ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Judd Hirsch Stars in "Altered Minds," a Compelling, Tense, Psychological Thriller

Updated on August 11, 2017
Robert J Sodaro profile image

Robert J. Sodaro is an American born writer, editor, and digital graphic artist, who loves writing about comics, movies, and literature.

Altered Minds

A compelling psychological thriller
A compelling psychological thriller | Source


Altered Minds: Rated No Rating“ (1 h. 46 m.)

Starring: Judd Hirsch, Ryan O'Nan, C.S. Lee, Jaime Ray Newman, Caroline Lagerfelt

Directed by: Michael Z. Wechsler

The Story

This film starts off somewhat ordinary fashion in that it is takes place in a rather conventional suburban home in the dead of winter with — what at first appears to be — just a run-of-the-mill family. Only it isn’t quite that. This is the home and family of one Dr. Nathaniel Shellner (Hirsch). As it turns out, the 75-year-old Shellner has led a most extraordinary life; he is a much lauded psychiatrist who has spent the entirety of his career working predominately with soldiers who have suffered with PTST (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). His work with traumatized patients has earned himself a Nobel Prize for his work, unfortunately it has put him at odds with his children. Leonard (Joseph Lyle Taylor), Tommy (O'Nan), Julie (Newman), and Harry (Lee).

Altered Minds

Altered Minds
Altered Minds

Altered Minds' is a psychological thriller about a tormented son who makes a desperate bid to save his sanity by unearthing family secrets before his father dies.


As the Story Unfolds

As the story unfolds, we come to learn that of his four children, only his eldest, Leonard is his natural child and the other three are adopted. Of the three youngest, Tommy is the most troubled. When the film opens, he is wandering around the neighborhood looking to find the grave of a dog the family owned that passed away when he was a child. Currently, something is still troubling him, some unnamed thing that is hovering just below the surface and is the Macguffin that is what is propelling this story forward, making it something of a compelling tense psychological thriller. While most of the Doctor.’s children are successful in their own fields, Tommy is the one of them who is the most troubled which, naturally enough, results in a conflict-filled present, with an uncertain future.

Altered Minds TRAILER

A Psychological Thriller

As Dr. Shellner’s family is gathered together for the icy, frigid, winter weekend, they become aware that the Doctor.’s health is failing and Tommy’s mental health is deteriorating even as his father’s physical health deteriorates. So the family has convened at the ancestral home where they are gathered for a final, bittersweet farewell to a sensational and inspiring public figure. Well, at least that was the initial idea until Tommy, whose already tenuous grasp on reality is most assuredly slip-sliding away, shows up and he goes so far as to accuse his father of adopting his children not so much out of concern for their future well-being, but so as to utilize them for some twisted psychological experiment.

Altered Minds is a Psychological Thriller

Ryan O'Nan in 'Altered Minds'
Ryan O'Nan in 'Altered Minds' | Source

The Tension Ramps Up

The rest of the film proceeds along as the six people in the Shellner household (including Shellner’s wife (Lillian / Caroline Lagerfelt) interact with each other and the constantly bump up against each other while attempting to exorcise their respective demons. As can be expected, Tommy's accusation against his father is both hurtful and divisive. During the remainder of the evening an increasing number of incidents between the various family members on a number of interpersonal issues escalates the tension in the room as tommy keeps ramping up the accusations against his father.

Family Issues

There are many issues in this dysfunctional family.
There are many issues in this dysfunctional family. | Source

A Satisfyingly Thriller

To be sure, while this film does, admittedly start off a tad slow, it does successfully build to its stunning reveal (which isn’t necessarily what you think nor is it something that isn’t totally out of left field, but it does come as something of a surprise and it is well worth sitting through the running time of this engaging DVD from Entertainment One (complete with deleted scenes, commentary tracks and other special features).

Judd Hirsch in Altered Minds

Judd Hirsch stars in Altered Minds
Judd Hirsch stars in Altered Minds | Source

© 2016 Robert J Sodaro


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)