Exploring The Reality of Living with ADHD Through Blockbuster Films

by Staff

Hollywood excels at bringing unique subjects to the big screen, from societal issues like marital rape to mental conditions like depression. Filmmakers often explore ADHD, showcasing the daily challenges of impulsive behaviors, difficulty focusing, and sustaining attention. Today, we’ll look at the best films that highlight ADHD.

Attention Please 

This short documentary follows a 5-year-old boy diagnosed with ADHD and his mother, filmmaker Andrea Thornton, as they explore treatment options beyond medication.

The Sound of Music

Maria von Trapp exemplifies a woman with hyperactive-type ADHD. Her exuberance and lateness make her an ill fit for the convent but perfect as a governess and music teacher to seven children. This portrayal highlights how people with ADHD can thrive in environments that play to their strengths.

Free The Mind

This documentary, featuring Professor Richard Davidson, explores non-medication therapies for various mental health issues, including ADHD. The film highlights the benefits of yoga, meditation, and continuous therapy, presenting a hopeful view of alternative treatments.

How to Train Your Dragon

The main character, Hiccup, feels different from his fellow Vikings. His lack of focus and tendency to pursue his interests over traditional activities resonate with many ADHD experiences. The film underscores the value of embracing one’s differences and strengths.

The Other Tom 

This drama focuses on a single mother and her son, Tom, who is diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed medication. After an incident, his mother questions the medication’s side effects and explores other options. 

Percy Jackson & the Olympians 

Percy Jackson’s ADHD and dyslexia make school challenging, but these traits become assets in his adventures. His ADHD helps him adapt quickly and succeed in battles, turning his perceived deficits into strengths. 

Mrs. Doubtfire

Robin Williams plays Daniel, a loving but impulsive father who, after a wild party, disguises himself as an elderly nanny to stay close to his kids. Through this process, he learns structure and becomes a better parent, offering a humorous yet heartfelt look at managing ADHD in adulthood.


Jane Austen’s Emma, particularly in the 1996 and 2020 film adaptations, exhibits traits similar to ADHD. Emma’s daydreaming and tendency to meddle reflect inattentive ADHD characteristics. While not explicitly diagnosed, her behavior aligns with many ADHD traits.

Charlie Bartlett 

Charlie Bartlett is a rare film in which the main character is diagnosed with ADHD. The story follows Charlie as he navigates high school life and gains popularity by offering peer counseling. 

Julie & Julia

This film intertwines the stories of chef Julia Child and writer Julie Powell. Julie, struggling to balance her life, exhibits traits common in adults with ADHD, such as starting projects but not finishing them and becoming hyper-focused on her cooking blog. 

The Disruptors 

This documentary follows successful individuals with ADHD, showcasing how they thrive despite their symptoms. Featuring real-life stories, it’s an inspiring film that emphasizes the positive aspects of ADHD, such as hyperfocus and creativity.

Everything Everywhere All At Once 

This award-winning film, known for its chaotic narrative, features characters displaying ADHD-like behaviors. The protagonist, Evelyn, struggles with managing her life, and the film’s exploration of alternate universes reflects the complexity of an ADHD mind. 

Finding Nemo and Finding Dory 

Dory, from Pixar’s beloved films, exhibits traits of inattentive ADHD. Her forgetfulness and scattered thoughts resonate with many viewers who have ADHD. These films offer a gentle, humorous way to discuss ADHD with young children, emphasizing the importance of embracing one’s unique mind.


These films show different and relatable ways people experience ADHD, highlighting both the difficulties and the unique strengths, like creativity and hyperfocus, that come with the condition. Those with ADHD can often quickly recognize similar traits in others, especially in movies, without needing a formal diagnosis. For anyone looking for support, online ADHD treatment can offer the correct set of guidance to manage symptoms and use their strengths effectively.

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The New Jersey Digest is a new jersey magazine that has chronicled daily life in the Garden State for over 10 years.

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