Arts: How a slice of Hollywood's feelgood factor helps cure the soul

The Wizard of Oz is therapeutic for children; Rebecca is prescribed for ailing marriages. Pretty Woman can help a girl with boyfriend problems. David Lister talks to Britain's first film therapist.

MGM, one of the world's biggest and best-known film studios, has asked a Hertfordshire therapist to endorse its classic children's film The Wizard Of Oz.

When the studio releases the film, digitally remastered on video this Christmas, it will come complete with a bill of health from the psychotherapist Bernie Wooder. MGM announced yesterday that Mr Wooder thinks The Wizard Of Oz "makes excellent viewing for responsible parents who are interested in the healthy emotional development of their children".

It is the first time a studio has commissioned a psycho- therapist, Britain's only film therapist, to endorse a film.

The report Mr Wooder sent to MGM, entitled "The Wizard Of Oz: As Seen From A Therapeutic Perspective", breaks down the Judy Garland film scene by scene and concludes that the cast is bursting with role models for children.

In Mr Wooder's words, "The Wizard Of Oz is a wonderful film because it shows that by being open and friendly to yourself and others, life can be happier ... They [the characters] are helpful role models for identifying those different parts of ourselves which are similar to these characters, ie woolly headed and unintelligent (Scarecrow), mechanical and going through the motions (Tin Man) and tense and frightened (Lion). It also portrays love and sharing in a joint quest."

At his clinic in Borehamwood near the old film studios at Elstree, Mr Wooder, 57, who is registered with the UK Council of Therapists, described yesterday how his love of films and use of them in treating depression and other problems, had changed his patients' lives.

"This is not a gimmick," he said. "I'm sure everyone can think of a film that has moved them in some way. It's the sense of why and where it has moved you which is the springboard from where we start.

"For example, I was working with someone who wanted commitment from her boyfriend and couldn't get it, and she wasn't going to shortchange herself. I got her to see the film Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts says: `I want the full commitment, I want the fairy tale.' She saw it over and over again.

"Then there was a businessman who came to me quite depressed. He was a workaholic, but every time he achieved a project it lost its original promise. It dated from his parents pushing him when he was young. I told him to see The Color Purple, the scene where Whoopi Goldberg is acknowledged publicly for who she was, a human being. That kind of acknowledgment was what he needed. He went to see it eight times and was convulsed with sobs. His energies were refocused. It changed his life."

Films that Mr Wooder particularly recommends for their therapeutic values include: It's A Wonderful Life with James Stewart, "brilliant for self- esteem"; Rebecca, "I recommend couples in second marriages who are having problems with one person feeling haunted by the shadow of a previous partner, to watch it together. It's a very good aid to communication".

Mr Wooder is now trying to persuade MGM to set up a "social concern division", devoted to putting out films that will help people. He said: "My mission is to get the whole perspective of viewing films and videos in a healing way."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Sport
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Voices
voices
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries are at risk of tinnitus
News
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself with remarkable success
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower