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Text A) Beautiful Mind movie about schizophrenia, and Text B) The Daughter of Queen of Sheba by Jacki Lyden about bipolar disorder mother Essay Example

“A Beautiful mind” and “The daughter of Queen of Sheba”


“A beautiful mind” is an American film focusing on the life of John Nash as a brilliant and young math student at Princeton University until his old age as a Nobel Price winner in economics. The film highlights Nash’s struggle with schizophrenia as he endures delusional and paranoid experiences. This condition burdens his wife, family, friends and his career. Despite the fact that Nash was not able to get rid of his disease, he successfully manages to fight the delusions that come as a result of schizophrenia (Weschler, 2002) On the other hand, “The daughter of Queen Sheba”, is a film based on Jacki Lyden’s memoir of her experience growing up with a mother who was considered as crazy by everyone however the she was suffering from a Bipolar disorder. This film focuses on how a woman is affected by her mother’s condition and how she uses the madness and delusions of her mother to empower herself (Lyden, 1997). Evidently, these films have similar characteristics in that they highlight the struggle of people with mental conditions that the society is often not aware of. Moreover, these films depict the way in which these conditions affect the people close to the victims. This paper seeks to examine the psychosocial issues highlighted in these films.

“A Beautiful mind”

In this film, various psychosocial issues are highlighted. These issues affected Nash, his family, friends and his career. This film dramatically explores the development of psychosis on Nash and its effects on his family and those around him. As a result of his condition, Nash begins to believe that a shadowy government agency approached him to assist them to break codes. As his condition progresses, he becomes paranoid, afraid and guarded. He is also fails to function well at work. Moreover, Nash begins to create and relate to fictitious characters. This in turn renders him a social- outcast. For instance, his college roommate is fictitious character that is brought about due to Nash’s hallucinations. In addition, different aspects of Nash’s life tend to build on grandiosity and paranoia (Rosenstock, 2003; Weschler, 2002).

Nash’s condition also affects his family and his relationship with his wife. As his condition progresses he begins to experience a series of intense paranoia and hallucination, this in turn begins to frighten his wife. For example, in one instance Nash endangers his new born son when he accidentally knocks down his wife Alicia and his son on the ground. Alicia becomes frightened of her husband and attempts to flee from their house. Evidently, Nash’s condition causes turmoil and emotional distress to his wife and those close to him. Eventually, she come into terms with her husband’s condition and does her best to take care and support him. Nash also receives unwavering support from those around him (Rosenstock, 2003).

Some of the ethical issues raised to the audience as far as Nash treatment is concerned revolve around the effects of the medicine prescribed to him by his doctors in order to counter hallucinations. Under these medications, Nash could not function normally, these medicines suppressed his thinking such that he is not able to respond to his crying child. Furthermore, these medicines compromised his capacity sexually, as a result he is not able to respond to Alicia’s sexual advances. The audience is caused to wonder whether such form treatment is ethical since it handicapped him and brought about detrimental effects to his life. Personally, I believe that this film was specifically written with the interests of schizophrenic victims, care givers and their close relations. This film provides a platform of obtaining first-hand information on the nature of the condition and how certain aspects of this condition can be addressed (Miller, Vandome & McBrewster, 2009).

“The daughter of Queen of Sheba”

Similar to the film “A beautiful mind” this film also highlights psychosocial issues related to a mental illness. Basically, this film explores the experiences of a young woman whose mother was suffering from bipolar disorder. It highlights the struggle of a daughter taking care of her mentally ill mothers. Based on this film, it is evident that some of the psychosocial issues affecting the individual and those close to them include; the fear of the unknown, emotional turmoil and stigmatisation. During this era, cases of mental disorders or institutional treatment were rare and as a result, individuals with mental disorders and their families were victimised (Geller, 1998). Moreover, another psychosocial issue highlighted in this film revolved around the implications of the law on the life of the mentally ill mother and the family. The law governing their settings required that until their mother was a threat to her life and others then she would not be confined or institutionalised. Consequently, the family and those around her had to endure and agonise over her behaviour. This is one of the evident ethical issues highlighted in this film. The audience is caused to question whether it was ethical for Lyden’s mother to not to be confined or institutionalised since based on her hallucinations and psychosis, she seemed to be a threat to her one life and that of others (Geller, 1998). Despite the fact that Lyden was affected by her mother’s condition, she used the experiences from her mother’s madness and delusions to empower herself (Lyden, 1997).

Representations of metal illness in the two texts

In both, films mental illness is represented in the form of a loss of contact with reality. Victims harbour false beliefs about who they are and what is taking place. They see and hear things that are not there in other words they suffer from hallucination and delusions. However, the main difference between the representations of mental illness in “A Beautiful mind” and “The daughter of Queen of Sheba” is that in “A Beautiful mind”, mental illness is represented as a condition that the victim is to some extent aware of and attempts to fight. In this film there is seem to hope that Nash will overcome his mental condition and lead a normal life (Howard & Grazer, 2001). On the other hand, in “The daughter of Queen of Sheba”, mental illness is represented as a definite and incurable condition that the patient must learn to cope with rather than overcome. In order to realise better outcomes for the shortcomings portrayed in these texts, it is essential for early interventions for mental illnesses to be carried in order to avoid the adverse effects that come as a result of these conditions (Hallstrom, 2007).


The two films examined in this paper portray the psychosocial issues revolving around mental disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar. These mental conditions are characterised by hallucinations, delusions, paranoia and fear. From these films it is evident that some of impacts that these conditions bring about include; turmoil , emotional distress, fear of the unknown and even stigma. In order to addresses the shortcomings portrayed in these texts, early interventions for these mental illnesses are imperative.


Geller, J. (1998). Daughters’ views of their mentally ill mothers. American Psychiatric Association. Retrieved on September 25, 2011 from <http://ps.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/49/5/702>

Howard, R. & Grazer, B. (2001). “A Beautiful mind.” United States: Imagine Entertainment.

Hallstrom, L. (2007). Daughter of the Queen of Sheba. United States: Paramount pictures.

Lyden, J. (1997). Daughter of the Queen of Sheba. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Miller, F., Vandome, A. & McBrewster, J. (2009). A beautiful mind (film). Saarbrucken: VDM publishing house.

Rosenstock, J. (2003). Beyond a beautiful mind: film choices for teaching schizophrenia. Academic psychiatry 27(2), pp. 117-122.

Weschler, R. (2002). A Beautiful Mind. Retrieved on September 25, 2011 from <http://www.eslnotes.com/movies/pdf/a-beautiful-mind.pdf>