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  • I have been living with a paranoid schizophrenic son for most of almost thirty years. This diagnosis is considered the most serious of all mental illnesses and is devastating to the entire family. Why is it the most tragic of all illnesses? Because you don't die from it. Instead most of those suffering with it live in utter torment their entire lives. Most never leave the self-imposed confines of their darkened rooms.

    Diana Ross's portrayal of one suffering with this disease was brilliant. She should have won some kind of award -- at least some kind of recognition for her role. She was brilliant and, if anything, understated in her performance. She only touched the surface of the tragic sufferings of this horrendous brain disease.

    Kudos for Diana!
  • Diana gives a wonderful performance in this very important work. Before I saw this, I hadn't thought much about mental illnesses - I found her portrait to be vivid and honest. This is a difficult subject matter, and I thank Diana for having the courage to do this disturbing work.
  • TV movie "Out of Darkness" allows us to experience the turns on Pauline Cooper's life, an afro-american Medicine student who at the height of her student life is caught by paranoid-schyzophrenia, at the age of 23. Action starts on a usual day of Pauline's life and takes the viewer to a critical phase on the character life. The story also shows us the daily struggle of living with someone who is not the owner of its own will, due to mental illness, and how it can affect an entire family. The movie most inspirational scenes are those of the attempts of Pauline to restart her normal life, after endless hospital treatments and experiences with new drugs to treat the disease. The most important message of the film is a kind of a tribute and a positive inspiration to all those who fight mental problems. Diana Ross put her movie career back on the track after several years without movie appearences (since "The Wiz" in 1978). Miss Ross wisely found this project and produced it trough her ANAID Film Productions as the perfect veycule for a movie comeback. One of the most interesting aspects of the movie is that Ross is not playing a singer (as usual), and does not contributes with songs to the soundtrack, making it a plain acting-ability show, reminding us that being one of the greatest show women alive, requires more than playing singers in trouble. "Out of Darkness" is also an open door to other drama projects by Diana Ross, leaving the viewer with high expectation for more projects starring Diana Ross on the so-called serious matters of life. It is also the evidence that Diana Ross is not the distant diva at all.
  • dlcarraw10 February 2006
    I didn't realize I was watching Diana Ross when I saw this. She is very good.

    The movie does an extraordinary job of conveying what psychosis is like. Been there, done that. What's even better is that it shows, in realistic ways, what it is like to cope with psychosis.

    Too many films romanticize psychosis - madness is enticing if horrifying, a voyeuristic thrill for the presumably sane. In this film, it is humanized. Paulie struggles to "ride it out", to have a plan to cope, to cope, and to go beyond coping to living a full life, while managing her own condition. Tremendously empowering.

    This film lacks syrup, and while it is dramatic it is not generally melodramatic. Paulie's work to trust others so that she can heal, to rebuild relationships with her family as she does, to face the real, irreparable changes that 18 years of poorly controlled schizophrenia have had on her child, her family & herself is so well portrayed that it merits a run-on sentence.

    9 stars.
  • Diana Ross truly reigns Supreme in this made for '94 TV movie about a 43 yr. old former doctor battling Paranoid Schizophrenia. This is one of those memorable "TV Movies" that is actually too good for TV. Gone are the typical TV movie clichés', obvious character developing scenes, and silly subplots. Portraying a paranoid schizophrenic convincingly when you are one of the most famous and glamorous entertainers on the planet must not be an easy task, but from the very first scene Miss Ross pulls it off. This is a heart breaking story of a former doctor who struggles with the illness for 20 years. After countless bouts with hospitals, mental institutions, shock therapy, and treatment centers a new experimental drug finally offers hope. The story examines how the disease really effects an entire family and the supporting cast is superb as well. Ross was nominated for and Emmy for her performance and won many others.
  • Diana Ross gives an incredible and very realistic portrait of a woman who lives with mental illness and apparently seems to defeat it. I found the movie well acted--by all its cast members---both informative and entertainingly educational in a good sense---that the educational aspects are subtle and not like a documentary. This is a dramatic and excellent movie that shows Diana Ross as a talented convincing actress. It shows that not everyone is accepting of mental illness--she gets dumped by a boyfriend who cannot handle the fact that she has survived mental illness. Highly recommended for the entire family and for those who have family members who are afflicted with mental illness, not to mention the many fans of Diana Ross, the actress in this case.
  • This film was very well presented, with good performances. It is sad, and does not distort or exaggerate as many other films have, regarding mental and/or emotional disorders.

