Sometimes It’s Just A Leonardo DiCaprio Kind Of Day: The Aviator

Accidents!  Hahaha. Have no idea how it happened, but this piece posted – just the title!  So here I am. Back and ready for take-off.  

Forget Silver Linings Playbook.  I know people raved about that film, but it didn’t do much for me. The depiction of two people, both with a diagnosed psychiatric disorder, their romance, the happy ending, left a superficial taste in my mouth. It was a fairy tale. I suppose it helped bring Mental Illness into the spotlight, but through rose-colored lenses. The happy ending was especially annoying because we know when we have such diseases seldom are the endings happy. Rather, we are caught up in a storm that ruins relationships with spouses, lovers and children and friends and co-workers (If we have any). The scars are permanent on all of those involved.  And the biggest challenge is the daily search for equilibrium and minimizing the wounds of the psyche. 

So Silver Linings Playbook, for me, at least, was comparable to daytime soap operas – the sanitized version of “life,” which is nothing more than an escape route into sentimentality, presenting perfectly painted faces – no scars, no stained teeth, because who wants to go to a movie and see that, anyway?

Actually, I do. 

Films such as Trainspotting, for example, which I can only revisit once every 3 years because of the intensity of the subject depicted there – despite its cinematic brilliance and writing, its balance between the tragic and scatalogical humor, the incredible acting – especially appeal to me.

But then we come across a film like The Aviator, which although now more than 10 years old, more closely approximates the struggle, confusion, and eccentricities of an actual person who clearly is not normal, but this, in no way compromises, the gifts of such a person. And which, if it had occurred in the present climate of psychiatry, the essential spirit of that person would be suppressed until that spark could no longer be expressed because they would be heavily medicated and perhaps even institutionalized indefinitely. 

The are the Visionaries – right?  Those whose contributions often lead to dramatic and revolutionary breakthroughs, despite their Mental Illness, in any field imaginable, or more precisely …  That not yet imagined by anyone else …  

They are the fighters, the determined ones who keep going despite adversity, to reach for and make tangible what is intangible. The ones who never abandon or betray their visions. 

The Aviator is all about that. And Leonardo, one of the finest actors around, never fails to deliver an exceptional performance. 

So if you are interested in a more honest portrayal of Mental Illness, I’d put my money on this film, and not Silver Linings Playbook, any day. 

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6 thoughts on “Sometimes It’s Just A Leonardo DiCaprio Kind Of Day: The Aviator

    1. Sure! A “respected” psychiatrist posted a piece about “us” on LinkedIn and used Silver Linings Playbook, among other distorted examples, to verify the social progress we have made toward understanding these medical conditions, and I ripped through every example he used, especially the Hollywood Happy Endings Bunch. It’s interesting how these experts are essentially useless (meant to say “clueless” but auto-correct replaced it with “useless,” which works for me) when it comes to actually understanding what we experience, and are often the most vehement stigma group, as they persist to believe they know what they do not know. If they could just put their inflated egos aside temporarily and actually LISTEN, they might learn something.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, that’s awesome! And good for you for ripping through all the “pretty stuff!” Well done! 🙂

        You know, I can’t say that I’m surprised he used “Silver Linings” as his go-to mental health movie – typical – but also unfortunate (and kinda a**-backwards, really.) While I’ll admit that I enjoyed the movie to a certain degree; it didn’t fully resonate with me or leave any kind of lasting impression. I found it quite “fluffy.” Life isn’t always that pretty. In fact, most of the time it’s not. Long story short – I wasn’t “moved.”

        Now, movies like “Trainspotting” (as you mentioned), and “Requiem for a Dream” are on a whole other level – they’re real, raw, brutally honest, and difficult to watch – almost as if they’re their own genre of horror. But, that’s exactly why I’m still impressed by them years later. No sugar-coating there, that’s for sure. Quite frankly, I thought Ellen Burstyn was robbed of an Oscar that year. But “Requiem” wasn’t a pretty movie. Generally speaking, most people want to leave the movie theater with a smile on their face, not a pit in their stomach, you know?

        I don’t wanna spill the beans just yet, but if you haven’t already seen “Cake” or “Still Alice,” maybe give them a look? I’d love to hear your thoughts about them.
        Let me know when you get a chance. Thanks! 🙂

        I know, I know… I have diarrhea of the mouth, haha… but lastly, I wholeheartedly agree with you, once again. LISTENING is becoming a lost art, especially with regards to those of whom we’re supposed to respect, admire, and most importantly, TRUST!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, and that, unfortunately, is a skill they do not possess, since they are too busy aligning diagnostic codes rather than looking and listening at what you have to say. Requiem For A Dream was incredibly brutal in its honesty, and as you said, people want to come out feeling good, however distorted the subject is – but as long as it fits into their formula, well that’s all that matters to them.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. So, so true. The good ones are few and far between, unfortunately.

        My original point was supposed to be about “The Aviator,” haha. Whoops! I meant to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and how it portrayed the struggle with OCD. It really hit home for me. One of the most realistic examples I’ve honestly ever seen. “The way of the future” is a line that I won’t soon forget.

        Liked by 1 person

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