World-renowned psychiatrist Phil Stutz sits down for an unorthodox, heartfelt session with friend and patient Jonah Hill, bringing to life Stutz’s visualization exercises, called The Tools, and sharing how to apply them while having unconventionally deep conversations on both sides.
Jonah Hill and Dr. Phil Stutz have an awe-inspiring relationship. After recently taking a step back from doing press for the good of his mental health, Hill wanted to make a documentary to share his friend’s therapy method, The Tools, with the world. In STUTZ, Jonah explains why he began therapy at thirty-three. Fame exacerbated his hurt, but with Phil’s help, his self-love grows daily. Admittedly it is not without struggle. That’s not the point. It is a lifelong process, day to day, making it through the next twenty-four hours.
“The Tools,” a phrase writers and actors use often, made complete sense. Dr. Stutz uses hand-drawn visual notecards to explain each one. A simple and concise way to relate the exercises that anyone could carry in their pockets. Life Force, Part X, String of Pearls, The Shadow, The Snapshot, The Maze, Radical Acceptance, and Loss Processing comprise The Tools.
Both Jonah and Phil talk through each one. For example, Hill explains, “Part X would be the villain in the story of being a person.” Stutz describes it as a primal fear of overcoming negative forces. But without Part X, we don’t grow. During the course of their conversations, I found myself closing my eyes when Phil requested it from Jonah. It was as if I were “on the couch” with him.
Phil and Jonah take jabs at one another. They are goofy, loving, and brutally honest. Delving into Phil’s turbulent childhood, it is easy to see why he became a therapist. Jonah asks questions that put him on the spot. We learn how Parkinson’s diagnosis informs his therapy methods and personal life. There are moments you’ll ask yourself, “which one is the therapist here,” as the questions bounce back and forth. Their trust is mesmerizing.
I learned so much about my behavior, generational trauma, concise ways to dig into my parenting methods, and how to forgive the hurt from my childhood. STUTZ is surprisingly hilarious, making it an insightful and simultaneously breezy watch. Hill’s thoughtfulness in crafting this film makes for a deep revelatory experience. It’s the oddest warm hug in a documentary form I can imagine. I highly recommend STUTZ.
Now streaming on Netflix