I’m living proof.’’ Read more about Suzy Favor Hamilton
#6 Clint Malarchuk
The former NHL goaltender is perhaps best known for having his neck slashed with another player’s skate blade during a game in 1989, almost killing him. Following this he was plagued by PTSD, alcoholism, OCD and a suicide attempt, until finally pulling himself out of depression with medication, talk therapy and meditation. “I realize now that playing hockey gave me the platform for my real purpose—to raise awareness of mental illness, and to help reduce the stigma surrounding depression and anxiety so that no one has to feel alone.” Read more about Clint Malarchuk
#7 Terry Bradshaw
While celebrated as an NFL star quarterback, Bradshaw is also a broadcaster, writer, musician and actor. He was diagnosed with clinical depression in 1999 after experiencing anxiety attacks, anger problems, drinking issues and sleeplessness. He now maintains his mental health with medication, therapy and faith. “You know what, I’m not ashamed of who I am,” he told Esperanza Magazine-HopeToCope.com. “It’s the way I was made. I just got some issues here, and I dealt with them. And I’m proud of it.”
Compelling storylines for main television characters with bipolar disorder continue to gain popularity on the small screen, helping to reduce stigma and normalize mental illness.
Now going into its 16th season, the Canadian teen drama has tackled a range of social issues such as AIDS, alcoholism, abortion, bullying, gay rights and eating disorders. No surprise, then, that it’s had characters with bipolar disorder: musician Craig Manning (Jake Epstein), a regular from 2002–2006, and Eli Goldsworthy (Munro Chambers), who was introduced in 2010.
#2 General Hospital
Breaking ground in daytime TV, this ABC soap opera revealed in a 2006 plot arc that longtime character “Sonny” Corinthos has bipolar—as does actor Maurice Benard, who plays the mob boss. The diagnosis provided context for Sonny’s dark moods, unpredictable temper, and self-destructive tendencies dating back to the character’s introduction in 1993. Over the years the show has built a surprisingly realistic portrait of someone with bipolar, touching on his treatment, lapses in medication compliance, and symptomatic episodes. A 2013 storyline revolved around an emotional crisis after Sonny went off his meds.
Renewed for a sixth season, this award-winning and ground-breaking political thriller on Showtime stars Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison, a CIA operations officer in counterterrorism. The character’s bipolar disorder was made clear when the show debuted in 2011. It plays an important role in the plot, both indirectly (as when Carrie uses the heightened focus of hypomania to figure things out) and directly (as when she is hospitalized and discredited in Season 3 as part of a plan to infiltrate an Iranian terrorist organization).
The Showtime series features a father (William H. Macy) who is alcoholic while his family of five struggle to get by financially. The comedy-drama also includes an estranged mom and son, Ian (Cameron Monaghan) who both have bipolar. Although the mother is a recurring character, Ian is one of the main characters and his mental illness starts to reveal itself in the fourth season, displaying intense mania, reckless and impulsive behavior, hypersexuality, and devastating depression. The show continues for its seventh season in October of 2016.
Andre (Trai Byers), the eldest son of the Lyon family has bipolar disorder. Educated and intelligent, he is the CFO of the family business Empire Entertainment, and was portrayed as high functioning by taking his medication to manage his brain-based disorder. However, out of anger toward his father, Andre flushes his medication and spirals into a breakdown. In the first season, Andre’s mother learns of her son’s previous bipolar diagnosis.
#6 Lady Dynamite
The Netflix comedy launched in 2016, starring stand-up comedian/actress Maria Bamford as herself, portraying her misadventures in Los Angeles after spending six months in recovery and attempts to rebuild her life while having consistent flashbacks on Maria’s backstory and her relationships with her family and friends.
There are many worthy films about mental illness that inspire, inform and entertain. Here, we narrow down the list to nine movies featuring a lead character with bipolar disorder that you don’t want to miss!
