Ambivalence Articles

Exploring Idealization of Mother in “Alice”

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Woody Allen’s film Alice (1990) is a kind of heroine’s journey. In it, Alice (Mia Farrow), married to a wealthy attorney, goes to a Chinese herbalist, Dr. Yang, for help with a bad back. More than just curing the symptom, the doctor, through his various elixirs, helps Alice to explore hidden parts of her psyche. In this piece, I focus on Alice’s idealization of her mother.

Exploring Mother & Daughter in “Postcards from the Edge”

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Further exploring various dynamics of the mother and daughter relationship, we’ll have a look at a scene from Postcards from the Edge (1990). This film is based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Carrie Fisher (daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds). Suzanne Vale (Meryl Streep) plays the addiction-prone actress daughter of movie star Doris Mann (Shirley Maclaine). Doris is portrayed as overbearing, controlling, manipulative, competitive and self-absorbed; Suzanne is very much in her shadow.

“Black Swan” and the Recovery of the Shadow Self

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Darren Aronofsky’s visually stunning new film, ‘Black Swan’, tells us that while it may be terrifying and socially unacceptable to experience “black” feeling, when we try to be all “white” we only end up weak and frightened, incapable of passionate engagement with our world.

Harry Potter vs. The Lord of the Rings, Part III

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Continuing discussion of the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter sagas as a metaphor for the psychic conflict between love and hatred.

Harry Potter vs. The Lord of the Rings, Part II

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

A continuation of an earlier post that discusses both epics in terms of human psychology, especially splitting and ambivalence.

Harry Potter vs. The Lord of the Rings, Part I

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

The Harry Potter saga, as well as ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy of books and movies, is a wonderfully complex fairy tale that can be understood as both an epic battle between good and evil as well as the externalization of internal emotional conflicts.


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Recent Comments
  • Marla Estes: Hi Ms Nichols, Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I think you’re right, and that both ways of...
  • Ms Nichols: Vivi may have learned to form alliances with men instead of identifying with women, in order to have some...
  • WarLin: I related very much to Mildred. I completely understand her view towards Veda. She loves her daughter so much...
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