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Brit reality show Coach Trip, which initially seems to be an extra dramatic Danish version, however, later on turns out to be a lot more poignant. Rose by Niels Arden Oplev is a contemplative and integrative portrayal of mental illness. If the film industry would follow this trend or not remains uncertain as our society gets increasingly enlightened and progressive in terms of mental health issues. This question has strong relevance for conditions like schizophrenia that people get completely mixed up both in real life and movies.

Oplev’s Girl With The Dragon Tattoo adaptation (2009) won him fame but with Rose he takes an entirely different approach, one filled with deep emotions and often sobering drama. The movie is set against the backdrop of Princess Diana’s death in 1997. They are taking the same journey as other Danes on a bus trip to Paris; among them are Inger (Sofie Gråbøl) and Ellen (Lene Maria Christensen). The bus also includes another dysfunctional family where parents have found themselves trapped in loveless marriage while Christian is still too young but thinks deeply.

As they leave Inger’s residential mental health care home we soon realize what it means to have her severe condition when she admits publicly through the microphone of their bus that she has schizophrenia causing her fellow travelers to panic. Various incidents during their trip threaten its collapse into ruins thereby slowing it down. Thus, instead of answering Inger honestly when asked by young curious Christian why she was mad mentally, “I fell in love” is all that Inger manages to reply. However, such efforts to explain her condition to those who do not even come close at all just keep recurring time after time. Having Paris slowly opening up for Inger as she struggles with her ailment when looking for her former lover is remarkable.

The writing owes much to Oplev’s own sister’s battle with the same mental disorder which it is based on. The film naturally embraces this psychological disorder unapologetically and with sincerity and sensitivity. For one to do so much for the condition would only be possible when one has a personal understanding of it; as such, the acting has a very compelling ring to it.

Sofie Gråbøl’s portrayal of Inger actually reinforces this effort considerably. A forty-something-year-old woman with messed up hair and back humped, Gråbøl convinces us that she is nothing like any previous actor who has ever tried but failed at getting into such character properly. At times, these discussions may seem flippant; however her mentioning sex in a casual manner while threatening to murder fellow group members while on tour juxtaposes nicely with the innate depth of being a woman affected by her past and fed up with her present.

For many years schizophrenia was not fashionable among authors wishing to explore mental healthcare in movies. This means that whenever schizophrenia forms the basis of narrative focus in films, there is normally an element of sensationalism involved borrowing from stereotypical tropes for maximum dramatic effect. You can observe how this applies to Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island (2010), M. Night Shyamalan’s Split (2017) or even the miniseries Sybil (1976).

Filmmakers usually prefer to explore the use of mentally ill characters who are schizophrenic only as a source of terrifying moments and this mystifying, alien being. However, Rose can rightly be linked to Florian Zeller’s play The Father in terms of its accuracy and commitment to depicting this mental condition. It shows schizophrenia in its complexity and various forms that the illness can take. But it doesn’t hide how much Inger’s life has been affected by it, which would be disingenuous because the movie is quite complex in illustrating these.

However, for all these disturbances, there is still something very normal about this film but not always as such.

Rose is a film that shows how devastating schizophrenia could turn out to be. It ranges from having her protagonist being empowered as an individual who sometimes possesses “marbles” and common sense for short spells; to exposing the terrible and life-shattering personality changes she goes through. This is a movie that oscillates between allowing its central character to breathe like a person, before switching quickly and often brusquely into the harsher realities her ailment imposes on her.

It may seem brutal but Oplev’s dedication in revealing the real nature of the disease is commendable. Even more so when Andrew exposes the society’s general tendency to treat patients with schizophrenia condescendingly or distantly. Therein lies perhaps his biggest test – Inger faces him defiantly when he makes another derogatory comment; “it’s not contagious you know.”

Rose approaches schizophrenia differently: you are close to crying then out comes a hilarious line that fills one up with laughter all over again while making one think deeply for seconds after.Therefore just as Ingger’s experience of Schizophrenia takes sharp turns so does the mood of Rose.Like many other similar movies though it does not go into details regarding relating between characters narratively that became thinner especially when dealing with relationships among these people– Gråbøl and Christensen do more than enough to make the film a critically acclaimed one.

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