Mandi’s Movie Madness- Titicut Follies

Welcome to Mandi's Movie Madness. This series was inspired by the Iceberg infographics on Reddit, where people made depictions of the most disturbing movies they'd ever seen or heard of. My goal? To watch the ones I can find and give my uncensored thoughts as I watch. This... should be entertaining. :)

This was a rough watch for me. Basically, it’s a musical show interspersed with scenes from the mental institution the performers are patients of. You know, just in the first ten minutes, I had a lot of questions. Is this historical, or is this exploitation? A little bit of both? Do these people want to be putting on these shows at all? Why are they stripping them naked and making them stand around a room together instead of having some kind of system that gives some kind of humanity?

Why in the hell is someone who is clearly a pedophile violent criminal in the same place as people with severe mental problems? Does no one see this as a problem? I realize this was a different time and people were put in these institutions and basically forgotten, but it’s horrible to watch and realize just how badly these people were mistreated. Where are the nurses? All I see are guards and authority figures, nothing nurturing or helpful. (Towards the end, it finally showed a few nurses)

The guard with the patient Jim was immensely frustrating. I’m hearing impaired and I heard everything he said just fine, yet the guard kept nagging and nagging, asking him to repeat what he’d said over and over until he got mad. Even while he was getting his face shaved… like, he can’t answer you with a straight edge against his throat, dude! I just wanted to reach through the screen and slap that guard, I swear.

Worse, it seems like they are given clothes, but none of them are wearing them in their rooms. The beds are just padded mattresses up against the wall, so the rooms are barren. Where is anything for stimulation, for preventing more mental decline? Do they have anything to read, anything to listen to, anything that’s their own property?

I understand patients who won’t eat need tube feeding, but that scene was hard… the guard not having enough lube, smoking a cigarette with ashes falling into the food, putting the tube in too far and having to pull it back. The scene interspersed with what looks like that same patient being prepared for his funeral, letting us see that he likely didn’t make it. When they’re discussing having to use butter for the tube because they don’t have anything else, it really strikes you how bare bones the budgets were for these places.

The funeral, I think, was the saddest part. No family. No one to fully memorialize the person you were before. Just assorted guards and a few patients standing by your casket for a few moments before walking away in silence. A lift half lived, a death unmourned. A burial without a stone.

This was so absolutely depressing. I understand why libraries are the only places that have it now, and no other streaming services. This is definitely a show that’s more historical/educational in viewing and not something that’s meant for mass consumption with streaming. This is not a binge watch.

I appreciate finding it, appreciate watching it. The glimpse into how patients were treated in mental institutions in years past was eye-opening, to say the least. I’m just sad that it took so long to get them shut down, and so many suffered. So many lives were lost that could have been saved.

Titicut Follies is not for the faint of heart, but it is a worthy watch for those who are interested in why the asylums and reformatories of the past are no longer operating.

Found on Kanopy

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