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Mental Illness: Major Films   no photo.
TitleLarry (1974) (TV Film)
Alternative/Original Title
DisabilityMental
CountryUSA
Length78
GenreDrama
Rating3
DirectorWilliam A. Graham
CastFrederic Forrest Tyne Daly Michael McGuire Robert Walden Katherine Helmond Ted Lange
NotesThe first 20 minutes are better than one would expect. Even Tyne Daly, before her TV cop series, is good. This isn't a film about someone who is mentally ill but a man (Federick Forrest) who since birth has lived in a mental hospital. The clinical judgement made when Daly starts to help him is that he acts mentally disturbed through mimicry. The other patients have been his role models. (no mention made of the staff he associated with). Therefore his education is not of someone mentally ill but more like that of the 'Wild Child' in Truffaut's film. Nothing is made in the film of what constitutes mental illness when a 'normal' person could be defined as being mentally ill. We simply see the evolution of Forrest until he disappears into the outside world. There is some illustration of the difficulties faced by the mentally ill moving from institutionalisation onto the streets but since Forrest is not mentally ill, or has learning difficulties he is successful in ways a real patient might not be. I'm not sure how one decides if a person is in a mental institution rightly or wrongly since the basis of their confinement is often so nebulous. The history of mental care is pretty horrendous in its cruel vagaries. Though now that we have mental patients thrown out onto the streets this film might instruct us in how well they cope. Not simply because they have mental problems but because they have had all responsibility for themselves taken away for so long.

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