therapy documentary

Writer/producer/actor/director Jonah Hill‘s feature directorial debut, the skateboarder coming of age story¬†Mid90s, didn’t make much of a splash when it premiered back in 2018 (although our review was very positive). But his next film is tackling a subject that has too often been considered taboo in the United States: therapy.

Hill is already in production on his second movie, an untitled documentary which is intended to provide a helpful and non-cheesy look at therapy as framed by Hill’s own therapist. Get more details below.

Hill recently took to Instagram (via Collider) to post an update about his second movie, an untitled therapy documentary that he’s making for Netflix.

“It is a documentary on my brilliant Therapist, Dr. Phil Stutz, and therapy in general,” Hill explained in his caption. “The idea is to make a film that frames therapy and Phil’s tools for dealing with life in a way that isn’t corny or cheesy. Everything I saw growing up about therapy I rolled my eyes at.” He goes on to call it “a dope film that democratizes therapy for private use on Netflix,” and reveals that Joaquin Phoenix, with whom he worked on Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, is serving as a producer on the project.

But here’s the really interesting part: he also seems to be teasing some kind of interactive element to this project. “If you can’t afford therapy or there is stigma in your family and life, the idea is that you can privately use these tools on based on the feelings you are having (depression, anxiety, regret etc), and use them in the privacy of your own home on Netflix,” he said. “Sending you all lots of love. We all need it.”

Not many filmmakers have taken advantage of the same technology that Netflix used to make Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, and while it would certainly be a huge undertaking to create branch options involving therapy suggestions for various behaviors or situations, I wonder if that (or maybe some lower-level version of that) is what’s in the works here.

Hill making a documentary about therapy is cool because it’s a topic that was not really talked about in mainstream conversation until the past couple of decades, and even so, there’s still something of a stigma attached to it. The idea of American exceptionalism is baked deep into the core of this country, and for many, therapy is seen as a weakness; anything that can help erode that perception seems like it could potentially be a big help to lots of folks in need of someone to talk to.

In the meantime, check out Maniac, Netflix’s therapy-adjacent sci-fi series starring Hill and Emma Stone. Everyone slept on that show when it came out in 2018, and since folks are hopefully staying inside more during this new wave of the pandemic, you should definitely give it a try if you’re looking for something new to watch.

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