Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Prime Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen with Prime Shop now Shop now
Customer Review

21 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity to do something amazing, 8 Aug. 2010
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
First things first. I love Stephen Fry, and I have a severe depressive illness. Thought I'd declare that at the start - y'know, declare my interests. I thought this DVD would be both interesting and informative, but it left me feeling more than a little let down.

I watched the programmes when they were first shown by the BBC, and while I found them reasonable viewing, I got the sense that they were not particularly well researched and at times bordering on inaccurate. But I enjoyed watching Stephen none the less, and I found the inclusion of people who were successfully managing their condition quite reassuring. I particularly liked the inclusion of the surgeon with bipolar (though her advocation of using oily fish instead of meds was slightly alarming), and the beautiful girl who was studying creative writing - I also thought the general emphasis on reducing expectations and stress levels, was sensible.

Unfortunately there were several points where I just felt that sweeping statements were made (based on Stephen's opinions, and regarding serious areas such as ECT and medication), which were either missing detail or not related to facts/evidence. I think it just needed to be a little more careful with the details, and maybe the whole thing just needed a better structure to it (rather than just wandering aimlessly between different topics and people).

Overall, I think I'd give the films a rating of 3 stars out of 5... I've only dropped it down to 2 stars as there are also issues with quality of the DVD editing. I ordered this DVD about a week before the BBC re-showed the film as part of the Headroom season in 2010. When I received and watched the DVD, there were a couple of bits of the film that I thought were missing - so when it was shown on TV a couple of days later, I watched it, and there were several bits of conversations which had been edited out on the DVD version. I cannot understand why they did this, as the BBC were still showing the full version. Also, the edits on the DVD have been made very clumsily, so even if you hadn't watched the original version you'd still feel like they'd cut random chunks out of it.

Within 12 hours of buying this DVD, I had put it back up for sale on Amazon (I very nearly made a profit).

If you're a student hoping to use it as research, there is absolutely nothing you will learn from this DVD (unless you're a media student writing about the careless/exploitative treatment of mental illness by TV shows - in which case I recommend you just order it from your college library).

If you've got bipolar/unipolar/whatever, and you want to hear other people's experiences of mental illness, I recommend you read/listen to a good solid memoir. My favorite (partly for its length, partly for its accurate depiction/style) is probably Darkness Visible by William Styron. Or maybe watch/read An Angel At My Table.

Overall, not good. Sorry Stephen.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
  [Cancel]