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Touched with Fire

Where to Watch Touched with Fire

NR
2016

Touched with Fire, directed by Paul Dalio, is a thought-provoking film released in 2015 that delves into the challenging journey of two bipolar patients. This movie explores the tricky intersection of creativity, love, and mental illness. Starring Katie Holmes and Luke Kirby, with powerful supporting performances by Christine Lahti, Griffin Dunne, and Bruce Altman, the film unabashedly deals with the depths and complexities of bipolar disorder, while shedding light on the frequently revered but often misunderstood connection between artistic genius and mental health struggle.

In the center of the story, we find two tormented poets, Carla (Katie Holmes) and Marco (Luke Kirby), who meet in a psychiatric hospital. Both characters have been newly diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Carla is a reserved, withdrawn character, struggling with the ups and downs of her condition while trying to hold onto her passion for poetry. Holmes delivers a moving performance, showing a profound understanding of the subtleties of Carla's struggles and hopes.

Marco, portrayed by Luke Kirby, is a charismatic and passionate poet inspired by the association of manic depression with historical artistic creativity. He approaches his condition as a sort of intellectual and emotional adventure, embracing the idea of the "tortured artist". Kirby's deeply empathetic portrayal of Marco provides the audience with insight into the character’s inner turmoil and high energy often associated with mania.

Their meeting within the cold, sterile walls of the hospital ignites a passionate romance that spirals out into their lives once they are released. Their relationship takes the audience on a powerful, emotional journey where love and illness are constantly at odds. It underlines the high-stakes predicament that the couple faces: their strong attraction intensifies their bipolar symptoms, forcing them to question whether their creativity and feelings for each other are intertwined with their condition or independent of them.

Touched with Fire contrasts the stark realism of clinical treatment with the emotional intensity and vibrant colors that the characters experience during their manic episodes. It thoughtfully explores the paradox of the connection between creativity and mental health. Both defined and plagued by their condition, Carla and Marco must grapple with balancing their shared passion for poetry, their volatile relationship, and the sometimes-debilitating realities of living with bipolar disorder, which the film does not shy away from honestly depicting.

Oscar nominee Christine Lahti as Carla's mother delivers a powerful performance, oscillating between her maternal instinct to protect and her helplessness when confronted with her daughter's illness. Griffin Dunne, in his role as Marco's father, displays a commendable portrayal of stoic endurance amidst adversity. It becomes clear that mental illness is portrayed not just as an individual ailment but as a familial challenge as well.

The film draws its title from a non-fiction book written by the renowned psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison, who has lived with and studied bipolar disorder extensively. Her book, “Touched With Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament”, examines the association between manic-depressive (bipolar) illness and artistic creativity. It's notable that Jamison herself makes a cameo appearance in the film during a highly impactful scene in a support group.

Touched with Fire succeeds in its mission to explore the complexity of living with bipolar disorder and its implications on personal relationships and artistic expression. Dalio, who himself has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, brings an element of autobiography into the narrative, which lends credibility and authenticity to the portrayal of this mental condition.

The film does not give easy answers but instead immerses the audience into the lives of these complex characters, forcing us to see the world through their eyes. It tackles the delicate relationship between mental illness and creativity, without romanticizing either. Throughout this mesmerizing journey, Touched with Fire prompts viewers to ponder the nuances of mental health and sparks important conversations about how society deals with and understands complex mental conditions.

Despite being centered around medical and psychological issues, Touched with Fire is, at its core, a riveting exploration of love, resilience, and the human spirit. The nuanced performances of the cast, led by Holmes and Kirby, breathe life into this emotional narrative, making it a must-watch for those seeking more than just an average love story. It is a compelling film that sensitively covers a mentally provocative theme while highlighting the seldom discussed connection between artistry and mental illness.

Touched with Fire is a Romance, Drama movie released in 2016. It has a runtime of 102 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.2. It also holds a MetaScore of 62.

How to Watch Touched with Fire

Where can I stream Touched with Fire movie online? Touched with Fire is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels, MGM+, FuboTV, The Roku Channel, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, EPIX NOW. Some platforms allow you to rent Touched with Fire for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

6.2/10
62/100
Director
Paul Dalio
Stars
Katie Holmes, Luke Kirby, Christine Lahti, Griffin Dunne, Bruce Altman
Also starring Luke Kirby
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