There are moves in Hollywood to destigmatize the way people view mental illness and present it as something that’s real and demands our collective attention, rather than the source of a punch line in a joke. A film like Paper Spiders does its part by showing the brutal honesty of how mental illness can affect an entire family by delving into the different stages of grief as life moves on after tragedy.
Lili Taylor plays Dawn, a woman who loses her husband and becomes increasingly anxious, while her teenage daughter, Melanie (Stefania LaVie Owen), grows up and prepares for college. Dawn’s struggle with her mental illness affects Melanie, who also deals with the guilt of building her own life while caring for her mother. Los Angeles Times critic Katie Walsh praised the performances of the leading actors in her review, writing, “Taylor plays Dawn’s slide into this mental health crisis beautifully and with conviction, and Owen is gorgeous as the powerful but fragile Melanie of oblivion and comfort.” Seeking with a risky friend.” “Paper Spiders” not only received a 100% Certified Fresh rating from 43 reviews, but also a 94% approval rating from audiences, suggesting that both critics and audiences are at odds with the enduring quality and powerful message of this drama.
If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health issue please contact the crisis text line by texting HOME to 741741 call National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.