In some cases, it’s largely harmless things that he documents, but in others, it’s bigger, more important taboos that while you’ll sometimes wish you didn’t know about them, you feel as though you should.
His next documentary falls more into the latter category, as it will endeavour to break down the walls of postpartum mental health.
Called Mothers on the Edge, the new film will show Theroux visiting two specialist psychiatric units that treat women who have fallen victim to serious postpartum conditions; depression and psychosis being amongst them.
The documentary will follow the mothers and their familes as they go through their treatment, and continue to recover once they go back home.
Theroux admitted he didn’t know much about post-natal depression or psychosis until someone on his team raised it to his attention. Speaking to Stylist, he said:
“I’d heard of postnatal depression before, but this was a new one for me,” he told Stylist.
It affects about one in every 200 new mums, and symptoms include visual and auditory hallucinations, as well as profoundly irrational and disordered thoughts. It seemed to me to be a story we could do justice to.
I thought it would be powerful to explore the idea of what is supposed to be this magical and amazing time of creating a new life, and those first weeks and months of caring for that new person, when it’s all overlaid with deeply distressing mental illness.
It seemed to me both very sad but also potentially life affirming, in the sense that we’d hope to share the reality of the condition to create more awareness of it and follow people as they recover from it.“
You can watch Mothers on the Edge in May on BBC Two.
Images via BBC/Richard Ansett