Netflix viewers are slamming Bird Box for its "demonisation" of mental illness
31 December 2018, 10:51
Is Bird Box about mental health?
There's no question that Bird Box is one of Netflix's biggest films of 2018. The streaming platform may have only released the new Sandra Bullock led horror film mere days ago, but the movie has dominated social media (the memes are everything) and also become Netflix's most streamed film ever in a seven day period. Bird Box was viewed by a whopping 45,037,125 accounts in its first week of release.
However, the hit movie hasn't come without criticism. Some people are upset that it didn't show viewers the actual monster, others are pressed by THAT ending and then there are those who think that it just did not live up to hype. Most serious of all though, people are calling out the film for its depiction of mental health and have been taking to social media to express their thoughts.
Does Bird Box stigmatise mental health?
Bird Box is set in a dystopian future in which the world is overrun by an invisible species of monsters who make people kill themselves when they look directly at them. However, those in the film with mental illnesses aren't affected by the monsters in the same way as everyone else. Instead of committing suicide they're consumed with evil and help the monsters destroy humanity.
These characters include a store assistant who the group encounters on a grocery run. Charlie reveals that the man nicknamed, "Fish Fingers", went to prison and even refers to him as "a bit crazy". There is also a group of people who were patients at a psychiatric hospital. Considering that people with mental illnesses are still often portrayed as "crazy", this kind of depiction can be incredibly damaging and can lead to stigmas around mental health.
On top of this, the multiple graphic suicides in the film have been called out for being triggering to those who have ever had suicidal thoughts. With this in mind, it's no surprise that people are calling out the film.
Here are just a few of the criticisms.
One day we're gonna talk about how #BirdBox weponized mental Illness and contributes to the phobia of people with mental illness…— Freak Man Freak Man, Yea dats Me… (@RamCity) December 24, 2018
cw: birdbox/mental illness— Truuuuuuuu Jackson The VP (@BeccaL_ynn) December 24, 2018
giant trigger warning for birdbox for suicide it’s a lot y’all
Spoiler alert: can we talk about bird box? Did anyone else notice the blatant demonization of mental illness in this flick?— Stargazer Brad (@thepeaceofrome) December 25, 2018
the way bird box portrays mental illness is............— just say they (@indiosyncratic) December 24, 2018
I liked Birdbox but wow what a terrible way to portray mental illness— Leah (@leahhjana) December 24, 2018
if u suffer from anxiety or have any kind of suicidal thoughts DO NOT WATCH bird box. the movie is basically about mass suicide and it's very disturbing i couldn't even make it halfway through— akutagawa lovebot (@akuslut) December 24, 2018
It's easy to see why the film has offended some people.
Nevertheless, some viewers believe that the movie actually aims to raise awareness around mental health and suicide.
The Birdbox movie is raising awareness on how mental health is becoming a problem in our society, how suicidal rates increase every year. The movie also tells that it could be anyone who can be affected by depression/suicidal attempt. It could be your family or it could be you.— coffee (@marlborolayts) December 29, 2018
The fact that people are not taking depression seriously are the one's who need to open their eyes and take the blind folds off. As a teenager who have been diagnosed with depression, i know how hard it is to be in a never ending war with the monsters inside you.— coffee (@marlborolayts) December 29, 2018
Is this a reach or a valid theory?
As it stands Netflix are yet to respond the backlash or theories. We shall update you if they do.