Movies About Childhood Trauma – Have you ever heard of childhood trauma or what is also known as childhood trauma? Recently, it has become an issue that has been widely discussed on various platforms. This goes hand in hand with increasing awareness of mental health.
What does it actually mean? According to a United States government agency, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), childhood trauma is formed when a child (aged 1-17 years) experiences a terrible incident.
There are several criteria for incidents referred to by SAMHSA, namely being in a toxic environment (having parents who are alcoholics and drug addicts, being victims of sexual abuse, victims of domestic violence, being economically exploited); witnessed a horrific or violent event (accident, natural disaster, war, terrorism); being neglected by parents or guardians and experiencing sudden loss (parents who died suddenly, divorce); and so forth.
Childhood trauma is more complex because it often goes undetected. This is because children tend not to be able to express their feelings as fluently as adults. In the end, children tend to blame themselves when terrible things happen beyond their control (self-blaming). Not infrequently they try to bury these bad memories using imagination or certain scenarios (denial).
The impact will begin to be seen in adolescence and adulthood. Not a few will fall into a vortex of violence, harassment, and even drug and alcohol abuse. For this reason, it is time to promote awareness of the importance of preventing and treating childhood trauma. This is what several filmmakers do through their work.
You can try to hone your empathy and sensitivity through the seven film titles below. Considering that the issue is sensitive and could trigger memories of your own past, make sure you approach it wisely.
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Movies About Childhood Trauma
1. Mysterious Skin (2004)
The central characters in Mysterious Skin are Neil, played by Chase Ellison as a child and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a teenager and adult. As a child, the innocent Neil admired his sports teacher, whom he considered a father figure. However, the teacher betrayed Neil’s trust by abusing him several times.
Without him realizing it, this had an impact on the decisions he made as an adult. As a result of the abuse, Neil believed that he was destined to satisfy the sexual desires of men older than him. In fact, he didn’t do it for the money. At the same time, director Gregg Araki introduces the audience to the character of Brian, a teenager who is obsessed with aliens. However, he actually also has a past story that is similar to Neil.
Despite the sensitive issue, there are no vulgar scenes in this film. Even so, the intensity and feeling of discomfort can still be felt by the audience when walking through the tunnel of Neil and Brian’s memories.
2. Movies About Childhood Trauma: Dalva (2022)
Dalva is a Belgian film directed by Emmanuelle Nicot. The title is taken from the name of the play, a girl who believes she is not a child. He dresses and acts like an adult. This makes him considered strange and problematic at school. Until the government intervened by separating him from his father who had raised him.
While living in a government facility, Dalva met new and supportive people who made him aware of many things. Similar to Brian and Neil, Dalva’s character is also said to be experiencing a denial phase.
3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
Charlie (Logan Lerman) is said to be entering a new high school. There he met two new friends, Sam and Patrick. Everything runs normally. They help each other and have fun until one by one they start to open up. Sam was once a victim of sexual harassment from his father’s co-workers, while Patrick, who had a different sexual orientation, was not accepted by his father. Meanwhile, Charlie still closes himself off until his depression relapses and almost endangers himself.
4. Honey Boy (2019)
Honey Boy was written and stars actor Shia LaBeouf himself. The story is quite personal because it is inspired by his experience as a child actor. He is played by Noah Jupe, while LaBeouf plays his father. Here LaBeouf tries to describe his bitter childhood experiences. As a child, he was economically exploited by his father. He was neglected and did not receive enough emotional support.
5. Nope (2022)
Nope actually raises many issues. Childhood trauma is one of the things that plays a role. This issue is told through the character Jupe (Steven Yeun), a former child actor who once witnessed horrors while being part of a chimpanzee show. He, who survived the incident, tried to close his memory tunnel tightly. However, no matter how hard he tried, no matter how wide his smile was, and no matter how hard he tried to convince himself that he was fine, his brain replayed the brutal scene over and over again.