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Archives for April, 2011

Anger and Hatred

Exploring the Shadow: Instincts in “Wolf” (Part II)

[Part 2 of a 4-part series]
In Part I, we looked at the Shadow as it turns up in our unlived lives. In our further exploration, we’re going to look at Shadow and our instincts. As Dr. Joe Burgo says,
“Freud believed human beings were driven largely by instinct (the Id). As we become "civilized," the external      restraints and limits imposed by society upon the gratification of those instincts...
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Exploring the Shadow: The Unlived Life in “Man on the Train” (Part I)

[Part 1 of a 4-part series on the Shadow in film]
In this series, we will be looking at four diverse films, illustrating various aspects of the Shadow.

The Shadow is whatever is unconscious, repressed, unlived or hidden in our psyches. One of the purposes of depth psychology is to “bring to light” these aspects of ourselves so that we can digest and integrate them, and so...
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Anger and Hatred

‘Mildred Pierce’ (HBO): How to Make a Monster (Part Two)

In Part One of this review, I discussed the ways that Veda Pierce is the carrier for all the frustrated ideals and aspirations her mother Mildred cannot achieve.  From this point of view, we might say that there are some narcissistic aspects to Mildred's love for her daughter: if Veda were to rise in station and become someone of stature, Mildred would regard it both as a reflection upon herself and a fulfillment...
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Anger and Hatred

‘Mildred Pierce’ (HBO): How to Make a Monster (Part One)

As much as I love the original 1945 version of Mildred Pierce with Joan Crawford, this new 5-part HBO series starring Kate Winslet offers a much more nuanced and accurate psychological portrait of a troubled mother-daughter relationship.

While the cult classic gives us a relatively innocent, devoted mother-as-doormat, abused and manipulated by her ruthless daughter, this new mini-series shows that a bad seed like Veda is created not born.

Joan Crawford's Mildred certainly over-indulged her daughter; but...
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Family Dynamics

Exploring Father and Daughter Bonds through “Proof”

The film Proof (2005) gives us a view into various aspects of the father-daughter relationship.

The father, Robert Llewellyn, is played by Anthony Hopkins, and his daughter, Catherine, played by Gwyneth Paltrow. As the film opens, we see a despondent Catherine having an interchange with her father. We realize within minutes that Robert has recently died, setting up a metaphor for how others can haunt us.

In this case,...
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Love and Romance

Self-Abnegating Love in ‘The War of the Roses’

I decided to revisit this film from 1989 because of its acrimonious divorce:  I've been wanting to write about a particular process that sometimes occurs when a marriage falls apart, where the couple seems to be trapped in a struggle over who will emerge the "winner" and who the "loser" (I've written about this dynamic more generally elsewhere).

Although The War of the Roses portrayed this dynamic, I came away from my viewing...
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Bipolar Disorder

‘Limitless’: Addiction and Bipolar Disorder

Although Limitless (2011) ultimately winds up as a cautionary tale about drug addiction, it begins with a revealing portrayal of the shame and self-loathing to be found in depression, as well as the manic flight into omnipotence of thought that characterizes bipolar disorder.

Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) is a down-on-his-heels writer whose girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish) dumps him during one of the opening scenes.  He may have secured an advance from his publisher for a...
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A Look at Women’s Arc of Transformation Through Three Films: Woody Allen’s “Alice”

PART III (of 3 parts)
Our third film, Woody Allen’s Alice, made in 1990, stars Mia Farrow. Unlike Darling or Madame Bovary, Alice becomes conscious and starts growing into her destiny with the help of her guide, Chinese herbalist Dr. Yang.

Many women’s journeys end up in the same place, whether single, married, divorced, widowed, with or without children: a journey to find the particular meaning of their own life.

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