Take Shelter

Last night, I saw Take Shelter, a new film by Mike Nichols that depicts the terrifying realization in the adult son of a schizophrenic mother that he may be afflicted by the disorder as well. The film, beautifully shot to capture the dark, frightening mood of an approaching colossal storm, speaks to some profound realities of how schizophrenia not only affects perception but also the relationships that the schizophrenic holds most dear. It also shows how it is precisely those relationships that can help the person confront the nightmare into which his life has evolved.
Take ShelterUnlike other depictions of the schizophrenic mind, such as that in The Fisher King, Nichol’s film is truly unsettling, and on different levels, not least of which has to do with the harsh reality of mental health treatment for families who cannot afford private practices, and must depend on community counseling centers for care. For a wonderful analysis, see The New York Times’ review by A.O. Scott.

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