Title

Resources

Most Popular Films with a Diabetes Twist

When Hollywood takes on diabetes, they either get it right or terribly wrong. If a writer adds diabetes as a troupe without researching the facts – it usually reflects in the story, resulting in a low Rotten Tomatoes score. But when a film takes on the authentic challenges of type one diabetes (T1D) by showing the complexity of the disease, it heightens the stakes and fuels the film’s tension.

Most Popular Films with a Diabetes Twist

It’s that time of year again when we celebrate the art of filmmaking. With award ceremonies and festivals in bloom, we have the perfect excuse to escape the cold and catch up on some top-notch movies.

If you’re ready to settle in with a bucket of popcorn, here are a few entertaining films and binge-worthy TV shows with T1D-related themes. With over 60 films featuring diabetes, here are some of the best (and worst) diabetes-related plotlines.

Best Films Featuring Diabetes

The Human Trial (2011)

In this rare, in-depth documentary, filmmakers Lisa Hepner and Guy Mossman investigate the stem cell treatment for diabetes. Hepner (a T1D) participated in the sixth-ever embryonic stem cell clinical trial in San Diego. At the same time, her husband, Mossman, documented the intimate journey and the risks involved by both the patients and scientists. The Human Trial scored 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and has won dozens of cinematic awards. If you aren’t familiar with the Tomatometer rating system, receiving a 100% fresh score is a difficult feat.

Killers of the Flower Moon (2023)

The movie, now on Apple TV, chronicles the tragic history of the Osage Nation in the 1920s. Based on the non-fiction book by journalist David Grann, the film, directed by Martin Scorsese, contains themes of health care inequities and the ‘wasting disease’ of undiagnosed diabetes that took the lives of many Osage people before they reached the age of 50. Their previous resources of hunting and farming were depleted while colonizers pushed cheap, highly processed foods into the indigenous communities. This epic western crime saga has picked up 10 Oscar nominations, including best picture.

Purple Hearts (2022)

This female-directed Netflix romance by Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum is based on the 2017 novel by Tess Wakefield. Rosenbaum adapted Wakefield’s novel beautifully, capturing real-life battles of addiction, our faltering U.S. healthcare system, and life with a chronic illness (T1D). The main character is a singer/songwriter who marries a marine to obtain his health insurance.

Steel Magnolias (1989)

If you’re searching for an old-fashioned chick flick with a T1D protagonist—look no further. The comedy/drama stars Julia Roberts (nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award) as the T1D daughter and Sally Fields as her overprotective mother. You have to remember it came out in 1989, before pumps and CGMs. If anything, it shows the authenticity and dangers of that era, providing us with a deep appreciation for the great technological strides and medical advances of the last 20 years. It’s heart-wrenching and loaded with Golden Globe and Oscar-nominated performances.

Lorin (2021)

Try to catch the 2021 short film Lorin by director Ajas Kulici if possible. The three-minute documentary stars Kulici’s 10-year-old Lorin, from his diagnosis at age seven to his daily struggles with the disease. This Swiss/German short was nominated for an Emmy award in best writing. Lorin’s sweet voice and uplifting personal account will resonate with T1D parents.

Fun Fact: Walt Disney Studios/Pixar's 2022 animated film Turning Red, briefly showcases characters wearing diabetes technology. One girl has an insulin pump infusion set on her arm, the other wears a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).

Panic Room (2002)

Any film starring Jodi Foster is deemed watch-worthy, and David Fincher’s Panic Room is no exception. Foster and her T1D teenage daughter (Kristen Stewart) are at home during a home invasion. Fortunately, they lock themselves in a safe room to hide from the burglars. However, when the daughter experiences a severe low blood sugar attack (hypoglycemia), Foster must leave the panic room to retrieve the glucagon to save her daughter’s life.  

Greenland (2020)

If you’re in the mood for a survival thriller with a diabetes edge, you should check out Greeland. This apocalyptic disaster film, starring Gerald Butler, centers around a family with a type 1 son. As they try to beat an earth-shattering comet headed for Earth, the family attempts to board a plane destined for Greenland. Drama ensues when they leave the son’s insulin in the car, and Owens must return for it. (C’mon, what type 1 mom would forget the insulin?) Award-winning screenwriter Chris Sparling knew a little about type 1 diabetes from his wife, Kerry, who was diagnosed at age 14. 

