Top subscribe filter_none issues my account search apps login google-plus facebook instagram twitter pinterest youtube lock

Film Review: Nise: The Heart of Madness

by Roberto BerlinerOutsider Pictures
reviewed by Bilge Ebiri
Explore
Nise - poster

Nise da Silveira was a Brazilian psychiatrist who revolutionized the way mental patients were treated in the 1940s and ’50s. This elegantly made biopic shows her struggles against the medical establishment and the status quo. Because of both her political beliefs and her refusal to go along with electroshock therapy, she’s demoted to the “occupational therapy” wing of the hospital where she works. There, she discovers mental patients being treated worse than animals, subjected to callous disregard and even contempt by the staff. Nise not only shows how these troubled men and women can be treated via art and other creative acts, she also makes sure that hospital workers treat them differently—a holistic approach to medicine, avant la lettre.

This is a heartfelt, respectful film, and it eventually focuses its attention—wisely—on the patients themselves, the individuals whose lives are affected most by Nise’s therapies. It would have been easy for Nise to become just another movie about just another hero doctor. But the film practices what it preaches, by presenting these people as, well, people—individuals with their own stories and their own lives. And while there’s plenty of drama here—both in Nise’s efforts with treatment and in her locking heads with superiors and with some patients’ families—the film never plays things for cheap effect. The result is a historical movie that’s genuinely humanistic and quite powerful.


This entry is tagged with:
Film ReviewsPsychiatryTreatments

Enlightening, Empowering, Innovative, Inspiring… Don’t Miss a Word!

Become a subscriber, or find us at your local bookstore, newsstand, or grocer.

Find us on instagram @SpiritHealthMag

Instagram @SpiritHealthMag



2019 Spirituality & Health MEDIA, LLC

Give us your opinion and you could win a $150 Visa Gift Card!



What you want and need from Spirituality & Health magazine means everything to us.

Our goal is for Spirituality & Health magazine to be one of your most valuable spiritual resources—one you find both practical and inspirational. Will you consider taking a few minutes to help us do a better job for you?

Your thoughts and opinions will determine how we move forward in the coming year regarding a project we are working on—we genuinely can’t wait to hear from you. Thank you in advance for your time and advice!