Escaping the Madhouse: The Nellie Bly Story

Watch Escaping the Madhouse: The Nellie Bly Story

  • TV-14
  • 2019
  • 6.4  (1,872)

"Escaping the Madhouse: The Nellie Bly Story" is a 2019 biopic film that recounts the harrowing true story of Nellie Bly, a pioneering investigative journalist who went undercover in a notorious asylum to expose its inhumane treatment of patients. The movie stars Christina Ricci as Nellie Bly, Judith Light as Matron Grady, the sadistic head nurse of the asylum, and Josh Bowman as Dr. Josiah.

The film is set in the late 19th century when women's rights were still a nascent movement and mental illness was stigmatized, misunderstood, and often used as an excuse to institutionalize women who didn't conform to societal norms. Nellie Bly is a young, ambitious, and confident journalist who wants to challenge the status quo and make a name for herself in a male-dominated field. She gets her chance when her editor assigns her to write an exposé about the Blackwell's Island Lunatic Asylum, where rumors of abuse and neglect have persisted for years.

Nellie Bly disguises herself as a mentally ill patient, drops all her personal belongings, and surrenders herself to the authorities. She is immediately subjected to a dehumanizing process of intake, where she is stripped, washed, examined, and labeled without any regard for her dignity or privacy. She is then thrown into a crowded and filthy ward, where she meets other women who are also suffering from various forms of mental illness or trauma.

Nellie Bly quickly realizes that the asylum is a house of horrors, where patients are mistreated, abused, and neglected by the staff, who are mostly untrained, unkind, and sometimes even sadistic. Matron Grady rules the asylum with an iron fist, punishing anyone who disobeys her orders or questions her authority. She orders her staff to give patients ice-cold baths, force-feed them, tie them to their beds or chairs, and beat them if necessary. She also uses Dr. Josiah, a smooth-talking and manipulative physician, to justify her actions and gaslight the patients who complain or resist.

Nellie Bly witnesses and endures many atrocities during her stay at the asylum, including the death of a patient who was denied medical attention, the suicide of a young girl who was sexually assaulted by a staff member, and the brutal punishment of a woman who spoke up against Matron Grady. Nellie Bly tries to keep her sanity and her cover intact, while also gathering evidence of the abuses she sees and hears. She befriends a few patients who help her navigate the asylum's politics and protocols, as well as a sympathetic nurse who shares some of her insights and concerns.

The movie builds up tension, suspense, and empathy as it unfolds the story of Nellie Bly's bravery, determination, and resourcefulness in the face of extreme adversity. The cinematography, the sound design, and the period costumes and sets create a vivid and immersive atmosphere of a bygone era, where mental illness was often confused with moral deviance or female hysteria. The performances of the lead actors are convincing and nuanced, especially Christina Ricci's portrayal of Nellie Bly, who oscillates between despair, anger, and hope as she fights for her own survival and the truth.

"Escaping the Madhouse: The Nellie Bly Story" is a timely and moving film that sheds light on the history of mental health care, gender inequality, and journalistic integrity. It raises important questions about institutional power, human rights, and the role of the press in exposing injustices and advocating for social change. It also celebrates the legacy of Nellie Bly, who paved the way for many female reporters, activists, and voices. The film is a must-watch for anyone who is interested in history, social justice, and storytelling.

Escaping the Madhouse: The Nellie Bly Story is a 2019 thriller. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.4.

Escaping the Madhouse: The Nellie Bly Story
Where to Watch Escaping the Madhouse: The Nellie Bly Story
Escaping the Madhouse: The Nellie Bly Story is available to watch free on Tubi TV. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels, The Roku Channel, Lifetime Movie Club, Amazon and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Escaping the Madhouse: The Nellie Bly Story for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
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    6.4  (1,872)