Momento (2001)

If you haven’t seen the 2001 psychological thriller Memento by Christopher Nolan, add it to your to-watch list. It’s not heavy on diabetes management but loaded with mind-bending drama. This clever suspense follows Leonard (Guy Pearce), a man hunting for his wife’s killer. The only catch is he suffers from a rare, untreatable form of memory loss and relies heavily on Post-it notes to make it through the day. In a parallel plot, it’s really bad luck for a woman with diabetes who relies on her husband (with the same condition as Leonard) to give her insulin shots. Momento scored a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Good Nurse (2022)

This psychological thriller, based on the 2013 true-crime book The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness and Murder, depicts a serial killer nurse, Charles Cullen, who, over his 16-year career, is believed to have killed over 400 patients by overdosing them with insulin. Though exogenous insulin therapy is a vital treatment for all T1Ds to monitor blood sugar levels daily, too much can be dangerously toxic and even deadly.

Diabetes Movies with Not-So-Good Reviews

The Next Three Days (2010)

Elizabeth Banks stars as a type 1 diabetes mom wrongfully convicted of murder. Russell Crowe, with the help of Liam Neeson, attempts to break her out of the joint. Crowe carries this heart-thumping thriller that received awful reviews. One of the many plotholes is when Bank’s character’s blood sugar is out of control, so they rush her to the hospital without running a simple blood glucose test.

Derailed (2005)

“Diabetes?” “Type 1, the worst kind,” Clive Owens tells Jennifer Anniston regarding his young daughter’s condition. However, it’s clear the daughter has much more severe issues,  as she has a mobile dialysis machine, so she doesn’t have to go to the hospital every day. There is one authentic, upsetting scene where the daughter has a hypoglycemic episode in the middle of the night, and the parents rush in to give her the glucagon shot. Derailed received mediocre reviews, and if you can keep watching, the 2005 romance thriller will keep you guessing.

Interesting Fact: The American Diabetes Association (ADA) features short films on real-life T1D heroes and ADA TV is an onsite television channel with new episodes daily.

Diabetes in Movies

There you have it. If you can’t get enough diabetes in your life, or perhaps you simply wish to support these brave writers and directors who chose to incorporate the T1D disorder into their art, you have plenty of films to keep you busy for a while!

Latest News

Read all
T1D Strong NewsAchieving the Milestone - 100 Articles Published!

We're just getting started! Committed to empowering the T1D community, we continue to share knowledge and stories.

T1D Team

T1D Team

T1D Strong NewsIntroducing Kelsey McShay: A New Voice at T1DStrong!

Kelsey McShay joins T1DStrong, sharing her stories and insights.

T1D Team

T1D Team

T1D Strong NewsCelebrating a Milestone: 1000+ Followers on Our Social Media Platforms!

We've surpassed 1000 followers on social media, a significant milestone in growing our Type 1 Diabetes community!

T1D Team

T1D Team

Read all

Related Articles

The latest news, technologies, and resources from our team.