#1 The Ghost and the Whale (2016)
Maurice Benard (Sonny of General Hospital) stars as Joseph Hawthorne, a man whose wife was lost overboard when they were sailing. The mystery of what really happened divides his town, makes enemies of his wife’s family, and draws the attention of a journalist. Joseph’s untreated bipolar leads to mania, melancholia, and discussions on the beach with a gray whale (voiced by Jonathan Pryce). Benard and his wife, Paula, produced the thriller. [click here to watch the trailer]
#2 Touched With Fire (2015)
Two people, each having bipolar (expertly played by Katie Holmes and Luke Kirby), meet in a psychiatric hospital and fall in love. Directed by Paul Dalio and produced by Spike Lee, Touched With Fire captures the intensity of their romance and the ebb and flow of beautiful highs and tormented lows. [click here to watch the trailer]
#3 Infinitely Polar Bear (2014)
Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana play a mixed-race couple raising two daughters in 1970s Boston. The father doesn’t work because of his bipolar disorder, so the mother decides to accept a scholarship to graduate school in New York City so she can make more money for the family. The kids are left with their dad, who gives them lots of love but doesn’t always make the best parenting decisions. Writer and director Maya Forbes based the story on her own childhood. [click here to watch the trailer]
#4 Repentance (2013)
Forest Whitaker plays to stereotype in this psychological thriller. His character, a family man who also has bipolar disorder, is thrown off balance after his mother’s sudden death and he fixates on a self-help guru (played by Anthony Mackie) who has secrets in his past. Whitaker, who produced the violent drama, has said he was trying to explore loss, pain, healing, and the core of humanity in tortured souls. [click here to watch the trailer]
#5 Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
This romantic drama-comedy puts a sympathetic character with bipolar front and center—and surrounds him with other characters grappling with their own disorders. Bradley Cooper plays Pat Solitano, who is trying to get his life back together after a court-ordered psychiatric hospitalization. The main plotline concerns Pat’s efforts to win back his ex-wife by agreeing to enter a dance competition (it’s complicated). His dance partner, played by Jennifer Lawrence, is a widow whose grief led to a sex addiction. And his father, played by Robert De Niro, has obsessive-compulsive tendencies and a gambling problem that drives a lot of the action. Director David O. Russell says he was attracted to the project because his son has bipolar. [click here to watch the trailer]
#6 The Informant! (2009)
The Informant! is based on the saga of real life corporate whistleblower Mark Whitacre, played by Matt Damon. Whitacre was involved in a price-fixing scheme at the agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland. He agreed to tape his colleagues for the FBI— part of his own grandiose scheme to win promotion. The stress of his undercover ordeal worsened Whitacre’s bipolar disorder, which was later diagnosed and treated. [click here to watch the trailer]
#7 Michael Clayton (2007)
George Clooney takes center stage as the title character, a “fixer” for a New York law firm, but an attorney having a bipolar episode triggers the action in this thriller. When Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson) rants in court against the huge corporation his firm is defending in a class action suit, the firm sends Clayton to handle the situation. Clayton knows Edens has bipolar and has stopped taking his medications. When Edens later says his phone is being tapped, Clayton dismisses it as paranoia. After Edens is found dead, apparently of suicide, Clayton’s suspicions grow and he begins to investigate the corporate cover-up. [click here to watch the trailer]
#8 Mad Love (1995)
A somewhat sensationalized depiction of the highs and lows of bipolar, with Drew Barrymore playing a high school student who has been hospitalized after a suicide attempt. Her boyfriend (Chris O’Donnell) helps her escape and tries to cope with her increasingly intense emotions and actions as they head toward Mexico. In the end they return to Seattle, where she is readmitted to the psychiatric hospital and ultimately gets better. [click here to watch the trailer]
A surprisingly insightful portrait of euphoria, mania and depression as experienced by the main character, played by Richard Gere. Most of the movie involves his hospitalization and treatment by a psychiatrist (Lena Olin) who begins an unethical romantic relationship with him. There was a disconnect between the film’s sensitivity and its marketing tagline, though: “Everything that makes him dangerous makes her love him more.” [click here to watch the trailer]