If you’ve been following our blogs, then you may recall our piece a few weeks back about films that are offering inspiration for addiction survivors. Well for every ying there is a yang, and this week there are a handful of movies being called out for just the opposite. Over on Netflix, two films in particular have been singled out for being insensitive about the topic of mental illness.
Interestingly, the two movies in question happen to be the most popular offerings on the platform right now. Bird Box stars Oscar winner Sandra Bullock and received roughly 45 million views over this holiday month. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (the other film in question) has been dominating social media as well, but both cover very dark subject matter.
Bird Box has been criticized for “demonizing” mental illness. The plot concerns invisible monsters who encourage victims to take their own lives. That alone is a very touchy subject and it has been said that the way these suicides are handled leave a lot to be desired. What’s worse though, is that people suffering from mental illness become the villains in this movie and actually contribute to the killings.
The website Popbuzz did an admirable job of summarizing the Twitter backlash (posted below).
One day we’re gonna talk about how #BirdBox weponized mental Illness and contributes to the phobia of people with mental illness…
— Freak Man Freak Man, Yea dats Me… (@RamCity) December 24, 2018
Spoiler alert: can we talk about bird box? Did anyone else notice the blatant demonization of mental illness in this flick?
— Stargazer Brad (@thepeaceofrome) December 25, 2018
if u suffer from anxiety or have any kind of suicidal thoughts DO NOT WATCH bird box. the movie is basically about mass suicide and it’s very disturbing i couldn’t even make it halfway through
— aku lovebot (@nolonqerhuman) December 24, 2018
Black Mirror isn’t faring much better with fans. The website The Mighty focused on that film, saying the plot features insensitive call outs to psychosis, delusions, paranoia and trauma (not to mention lots of blood and gore).
Though the Black Mirror backlash isn’t quite as intense as the Sandra Bullock movie, site writer Elizabeth Cassidy did mention that a warning should be issued before viewers click “Play.” And to her point…Despite the fact that these may be “trendy” films of the moment, you have every right to turn them away and encourage others to do the same.
“It’s OK to skip Bandersnatch if you’re sensitive to these topics,” Cassidy wrote. “Your health and safety are more important than the latest trendy show or movie. If you want to watch the movie but are concerned it might be too much, try watching it with someone you trust.”