Mariel Hemingway and Barbara Kopple on their documentary Running From Crazy

Mariel Hemingway - Running From Crazy

The documentary film “Running from Crazy” directed by Barbara Kopple, and shown at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, is about the lives of family members of author Ernest Hemingway.

Here is more about the film, including comments by actor, author and healthy lifestyle and mental health advocate Mariel Hemingway, and two-time Academy Award-winning director Kopple.

“Through the eyes of Mariel Hemingway…it chronicles the story of three of the author’s grandchildren, Mariel, Margaux Hemingway and Joan ‘Muffet’ Hemingway (diagnosed with “bipolar schizophrenia”), daughters of Jack Hemingway, and their struggles with the family history of substance abuse, mental illness and suicide. The film, focusing on suicide and mental health issues, was proposed by the Oprah Winfrey Network.

“That seven family members have committed suicide, including Ernest Hemingway and Margaux, is commented upon by Mariel early in the film. Ernest Hemingway shot himself a few months before his granddaughter Mariel was born.”

[From Wikipedia page on Running from Crazy.]


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“Knowing that there’s so much suicide and so much mental illness in my family, I’ve always kind of been ‘running from crazy,’ worried that one day I’d wake up and be in the same position,” Mariel Hemingway, 51, said at a support group for families of suicide, as shown in the film.

“Suicide has no rhyme or reason,” Hemingway said. “Some people think about it for years and plan it. Some people, it’s 20 dark minutes of their life that they decide to take their life that comes out of the blue. It’s very random, it’s very frightening.”

Whether Hemingway is jumping on a trampoline or submerging herself in a cold stream, with her pointed nose and bouncy blonde hair, her message in the film is one of achieving mental well-being and overcoming one’s own problems.

“I think people need to talk about it a lot,” she said of mental illness, “Making it OK that it’s in your family.” She added, “It doesn’t shame anyone, and it doesn’t make anybody’s family an ugly, bad family.”

From Hemingway family mental illness explored in new film
By Elizabeth Landau, CNN


Mariel Hemingway: “More than anything else it was that I don’t feel that this is just my story.  I actually feel that what I’m sharing, people have an attachment to in some way.  Somebody has committed suicide that they know, a family member or somebody suffering from depression or manic depression, or is sad.”

Filmmaker Barbara Kopple commented on why she was so passionate to make it:

Running from Crazy“My son’s half brother at the age of fifteen committed suicide. He was one of the most angelic, smart and beautiful young men, and I guess he’d been planning it all of his life, so it was very meaningful for me to be able to do [the film.]”

From Ending the ‘Hemingway Curse’ By Alix Redmonde, Herald-Tribune.

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Running from Crazy DVD

Running from Crazy Instant Video


In this video of her interview for Democracy Now, Hemingway notes:

“I didn’t do all the right things when I was younger but I always felt like I was trying to get away from the feeling of losing it and a lot of my early childhood was all about controlling everything.”


Here are quotes from another interview article:

RunningFromCrazyWhat do you hope sharing your story does for others who are living with mental illness as well as the general public?

“I want others to feel they are embraced and seen. I want them to know we all share a similar story that we can talk about the pain and fears we have and get through them. Plus if we look at the way we live then we have a real chance of reversing the devastation of mental illness.

“If we take the i from illness and replace it with We, we have Wellness. That is when we as a community come together and begin talking about solutions and the power of people to make a difference in all areas of health and wellness.”

How have your personal experiences with depression impacted who you who you are today?

“I am blessed as my lifestyle and the choices I make today which are highlighted in the book The WillingWay (which is in the film as well) have been the reason for me getting through and understanding the delicate balance of body and brain function… how we eat, what we think, whether we take silence and drink pure clean water, how we exercise and focus our life has the power to transform it.

“It may not be the complete answer for everyone’s depression but it is an ingredient to mental health that is ignored and it is profoundly effective.”

From article: Mariel Hemingway Focuses on Family’s History of Mental Illness in Running From Crazy, By Brendan McLean, NAMI Communications Coordinator [NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness.]


Publications include:

The WillingWay: Stepping Into the Life You’re Meant to Live, by Mariel Hemingway and Bobby Williams.

Mariel Hemingway’s Healthy Living from the Inside Out CD

Archie’s Final Project DVD – film about teen suicide. Hemingway commented about this movie she acts in, along with her daughter Dree: “I come from a family of seven suicides, possibly more, so it’s an important issue for me. Mental health and health and wellness are huge issues in my life. Archie’s Final Project speaks to the heart about kids’ unspoken fears.”


Also see multiple posts on Mental Health and Creative People

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