Nise: The Heart of Madness  tells the story of Dr. Nise da Silveira, who begins working at a psychiatric hospital only to find that the way that the doctors plan to treat the patients are with electroshock therapy. Nise is determined to find a better way to influence the patients she is assigned to and do so with kindness and heartfelt compassion.
Strong Female Lead. Glória Pires plays Nise who has returned to practice psychiatry after eight years away. She spent two years in prison and six years exiled because she was accused of being a communist in the 1930s. The portrayal by Pires is impeccable and the mix of warmth to her patients, yet deep fire burning inside her shows in every scene she is in. I can’t wait to see more from her and hope that she becomes a bigger star after this film because she deserves to be a household name.
Authenticity. Everything about this film’s background makes it jump off the screen a bit more than most movies. The fact that it is based on a true story is one reason to make you interested a little more than you would be about most movies. The costume and production designs are very realistic and make you feel like you are in the heart of Rio de Janeiro. The other actors, including the psychiatric doctors are people you care about and become three dimensional characters. Possibly the only thing that bothered me, and this could be a pet peeve was the fact that the patients that Nise deals with do exactly as they are told immediately. To me, there would be some resistance with a new doctor, however I could be wrong, I’ve never been in that situation.
The fantastic leading performance makes this worth the price of admission alone.