PCOS and Type 1 Diabetes: What’s the Link? 
ResourcesPCOS and Type 1 Diabetes: What’s the Link? 
T1D Documentaries: Lights, Camera, Insulin!
ResourcesT1D Documentaries: Lights, Camera, Insulin!
Double Diabetes: Can You Get Type 1 and Type 2?
ResourcesDouble Diabetes: Can You Get Type 1 and Type 2?
Understanding Diabulimia: A Type 1 Diabetes Eating Disorder
ResourcesUnderstanding Diabulimia: A Type 1 Diabetes Eating Disorder
JDRF is Now Breakthrough T1D™
ResourcesJDRF is Now Breakthrough T1D™
Breakthrough T1D (Formerly JDRF) Offers Resources to Adults with Type 1 Diabetes
ResourcesBreakthrough T1D (Formerly JDRF) Offers Resources to Adults with Type 1 Diabetes
LADA Diabetes - Everything You Need to Know about Type 1.5
ResourcesLADA Diabetes - Everything You Need to Know about Type 1.5
Diabetes and Your Weight: Helpful Tips to Manage the Risks
ResourcesDiabetes and Your Weight: Helpful Tips to Manage the Risks
9 Tips for Better Time in Range
Resources9 Tips for Better Time in Range
Type 1 Diabetes and Family History
ResourcesType 1 Diabetes and Family History
Different Types of Diabetes
ResourcesDifferent Types of Diabetes
Low Blood Sugar Anxiety
ResourcesLow Blood Sugar Anxiety
7 Summer Safety Tips with Type 1 Diabetes
Resources7 Summer Safety Tips with Type 1 Diabetes
Best Diabetes Apps of 2024
ResourcesBest Diabetes Apps of 2024
Gluroo: A User-Friendly App that Streamlines Diabetes Management
ResourcesGluroo: A User-Friendly App that Streamlines Diabetes Management
Top Questions to Ask Your Endocrinologist
ResourcesTop Questions to Ask Your Endocrinologist
The 2024 Insulin Shortage and What You Need to Know
ResourcesThe 2024 Insulin Shortage and What You Need to Know
Camping with Type 1 Diabetes
ResourcesCamping with Type 1 Diabetes
The Down Low on DKA
ResourcesThe Down Low on DKA
The Special Diabetes Program and Why it’s Important
ResourcesThe Special Diabetes Program and Why it’s Important
What to Do With Extra Diabetes Supplies 
ResourcesWhat to Do With Extra Diabetes Supplies 
GLP-1s for Weight Loss and People with Type 1 Diabetes
ResourcesGLP-1s for Weight Loss and People with Type 1 Diabetes
Pumping Iron and Pumping Insulin: How the Two Go Hand in Hand
ResourcesPumping Iron and Pumping Insulin: How the Two Go Hand in Hand
Diabetes and Nutrition: Why What You Eat Matters
ResourcesDiabetes and Nutrition: Why What You Eat Matters
Inhaled Insulin – Everything You Need to Know
ResourcesInhaled Insulin – Everything You Need to Know
Top 12 Type 1 Research Breakthroughs to Watch in 2024
ResourcesTop 12 Type 1 Research Breakthroughs to Watch in 2024
 9 Ways to Raise Blood Sugar Quickly
Resources 9 Ways to Raise Blood Sugar Quickly
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Seeks Solutions to Cure T1D
ResourcesVertex Pharmaceuticals Seeks Solutions to Cure T1D
Keep it Simple This Year with No Resolutions—Just Healthy Habits
ResourcesKeep it Simple This Year with No Resolutions—Just Healthy Habits
DiabetesSangha – A Meditation Community Where All is Welcome
ResourcesDiabetesSangha – A Meditation Community Where All is Welcome
The T1D Thyroid Disease Connection
ResourcesThe T1D Thyroid Disease Connection
8 Tips to Help You Sleep with Diabetes
Resources8 Tips to Help You Sleep with Diabetes
Tandem Diabetes Care Revolutionizes Insulin Delivery with Dexcom G7 Integration
ResourcesTandem Diabetes Care Revolutionizes Insulin Delivery with Dexcom G7 Integration
Top 7 Diabetes Podcasts to Educate, Empower and Entertain
ResourcesTop 7 Diabetes Podcasts to Educate, Empower and Entertain
Diabetes and Addiction
ResourcesDiabetes and Addiction
Connected in Motion: A Diabetes Camp for Adults
ResourcesConnected in Motion: A Diabetes Camp for Adults
StartUp Health’s T1D Moonshot Ignites a Call to Action 
ResourcesStartUp Health’s T1D Moonshot Ignites a Call to Action 
Empowering Lives: Nonprofits Making a Difference in the Type 1 Diabetes Community
ResourcesEmpowering Lives: Nonprofits Making a Difference in the Type 1 Diabetes Community
Navigating the Sweet Spooks: A Guide to a Safe Halloween with Diabetes
ResourcesNavigating the Sweet Spooks: A Guide to a Safe Halloween with Diabetes
Enhance-d: A Software Solution to Simplify Glucose Management
ResourcesEnhance-d: A Software Solution to Simplify Glucose Management
Amazon Pharmacy Now Offers Insulin for $35 a Month
ResourcesAmazon Pharmacy Now Offers Insulin for $35 a Month
Diabetes and School - Know Your Rights
ResourcesDiabetes and School - Know Your Rights
Diabetes Support Groups for Young Adults
ResourcesDiabetes Support Groups for Young Adults
Dry Eye Syndrome and Diabetes
ResourcesDry Eye Syndrome and Diabetes
Undermyfork, a Mobile App Success in Diabetes Management
ResourcesUndermyfork, a Mobile App Success in Diabetes Management
Preparing for Emergencies with Type 1 Diabetes
ResourcesPreparing for Emergencies with Type 1 Diabetes
Finding the Right Automated Insulin Delivery System for You
ResourcesFinding the Right Automated Insulin Delivery System for You
Enable Biosciences – Transforming Early T1D Detection
ResourcesEnable Biosciences – Transforming Early T1D Detection
Load More

Knowledge Base

Resources

Knowledge hub for advanced information on Type 1 Diabetes.

Learn more

I May Have T1D Rather Than T2D?

Understanding common queries and exclusive information about diabetes of any type.

Learn more

Life with T1D

Strategies to enhance lifestyle optimization with Type 1 Diabetes.

Learn more

Personal Stories

Life stories of relentless individuals fostering resilience and empowering others.

Learn more

Newly Diagnosed

Insightful guidance, strategic tips, and inspiring narratives.

Learn more

T1D Basics

Fundamental lifestyle suggestions for optimal nutrition, emotions and innovative routines.

Learn more

Daily Management

Revamp your lifestyle with our transformative guidelines for Type 1 Diabetes management.

Learn more

T1D Strong News

Stay updated with the latest from T1D Strong: product updates, company events, notable achievements and our future plans.

Learn more