    Diana Ross is very good as Paulie, a once brilliant pre-med student, who can no longer function due to paranoid schizophrenia.

    Rhonda Stubbins-White is also very good as the sister, who wishes everything would just "get back to normal". The actress who portrays Ross' mother is also very good. There is also a cameo with Lindsay Crouse, who attempts to help Paulie in a new day treatment program.

    Some of the scenes are disturbing, and anyone who may have experienced situations like this in real life may find it close to the truth. Ross gives the audience an excellent portrayal of the disorder, living in her own world, and enduring many medications and hospitalizations.

    Finally, she is given a new medication which actually works. The scenes are very well-done, as she is sitting outside the medical school, suddenly feeling like she wants to live life again.

    What I particularly appreciated about the message in this film was that, Paulie recovers in her own time; at age 44, she must learn to re-live the rest of her life, even though she lost 18 years in the hospital, due to the illness. The film does not condescend or fault the patient, she is merely doing the best she can to cope with a destructive illness.

    At the conclusion, we see Paulie as she is functioning, ready to finish school. On the way, she sees a homeless woman. She leaves her some food, reflecting on how alienated some people are, and how fortunate she was, to have received effective treatment. 9/10.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is far more than the average television movie, that's for sure. If only they could all be as good then maybe they wouldn't be looked down on so much. This film touches upon a lot of soft spots with me, it's so powerful and moving in many different ways. Just hearing the excellent theme music alone is enough to move me deeply and get me into the dramatic spirit of it, every time. The music is very beautiful and has a haunting melancholy feel to it that greatly captures the themes of adversity and fear very well. Diana Ross was just fantastic, if I were ever lucky enough to meet her I'd tell her how much I loved her in this. She must have had to go to a very dark place to portray so well the pain, madness and anguish of someone with a fragmented mind who had lived with such an unimaginable disease for so long. She did a highly effective job with her appearance, making herself appear all ramshackle and hard-edged, with a pained and grim expression that she wears for the first half of the film. Her deviousness in the scene where she poisons her sister with her medication is chilling. Her slow return to normality and a new life over the coarse of the film is inspiring to see. It's all handled in such a raw, honest and not overly-dramatic way that you can't help falling into the story and sympathising with everyone involved. ::: A brilliant talent that I've seen with another film from the director, the equally excellent "God Bless the Child", is his ability to deftly juggle many smaller characters and not have the plot seem cluttered, and make them all seem like fully realised human beings and not forgettable bit parts. And that's a huge part of why I love this and why I believe it works so terrifically, all the characters have a strong, rich sense of chemistry. There are plenty of fine examples of acting talent on display. Gloria Foster(Oracle off Matrix) was wonderful as the long-suffering and weary mother. For whatever reason, this film is not on her list of credits, nor is she credited in it. RIP. Chasiti Hampton put in a great little performance as the mature-beyond-her-years daughter who fears that she will inherit her mother's condition. Lindsey Crouse, who a lot will probably recognise as the villainous Professor Walsh from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" puts in a strong turn as the straight-laced but compassionate shrink who patiently works Paulie back to mental health. I just love her in two scenes where she forces Paulie to face reality and drags her out of bed and into a cold shower, and another where she holds onto her until she calms down on a frightening trip on a busy subway train. Maura Tierney is really sweet and poignant in an early role as Paulie's friend and fellow schizophrenic sufferer Meg, who's fragile mental state gives way to suicidal despair in one harrowing scene. ::: There are numerous emotionally moving scenes and moments that can make me all misty about the eyes, chief among them is absolutely the heart-rending final scene, which is superbly done and astoundingly moving. The way she sees the damaged woman that could so easily have been her had she not have gotten the help she needed from so many devoted people. That scene does bring tears every time I see it because it really sums up and concludes everything so perfectly. It's quite a harsh film, but also hopeful if one is still happening to be finding the way out of their own darkness... And I appreciate it very much when hope in a film is not some great, golden sunrise moment, but something small and quaint. more realistic-and to me far more precious and meaningful for it. She's finally free, and in a good place where she's hopefully overcome her nightmare for good, but she looks back at that Shadow of a human being with a heavy heart, because she's been there too.
  • yusef6712 November 2005
    I remember when I first saw this and thought this is the piece that will re-energize Diana Ross' acting career. An argument can be made that it is her best acting performance ever! even better than "Lady". For the simple reason is that there was no singing, or music for that matter in this film. Diana had to draw on other things to pull this off. And pull it off she did.. Why she didn't receive major accolades for this role is perplexing. Also this made for t.v movie has been locked in a vault somewhere for the last decade. I can't recall ever seeing this replayed again on t.v. The subject matter is very serious and reaches millions of people. It was handle well and with integrity. And the lead performance was as strong as any seen on the small screen.. So why has this performance and film been socio overlooked over the years? Very disappointing...
  • Having just retired from working in a forensic psychiatric facility, I can attest that the performance I saw last evening on the Lifetime Movie Network, Out Of Darkness, is about as real as it gets. Most patients are very much aware of their illness and very aware of their treatment and the drugs they take for this illness - Paranoid Schizophrenia. Their auditory and visual hallucinations are truly real to them and control their everyday life. Clozoril, which is the drug Paulie took to experience normality, is the miracle drug used in the battle against this mental condition when other drugs fail. Although very effective, it has many, many adverse side affects.

