Jonah Hill is a 38-year-old actor who has appeared in films such as The Wolf of Wall Street and Don’t Look Up. The actor turned filmmaker has created a highly sensitive and honest candid documentary about his psychiatrist Phil Stutz, who not only shares techniques and tips for improving emotional health, but also opens up about the challenges he faces.
Phil Stutz is a 73-year-old psychotherapist. The doctor is known for several books he has written and has helped many Hollywood stars and celebrities, including Jonah Hill, with their psychological health. Stutz has developed many new techniques to help overcome psychological problems – the “shadow”, the ” string of pearls”, the ” grateful flow” and others, which are also revealed in this film. He also has a unique way of connecting with his patients. He is not just an observer who listens or encourages his clients to talk, but with humour and a variety of effective tools and visualisation exercises, he helps them to overcome difficulties.
Actor Jonah Hill has been seeing a psychotherapist for five years. However, in this Netflix film, the roles are reversed as the psychotherapist opens up about his traumas and shares the techniques that help him too. The actor says that the doctor has helped him a lot over the past years and “changed his life”, so he wanted to share his advice with others.
During the interviews, Hill asks his psychotherapist about his life. The psychotherapist’s childhood was not easy: Stutz lost his younger brother of three years when he was still young. He grew up with an abusive father and a withdrawn mother. Stutz is presented as a man who always seemed to attract people who wanted to tell him about their problems. The loss of his brother, which shocked his family, led him to listen to the difficulties of his parents and relatives at the age of 10, which inspired him to become a psychotherapist. Stutz was later diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but this does not stop him from continuing his work and helping people.
The film also reveals that the doctors who help their clients are going through the same problems. Even Stutz, who has developed many different methods to help with psychological difficulties and helps others with their mental health on a daily basis, still finds himself dealing with negative thoughts about his brother’s death, his parents’ divorce and Parkinson’s disease.
“It’s important to realise that the people we look up to are not immune to the problems we are going through,” said the director about the meaning of the film.
The documentary had to look as if it were one continuous conversation, one coherent therapy session in a typical psychologist’s office. But Jonah Hill shatters this artificial illusion by revealing that the documentary is filmed over a period of two years, and that the setting is a film studio with a green screen. The actor is open with the audience, and in this moment of openness he also reveals the main message of the film: it is impossible to overcome psychological difficulties without being sincere and honest.
Despite the fact that the psychotherapist is in the spotlight, the actor Jonah Hill also opens up – he talks about panic attacks, complexes, his lack of confidence about his weight. He talks about how the death of his older brother, music producer Jordan Feldstein, compounded all this. Stutz, a psychotherapist, helps the actor to overcome these problems by sharing his advice, which is useful for anyone looking for answers: both the actor and the audience watching the film. The visualisations, drawn by the psychotherapist himself, help to bring these ideas to life even better.
Both Jonah Hill and Phil Stutz are very open in this documentary, which deals with themes of loss, love and self-doubt. The film reveals the bond between therapist and client, which develops into a close friendship, and this film only brings them closer together. This is an intimate and sincere psychological therapy session that everyone will benefit from.