Jonah Hill Opens Up About Body Image And Mental Health In ‘Stutz’ Documentary

Stutz is a powerful film that details Jonah Hill’s time with therapist, Phil Stutz and how the tools learned in therapy helped the actor get through some of the lowest points of his life.

Though most actors are notoriously private and remain something of an enigma until the moment they step out for a red carpet appearance, Jonah Hill has granted audiences a rare insight into his life and the very personal moments that saw him struggle with his mental health. Where just a few years ago, talk of mental health issues and therapy would be pushed to the margins, Hill is on a mission to remove the stigma associated with such topics and bring them into the spotlight. It’s why his latest documentary, Stutz, serves as such a powerful film on the importance of mental health which, just like our fitness routines, requires daily and consistent work. 

Having just landed on Netflix, the film presents an intimate look at the power of therapy, focusing on the dynamic that exists between Hill and his own therapist, Phil Stutz, MD, alongside snippets of their own sessions throughout the years. As Hill explains in the film’s beginning, he went to other therapists prior to Stutz, but found they weren’t as helpful. “So, before meeting you, my experience with therapy was very traditional in the sense that I would be talking, and the person would say, ‘How does that feel?’ Or, ‘Interesting,’ – basically keeping me at a massive distance,” Hill explained. 

“And I was thinking about how in traditional therapy, you’re paying this person, and you save all your problems for them. And they just listen. And your friends, who are idiots, give you advice, unsolicited. And you want your friends just to listen, and you want your therapist to give you advice.”

jonah hill

For Stutz, there is also something missing in this mode of therapy that he finds frustrating, telling Hill that much of his own techniques stemmed from a frustration at the interactions Hill previously described. He uses visualisation techniques that add a meditative element to his sessions, amongst others. 

Throughout the film, insights into Hill’s sessions with Stutz show the importance of therapy in navigating mental health struggles. In their sessions, Hill and Stutz cover everything from self-worth to grief and depression, with Stutz giving practical, grounding advice that any viewer can find relevant. One of the issues Hill presents Stutz with is his struggle with body image, and how the trauma of repeated fatphobic comments took a toll on his mental health. “Meeting you and starting our process was out of desperation to get happier,” said Hill. “I just had no healthy self-esteem. Having grown up overweight was something that sounds like not a big deal…but for me personally, it intensely fucked me up.”

Hill explained that he harboured a lot of negative feelings of hurt and shame due to the comments people made about his weight. “I thought if I got successful, they wouldn’t see [my weight]. And then I did, and all people did was just say more of that. And it hurt…and that still resides in me in a way that comes up.”

Hill also opens up about the grief he experienced after losing his brother at a young age, something Stutz can relate to having also lost a brother. “The only time I’ve had a massive experience with death, you were the person who got me through that,” says Hill. “I went to your office that morning, and it was definitely the most intense day of my life, the most shook up I’ve ever been,” he added, referring to the death of his brother who died of a blood clot in 2017. 

For Hill, the documentary was one he made in order to bring such conversations into the spotlight and hopefully, encourage others to do the same. “I’m making this movie because I want to give therapy and the tools I’ve learned in therapy to as many people as possible through film,” he said. 

Thanks to his therapy sessions with Stutz, Hill has continued to work on his mental health and finds himself in an incredibly good place. “I made this movie because I love Phil, because I love the life these tools allowed me to have.”

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