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Archives for January, 2011


Violence and Despair in ‘Winter’s Bone’ (2010)

Ree Dolly, heroine of Debra Granik's bleak and moving 'Winter's Bone' (2010), lives at the end of the road, without a car or truck, on the bottom rung of a world where cooking methamphetamine offers one of the few means to earn money and in which even the values of kin and clan have begun to decay.

Personal survival, often ruthless in execution, represents the most universal "value," if we can give it that name, redeemed...
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‘The Social Network’ (2010) and the Power of Narcissistic Injury

In the opening scene of David Fincher's 'The Social Network' (2010) Mark Zuckerberg's girlfriend Erika scathingly dumps him after he insults and belittles her.  Not only does she cut him loose, she does so in an intelligent and clever way, playing upon his insecurities in order to wound as deeply as possible.

A close look at this scene, Mark's insecurities and the results of Erika's rejection of him offers some...
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Family Dynamics

Enmeshed Family Dynamics in ‘The Fighter’ (2010)

If you're searching for a vivid cinematic portrayal of enmeshed and dysfunctional family dynamics, look no further than David O. Russell's The Fighter (2010), with Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Melissa Leo in a knock-out performance as Alice, matriarch of a large Irish-American clan.

Early in the movie, we meet the entire family at a bar in Lowell, Massachusetts.  In addition to the two brothers, Dickie and Micky, there's a large number of...
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‘The Fighter’ (2010) and Hereditary Narcissism

In The Wrestler, Darren Aronofsky gave us a protagonist so addicted to the narcissistic feed of public adoration that he destroyed relationships with both his estranged daughter and new girlfriend, eventually putting his own life at risk to get his fix.  Now in The Fighter, David O. Russell shows us a dysfunctional family mired in pathological narcissism, with mother Alice and favorite son Dicky ruthless in their pursuit of attention and admiration.

A passel of obedient,...
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‘Avatar’ and Your Ideal Self

At the opening of the movie Avatar, Jake Sully has suffered a severe spinal chord injury that leaves him a paraplegic. No longer able to perform as a combat marine, and because the military won't pay for an operation to restore the use of his legs -- that is, to return him to his former self -- Jake volunteers for a specialized military mission to the planet Pandora.

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