    Diana Ross should definitely have been given an Emmy award, at the very least, for her portrayal of an individual stricken with this disease. She played a Paranoid-Schizo to a tee. I don't know how I missed seeing this movie all these years. A truly remarkable performance from an individual who is a multi-faceted entertainer. A singer/actress who has had to fight her own demons and I'm sure drew on those experiences to portray Paulie Cooper. Does anyone know if this movie was in part based on a true story?
  • rlmac6 November 2001
    this film is really about longterm illness, or "loss of life" and the devastation it causes. the character was a brilliant, vivacious young woman. when she was born the doctor said this child has been "touched by god" because she was so beautiful. noone was sharper, nobody was quicker than Paulie. she was going to be a doctor, in her 3rd year of medical school. and then she got schitzophrenia. 18 years later she wakes up. shes 43, not 25 any more. shes lost 18 YEARS of her life. her life doesnt exist anymore. - her sister is a middle aged woman, who resents her for the way shes behaved, her mother is resigned to the fact her daughter is mentally ill. and she has a daughter she doesnt know, whom shes never known. the story is heartbreaking. Diana Ross is convincing, and the script is accurate. it may not be the best film about schitzophrenia, but as a view of the consequences, and the effects, it is well worth watching.
  • I stumbled across this on the Lifetime Movie Network, and was blown away to finally see an unglamorous, starkly accurate portrayal of someone with schizophrenia. Kudos to Diana Ross, that can't possibly be an easy performance!!! Being bi-polar, I've been in and out of mental wards as a patient, seeing other patients with schizophrenia. This is the first time I've ever seen a movie or television show that captures the frightening reality without making it seem like a mere eccentricity. Now, if someone would just make a decent movie about being bi-polar, so I could point to it to help people understand what I go through.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Diana Ross earned a Golden Globe nomination for her heart-wrenching portrayal of Paulie Cooper, a young medical student battling paranoid schizophrenia. Her illness caused her to be institutionalised 43 times, and had a devastating effect on her family, financially as well as emotionally. A sister who was jealous of the attention she got yet sympathetic to her illness, a mother struggling to provide for her sick daughter yet aware of the friction her attention-giving was causing between the siblings and Paulie's own daughter, who struggled to deal with loving her mother yet being scared of her. After trying several medications over many years, she finally finds one that is effective. She tries to return to her medical studies but is thwarted at every turn, being told how her past exam successes no longer counted because of the 17 years that had passed, and how her diagnosis meant she wouldn't be able to cope with the stress of medical study, the long hours and wouldn't be able to afford it anyway.

