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Archives for Narcissism


Exploring Mother & Daughter in “Postcards from the Edge”

Further exploring various dynamics of the mother and daughter relationship [For the first part in this series click here], 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...
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Family Dynamics

Exploring (S)mothering in “Terms of Endearment”

In this next series of posts, I’m going to take scenes from a number of films to explore various aspects of mother-daughter relationships. It can be helpful to take stock of how we were mothered, how we’ve complied with and/or rebelled against the woman who raised us (or was supposed to and didn’t). Also it is useful to identify the beliefs and messages that get handed down to us,...
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Mental Health

“Cracks” with Eva Green: Psychological ‘Growth’ by Annexation

If you enjoy smart, well-acted and beautifully filmed British movies where psychological nuance drives the story rather than plot, then be sure to see Cracks (2009), starring Eva Green.

This exquisite film was directed by Jordan Scott, and produced by her father Ridley Scott and uncle Tony Scott.  Based on a novel by Sheila Kohler, Cracks revolves around a charismatic teacher Miss G (Eva Green) at an English boarding school for girls,...
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Defense Mechanisms

Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ Music Video and Her Triumph Over Shame

Lady Gaga's music video for Born This Way begins with a creation myth about the origins of an imaginary Manichaen world.  Her voice-over, accompanied by stunning visuals and set to portions of the magnificent Bernard Herrmann score for Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, tells of the "infinite" birth of "a new race, a race within the  race of humanity.  A race which bears no prejudice, no judgment, but boundless freedom."  On the same day that...
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Sarah Ferguson on ‘Oprah’: The Persistent Narcissistic Defense

This week, the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times features an interview with Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, promoting a documentary that will begin airing June 12th on the new Oprah Network.

This six-part series, entitled "Finding Sarah: From Royalty to the Real World," supposedly traces Ms. Ferguson's journey from the "gutter" into which she fell during the last few years, to a place of new-found understanding and self-acceptance -- "getting Sarah right,"...
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Going Nowhere in Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere”

SOMEWHERE (2010) is a film where nothing happens, either internally or externally.  With no dramatic action to speak of, no climactic moments or twists, the plot could be summed up in a few dull sentences.  Likewise, nothing goes on inside the main character, Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff), a hard-living actor who lives at a full-service hotel in Hollywood.

Despite random sexual encounters with beautiful women, a couple of parties and a trip to Italy for the...
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‘Love and Other Drugs’: Narcissistic Love

Several months before Love and Other Drugs had its theatrical release, I wrote a post about serial romantic relationship addiction on my After Psychotherapy site, inspired by the movie's title.  Now that it has come out on DVD, I've had a chance actually to see it.

Director Ed Zwick has given us a tale of two narcissistic people who take no trouble to hide their manipulative behavior from others but who are saved from...
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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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