Recommendations

2019 Top Picks!

These are our 2019 Top Picks that portray mental health issues with compassion and accuracy.  The following are endorsed by Julie Ridge, LCSW-R, President and Founder. (last updated: January, 2020)

TOP BROADWAY SHOWS of 2019!

  • Still on Top!  Dear Evan Hansen.“Winner of SIX 2017 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. A teenager wrought with social anxiety becomes an unwitting high school hero after the suicide of a classmate. This intimate musical touches on the delicacy of parenting, the all-consuming creature known as the internet, and our desperate need for connection.  Few Broadway shows, least of all musicals, are as psychologically accurate or strike as powerful an emotional chord as Dear Evan Hansen.
  • The Inheritance Parts I and II – an absolute must see!  Warm, touching, funny and important.  Includes a history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic,  and much much more.  My TOP PICK for the 2020 Tony Awards for Best Play and every category of acting it is nominated for!  The Inheritance is playing at the Barrymore Theatre, New York, NY.

BEST MOVIES of 2019!

  • My number ONE Pick for 2019 is Peanut Butter Falcon, starring Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, and introducing Zack Gottesagen, an adult with Downs Syndrome.  Hysterically funny, incredibly well acted, accurate and loving, Falcon is triumphant!  Sadly, this will probably not be nominated for any Academy Awards this year, though it’s deserving of many.  Mental health concerns included are neurodevelopmental disorders and posttraumatic-stress disorder.
  • Love Gilda, is a loving, funny, touching documentary about the brilliant and extraordinary talent known as Gilda Radner.  Gilda battled anorexia for much of her life.  Available to stream and on DVD.
  • Far From the Tree, documentary based on stories from Andrew Solomon’s book of the same name.  This wonderful movie touches on the lives of individuals living with disabilities and neurodevelopmental disorders.
  • The Honey Boy is a daring feature, starring Lucas Hedges, Shia LaBeouf, and Noah Jupe, produced by Shia LaBeouf.  Honey Boy is the autobiographical story about LaBeouf’s childhood and troubling yet loving relationship with his father.  LaBeouf portrays his father.  Finding accurate and responsible movies about addiction is difficult – this film explores heritability, addictions connection with childhood trauma, and the lifetime struggle involved in staying clean and sober.
  • MARK YOUR CALENDARS for the 12th Annual ReelAbilities Film Festival, Celebrating Different Abilities through Film, March 31 – April 7, 2020.  Learn more at reelabilities.org/newyork.  For the third straight year, I’ve had the honor of being on the film selection committee.  The movies get better and better each season.  Not to be missed!

Best Television in 2019:

  • When they See Us, perhaps the most moving, compelling, and heart-rending mini-series I’ve ever seen, details the tragic life courses of the five teens who were accused and wrongly convicted of the brutal rape and beating of the Central Park jogger.  Posttraumatic-stress disorder runs rampant.
  • The fresh and mind-bending MindHunters is based on the FBI detectives who coined the term “serial Killer” and set out to solve crimes by interviewing serial killers in maximum security prisons.  Don’t worry – they don’t actually show any of the killings, this is not a violent show.  Instead, it is entirely a fascinating, brilliantly acted, psychological thriller.
  • Fosse/Verdon starring Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams profiles the extraordinary talents of Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon.  Fosse lived with serious addictions and bipolar disorder.  You don’t have to adore musical comedy and the history of some of the greatest shows Broadway has ever seen to love this mini-series.
  • New Amsterdam a hospital series now in it’s second season, portrays the ideal psychiatry unit. Psychiatrists are human and compassionate – the kind we wish we could easily find.  The vast array of disorders profiled are real and honestly depicted as well. the 2019 season took on some extremely difficult disorders – e.g. childhood sociopathy. 
  • Law & Order SVU about to enter an unprecidented 20th season, continues to address mental health conditions reliably and compassionately.
  • Now in its third season on CBS, Bull, starring Michael Weatherly profiles numerous episodes featuring people with a varitey of mental illness. The show is about jury ‘science’ and inspires thought about our entire legal system.
  • The third season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel doesn’t feature any overt mental health disorders.  But it might just be the best medicine for depression ever!

Favorite Book discoveries of the year:

  • Cracked but not Broken,” by Kevin Hines, c. 2013.  A moving, raw and real memoir by a man who survived his Golden Gate Bridge jump.  A book for anyone who has ever considered suicide, lost a loved one to suicide or whose life has been touched by suicide.
  • A Long Way Home,” by Saroo Brierly, c. 2013.  An incredible journey of resilience and fortitude beautifully told by the boy who lived it.  Made into the major motion picture “Lion” starring the incredible Dev Patel.
  • To Siri with Love,” a mother’s ode to her child with autism, by Judith Newman.  Newman captures the very human side of the struggle of navigating the world for her son, on an NYC budget.  Punctuated with heart and humor.  A great read.  c. 2017.
  • Marbles, mania, depression, Michelangelo & me,” by Ellen Forney.  In this dazzling graphic novel Forney captures life inside bipolar, the doubts and questions, and the long winding road to balance.  c. 2014. 

Ongoing best website:

www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org. The Treatment Advocacy Center, founded by Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, one of the world’s foremost research psychiatrists, specializing in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. His web site provides a plethora of global information and resources on all mental health conditions.