themighty logo

The Surprising Thing Netflix's 'Bonnie & Clyde' Showed Me About Anxiety Attacks


Most people know the classic story of Bonnie and Clyde: a classic love story of two young people in the 1930s that led to the largest bank robbery spree in history. If you are familiar with the movie line, you know that both Bonnie and Clyde were both “typical” young adults in their time with a wild strike. I’m not here to write out the whole movie script for you, I’m here to point out something I noticed in the action-packed love story.

Within the first 30 minutes of this TV mini-series, Bonnie Parker, played by Holliday Grainger, receives a rejection letter in the mail for a modeling part. Holliday’s character started quickly gasping for her breath, a full set of panic and worry flooded the 19-year-old as she scrambled around her bedroom, trying to figure out how to cope with the rejection of her dream. The panic spread through her body, her breathing got harder to contain as her mom, Emma Parker, played by Holly Hunter, rushes into the room. Without hesitation, the caring mother calms her daughters panic down immediately by repeating “focus on your breathing” until Bonnie had control of her breath back.

With this scene being one of the major ones in the series, I applaud the director and screen writers for keeping this scene as real as it gets. Throughout the two-part TV mini-series, scenes of Bonnie having these anxiety/panic attacks show up a handful more times, but the beginning scene is the most eye-opening for those who didn’t expect something like that in an action movie.

Being snowed in your house in the southeast, for most, means to hibernate and find a few good movies on Netflix to watch. For myself, that is what I was doing when I stumbled upon this series. As I got comfy on the couch, I didn’t expect myself to be writing my thoughts on one rebel of a character. If you glance at Holliday’s character, you wouldn’t expect the model and dancer to struggle with a commonly misunderstood mental illness.

This is what Bonnie Parker taught me about anxiety attacks:

It doesn’t matter what gender, body shape, or personality you have — anxiety can hit anyone. Anxiety and panic don’t care if you’re the happiest person with a soul mate that makes you feel better when they are around. Anxiety doesn’t care. Although Holliday’s character is a rebel of a girl without a cause, she still has a limit. Everybody has a limit.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Lead image via Netflix