How do you feel about the way that Chronic and Terminal Illness are portrayed in mainstream media?
(Movies, Documentaries , Television Series, News programs...)
On one hand you have media that depicts those with chronic and terminal illness as survivors. Often highlighting on the painful, debilitating, life changing aspects of chronic and terminal illness.
On the other hand you have media that depicts those with chronic and terminal illness as villains . Portrayals of drug abusers and seekers. Controlling, often times emotionally blackmailing the people in their lives.
These very portrayals of chronic and terminal patients in media have a very real impact on how we are viewed in society. Not just by general public but our families and medical communities as well.
~~~> The Spectacle on the Screen: Representations of Pain in Contemporary Media
"..... What are we to make of pain as spectacle? It is certainly uncomfortable to witness another’s pain, especially someone we care about. Yet movie, TV, and newspaper images depicting pain are undeniably popular. What are we to make of these images of pain? Do they increase or decrease our humanity and our compassion? Colin Fernandes, a pain physician and scholar of the media, reflects on these issues. Fernandes concludes with the wisdom of Susan Sontag. She argues that exposure to images of pain is not itself the problem. What is central is why we are exposed to these images and what we are encouraged or allowed to do in response. To what end are we shown this pain? On what path does this pain put us?...."
I Remember Me - In 1984-85, people at Lake Tahoe fell ill with flu symptoms, but they didn't get better. Medical literature documents similar outbreaks: in 1934 at LA county hospital, in 1948-49 in Iceland, in 1956 in Punta Gorda, Florida. The malady now has a name, chronic fatigue syndrome...
Alex: The Life of a Child - A true story about a girl named Alex Depford (Lindsay Amelio and Gennie James) who has Cystic Fibrosis. The movie chronicles Alex's short but powerful life at a time when the life expectancy for those with Cystic Fibrosis was bleak.
Affair, The - A crippled lady (Natalie Wood) songwriter meets an older lawyer, who becomes her first love.
Bang The Drum Slowly - ( Robert De Niro, Michael Moriarty) The story of the friendship between a star pitcher, wise to the world, and a half-wit catcher, as they cope with the catcher's terminal illness through a baseball season.
Cure, The - Dexter (Joseph Mazzello) is an 11 year-old boy dealing with AIDS. Stigmatized by public fear of AIDS, he slowly makes friends with his neighbour Eric (Brad Renfro). As their friendship grows, they decide to find the cure for Dexter's AIDS.
Garden State - Sam (Natalie Portman) has epilepsy and meets Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff) in a neurologist's waiting room. Sam and Andrew get to know each other and Sam shares some of her personal challenges, teaching Andrew the value of allowing yourself to feel, whether it is joy or sadness.
Jack - Loosely based on Progeria and Werner Syndrome, Jack Powell (Robin Williams) has the appearance of a 40 year-old man when he is only 10. Fed up with being homeschooled and isolated, Jack decides he wants to go to a public school and make friends of his own.
Little Women (1994 version) - Beth (Claire Danes), contracts scarlet fever while caring for an underprivileged family. The story is set in 1868 when medicine was more limited so instead of recovering fully she develops rhuematic fever and then congestive heart failure. Of the four March sisters, Beth is the one who never marries and never leaves home. She leads a quiet life, but is content to love her family and play a supportive role to them.
Lorenzo's Oil - A boy (Peter Ustinov) develops a disease so rare that nobody is working on a cure, so his father (Nick Nolte) decides to learn all about it and tackle the problem himself.
Mask - True story about a teenager named Rocky Dennis (Eric Stoltz) who was born with craniodiaphyseal dysplasia (aka Lionitis). Despite being warned repeatedly of his impending death, Rocky lives his life as he wants to, going to high school, working at a summer camp, and falling in love with Diana Adams (Laura Dern) who deals with blindness.
My Sister's Keeper - Anna Fitzgerald (Sofia Vassilieva) looks to earn medical emancipation from her parents (Cameron Diaz) who until now have relied on their youngest child (Abigail Breslin) to help their leukemia-stricken daughter Kate remain alive.
Passion Fish - May-Alice Culhane (Mary McDonnell) was a successful soap opera star, but a car accident has left her bound to a wheelchair.
Princes in Exile - Ryan Rafferty (Zachary Ansley) has a brain tumour and less than a year to live. He is understandably angry and bitter, especially when his parents send him to a summer camp for youth with cancer. Over the course of the summer he works on two goals: writing a journal to be published, and losing his virginity. Note: This is a National Film Board of Canada movie which means you should look for it in your public library first if you want to watch it.
Return to Me - Grace Briggs (Minnie Driver), a woman experiencing heart failure, needs a heart transplant to save her life. Grace ends up receiving the heart of Elizabeth Rueland (Joely Richardson), the previous wife of widower Bob Rueland (David Duchovny). A year after her transplant and Elizabeth's death, Grace meets and falls in love with Bob.
Terry Fox Story, The - Just to be clear, this is the 1983 tv movie about Terry Fox, not the 2005 tv movie called Terry. Another movie based on a true story, Terry (Eric Fryer) is a young man who at age 18 had his leg amputated to prevent the spread of ostoscarcoma. He planned and ran the Marathon of Hope, a run across Canada meant to raise money for cancer research.
Theory of Flight, The - Jane Hatchard (Helena Bonham Carter) is in the final stages of amytrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, when she meets Richard (Kenneth Branagh), a man forced to do community service while on probation for attempting to fly off a building. Richard is assigned to be Jane's companion and after they get over their rocky start Jane confides her deepest wish to Richard - to lose her virginity before she dies.
Water Dance, The - Film about struggling to deal with paralysis. Author Joel Garcia (Eric Stoltz) breaks his neck while hiking, and finds himself in a rehab center with Raymond, an exaggerating ladies man, and Bloss, a racist biker. Considerable tension builds as each character tries to deal with his new found handicap and the problems that go with it, especially Joel, whose lover Anna is having as difficult a time as he is.
Whose Life Is It Anyway? - Ken Harrison (Richard Dreyfuss) is an artist that makes sculptures. One day he is involved in a car accident, and is paralyzed from his neck. All he can do is talk, and he wants to die. In hospital he make friends with some of the staff, and they support him when he goes to trial to be allowed to die.
There are far too many to list them all. If you think of more please share.
There have been MANY medical drama television series. Here are a few....
Medical Drama TV
House TV series
Southland TV Series
Nurse Jackie TV Series
"......As the divide between fact and virtual reality becomes ambiguous, and access to images of suffering is made easier, it is important to question our response to these representations. As Sontag astutely concluded: “People don’t become inured to what they are shown—if that’s the right way to describe what happens—because of the quantity of images dumped on them. It is passivity that dulls feeling.”....."
(A note to all: This is not a discussion for attacking other members. Each person will feel differently about this topic. Remember to respect each others difference of opinion.)
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood Chronic Pain ModeratorMail
Post Edited (Mrs. Dani) : 3/4/2011 11:28:27 PM (GMT-7)