Most of the films about occupational therapy are documentaries or educational videos….tools of the trade. So it might surprise you to learn that there are a few good comedies and dramas out there that feature pivotal Occupational Therapy roles. When viewed chronologically, they present a unique perspective on attitudes towards healthcare issues and occupational therapy throughout the decades. So buy, rent, borrow or download a copy of one or more of the following movies… grab the popcorn and the remote….and enjoy our top OT-related picks!
“The Snake Pit” (1948), directed by Anatole Litvak and starring Olivila de Havilland, Mark Stevens and Leo Genn. The story of an apparently schizophrenic woman, her sometimes harrowing treatment, including OT, at a private insane asylum and the doctor who eventually restores her mental health.
“Lilith” (1964), the last film of writer/director Robert Rossen and starring Jean Seberg, Warren Beatty, Peter Fonda and Gene Hackman. Returning Korean War vet, Vincent (Beatty), works as an OT at an insane asylum for the wealthy, falls in love with an inmate (Seberg) resulting in tragedy for all.
“Birdy” (1984), directed by Alan Parker and starring Matthew Modine, Nicholas Cage and John Harkins. Two high school buddies return from Vietnam, one with physical injuries and the other with schizophrenia and/or PTSD and mute. Birdy (Modine) ends up in a military psych hospital where none of the treatment methods, including OT, seem to help. His friend Al (Cage) is then asked as a last resort to help in Birdy’s recovery.
“Regarding Henry” (1991), directed by Mike Nichols and starring Harrison Ford and Annette Bening. Ford plays Henry Turner, a ruthless and callous lawyer whose professional and personal life is changed forever by a bullet to his brain during a robbery.
Henry survives the TBI, but is transformed into a kinder, gentler version of himself in the process, in part due to the OT administered by his wife and especially by his young daughter, played by Mikki Allen.
“Office Space” (1999), directed by Mike Judge, and starring Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston and David Herman. A comedy about what happens to a software company drone, Peter, when his OT drops dead before the end of a hypnotherapy session. Still half-hypnotized, he changes everything about his life’s trajectory, including his girlfriend.
“Adam” (2009), directed by Max Mayer and starring Hugh Dancy, Rose Byrne, Peter Gallagher and Amy Irving. A young man with Aspberger’s Syndrome develops a unique relationship with his beautiful upstairs neighbor. The film is a must see for students and professionals alike to understand the manifestations of Aspberger’s and other high functioning ASD syndromes and how to treat these patients.
“Temple Grandin” (2010), an award winning TV movie, directed by Mike Jackson and starring Claire Danes, Julia ormond and David Strathairn. This is a biopic of Temple Grandin who became a top scientist in humane animal husbandry, in spite of and because of her autism. Grandin was also the creator of the ‘hug box’ or ‘squeeze box’ a deep pressure device that is used to this day to calm the hypersensitivity of autistic patients.
“Another Year” (2010), this is a British comedy/drama, directed by Mike Leigh and starring Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen and Lesley Manville. It follows a year in the life of a happily married older professional couple who seem to be surrounded by friends and colleagues in various levels of unhappiness. Sometime during the year, their 30 year old son starts a promising, personal relationship with an occupational therapist to the dismay of one of his mother’s co-workers.
“A Mile in His Shoes” (2011), another made for TV movie, directed by William Dear and starring Luke Schroder, Dean Cain and George Canyon. Set in 1948, the movie tells the trials and triumphs of Mickey Tussler, an autistic with pitching abilities, who is brought on to a minor league baseball team by its manager, Arthur Murphy. By the end of the film “Murph” and the entire team have been transformed in the process. and Mickey goes from tossing apples to his pigs as therapy to tossing baseballs as an occupation.
Let us know your own favorite “OT” film, and if inspired to search for your own fresh challenges in the field contact Centra at 800 535 0076 and let us help you find your new “starring role”.