    When she meets the homeless mentally-disturbed black woman outside the grocery store, and hears the worker tell her to move away from the shop front, she first offers her money and then food, which the woman is too scared to take until no-one is around her. Paulie finally sees just how she used to appear to other people. She knows in that moment just how far she's come, and what life will be like if she relapses. At that point, she cries, not only for the woman but for herself.

    This is incredible acting from Diana. She appears with the most minimal of make-up from beginning to end, in ordinary clothes, in effect as an ordinary person would. She's not afraid to scream, cry, fight, she's not concerned with her image except in relation to portraying Paulie honestly. You get to see her mental struggle in all its rawness. There's no glossing over the worst parts of her illness - you see her boyfriend leave when he can't accept her past, her screaming to fight and block out the auditory hallucinations, her increasing distance and public estrangement from some of her family, you see her having to accept her daughter telling her that she loves her but doesn't want to live with her because "it's too hard". But she's not the only star here. The cast has been well-selected, is very believable, and the whole production comes across as a family struggling within themselves as individuals as well as with their relationship with Paulie.

    This is a very effective portrayal of how mental illness can affect a family in ways they hadn't expected, and it's to its credit that it didn't sugar-coat the hell that mental illness can be. The film is based on a true story, and is as true to mental illness as it could be.
  • Diana Ross is gripping as a 42-year-old woman just finished with her third year of medical school who is sidelined by a particularly destructive bout of paranoid schizophrenia, a condition she's aware of and has lived with since her mid-20s. The delusions and voices come and go, but when a kindly doctor intervenes with a new drug, Ross has a chance to actually rebuild her life. A sensitive, educational TV-film that strives--and perhaps stresses a might too hard--to teach the viewer something about mental illness (as well as the shame family members feel about the disease, and their eventual acceptance of it). It's a heady acting vehicle for La Ross: she takes on this highly dramatic, unglamorous (and some may say well-trodden) role and gives it bitterness, rage, confusion and, finally, hope. The narrative is engineered to relay the overall goodness of our medical community (which may seem like a stretch to Ross' character, having been hospitalized over 40 times), while the writing is occasionally too flowery. Still, a disturbing and moving effort, with a gem of an ending.
  • I can't understand why this film hasn't been shown on British TV before now. As an expose of severe mental illness, it was excellent. I didn't recognise Diana Ross at first and must commend her for her performance. Showing the absolutely harrowing and humiliating face of schizophrenia is no easy task but she pulled it off. The relationship that she had with her mother, sister and daughter were believable. The mother wanted her daughter to remain her 'child' and thus be in control of her; her sister was resentful that she had 'lost' her sister, while at the same time being envious that her mother had more time for her daughter's sickness than her other child; and her daughter was just plain frightened of the uncertainty that mental illness brings with it. Once again Maura Tierney brings to her performance intelligence and insight. All in all an excellent film.
  • I gave up on this film after 10 minutes..., but then I went back because Diana Ross is amazing in it as Pauline, and because the topic of mental health is important to me. My main complaints: The film sensationalizes violent episodes and is too biased toward one particular drug being a successful treatment for mental health issues versus counseling, which is given little focus. It wouldn't surprise me to hear that the film was sponsored by drug companies that manufacture Clozapine. I wish they had done a better job showing the suffering people go through trying to wean themselves off psychiatric drugs. Also, the expression of emotion has a powerful healing effect, and Pauline showed plenty of healthy emotion (mostly crying), but drugs actually interfere with emotional healing most of the time, not enhance it, so the film is misleading in this sense. On the plus side: Looking past the exaggerated violence, we get to see the internal struggle and relationship issues. We see Pauline's isolation as well as her openness (e.g. telling her 10 year-old daughter what it's like, and apologizing to her angry sister). I loved the particular staff member who "rescued" Pauline with warmth and tough love. My lesson: Most of us pass by in fear or apathy when we see homeless or "crazy" people. Pauline's behavior in the last scene shows we have another choice, if not to help them, at least to feel some compassion.