They say that the type of movies you watch says a lot about you as a person. If you looked at my recent viewed films on Netflix you’d probably think I was a raging conspiracy theorist, with a strange curiosity for the paranormal and the psychological. (Oh, and you’d probably think I have way too much time on my hands, judging by the many different conspiracy documentaries that I watch – but hey everyone’s got their niche, right?)
But I personally just think that there’s nothing better than a film that keeps you guessing and on your toes all the way through! A film that makes you think for a few days after; making you question, “Why did that happen?”, “What was the motive?”, and “Why did I not see that coming??” (but, if we’re being honest, it’s probably just the inner psychologist in me talking).
So, as a psychology student and a self-proclaimed film expert – I have put together this list of the best Psychological movies that will have you contemplating your whole existence. Because it’s the summer time and exams are over, so we have time to do that now.
In no particular order, here is the top ten Psychological films that you simply must watch this Summer:
- Prisoners (2013) – This psychological crime drama focuses on the abduction of two young girls and the events that occur while trying to search for the abductor. This film will take you on a never-ending search of “Who did it?”, leading to a very climatic ending. Definitely a must watch!
- Along Came a Spider (2001) – Staring Morgan Freeman, as a forensic Psychologist, this film centres around his search for Gary Soneji – a very intelligent psychopath. After abducting the US senator’s young child – they are thrown into a very twisted game of cat and mouse.
- The Butterfly Effect (2004) – This supernatural psychological thriller stars Ashton Kutcher and Amy Smart. The movie focuses around the Butterfly Effect which is a hypothetical theory which suggests that small changes in one’s life may lead to large unforeseen consequences in the future.
- A Beautiful Mind (2001) – A biographical drama that is based on the life of John Nash, a Nobel Laureate in Economics whom suffered from Paranoid Schizophrenia. A very moving and touching movie which draws on topics about love, education, life, family and the hardships of mental illness.
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) – An absolute classic, this comedy drama stars Jack Nicholson, who plays Randle McMurphy, a criminal who pretends he has a mental illness. This results in him being moved from prison to a mental institution where he would not have to do any hard labour. Here, he meets a whole range of people, all suffering from different mental illnesses, and rallies them up to rebel against the Head Nurse.
- Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012) – based on the coming of age novel by Stephen Chbosky, this film focuses on the life of teenager Charlie (Logan Lerman), who writes a series of letters to an unknown friend, detailing his first year of high school. The film depicts his depression and anxiety as he tries to fit in and make some friends.
- Unsane (2018) – a psychological thriller which centres on a woman named Sawyer who is mistakenly confined to a mental institution after she is pursued by a stalker.
- Gone Girl (2014) – a psychological thriller which follows Nick Dunne (played by Ben Affleck) as he is accused to be the primary suspect in the disappearance of his wife, Amy (played by Rosamund Pike).
- Black Swan (2010) – This psychological horror film stars Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis – ballerinas who are a competing for the spot of the “black swan”. This film is described to be a metaphor for artistic perfection – looking at the psychological and physical hardships that one must encounter to be “perfect”.
- The Number 23 (2007) – Starring Jim Carrey, this psychological thriller focuses on a man who becomes obsessed with the 23 enigma.
Some honorable mentions also include: the Stanford Prison Experiment, and We Need to Talk About Kevin (both starring Ezra Miller).
So, what are you waiting for? Grab your mates, some snacks and call dibs on the living room for a whole day and you’ve got yourself a motive (as the kids like to call it nowadays).
If you know of any more good psychological movies or fancy sharing your opinion about any of the ones listed above, then feel free to leave a comment down below.
Hope you’re all having a great Summer so far.
See you all on the flipside!