Sybil

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“Sybil” is a movie which revolves around a girl; Sybil with her therapist; Dr. Wilbur. Sybil is diagnose with Multiple personality disorder, or also currently known as dissociative identity disorder (DID). Some of her 16 personalities include babies, teenage girls, young girls, and teenage boys. These characters were created by her mainly for protection.

DID-Cause and Illness

According to the DSM-IV-TR, one has to obtain 2 or more distinct identities to be diagnose with DID. In the movie, Sybil is diagnose with 16 separate personalities, hence, the portrayal of DID in the movie is relatively accurate. Moreover, she was also unable to remember her childhood; more appropriately, she was reluctant to do so. This is also another criteria in the DSM-IV-TR to diagnose a person with DID.

On top of that, Sybil would unconsciously travel far away from her home and suddenly realize that she does not remember how and why she is here. This has caused a significant distress in her social and work life. According to the DSM-IV-TR, these symptoms are symptoms of dissociative fugue. Both DID and dissociative fugue disorders were dissociative disorders, but the latter disorder was not fully explained in the movie.

Aside from the illustrations of the disorder demonstrated in the movie, the reasons shown of Sybil’s suffering was also portrayed relatively accurate.  We can see in the film that Sybil was abused by her mother at a very young age. It was believed that she was sexually abused by her mentally ill mother, whom suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. Her mother would punish her by inserting cold water into her vagina and wouldn’t let her go to the washroom. As a child, Sybil was traumatized by her mother; hence has caused her to develop a defend mechanism by having different personalities to protect herself.

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Chariots of Fire

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The movie “Chariots of fires” is about two ambitious Individuals who are individuals who strives for success but yet also motivated by different reasons. Throughout the movie, we are able to see how the behavior started and how they strive for success.

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Eric Liddell

Eric is strong to his belief and trust that his talent is given by God and he should make full use of it. Throughout the movie, Eric stood firm that his religion is what keeps him going and that his success is only to be use for the better. Even when his faith is tested, he doesn’t stop to cherish his achievement with the world and continues as a missionary in China.

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Harold Abrahams

On the other hand, it is shown in the movie that Harold finds his motivation through hardship. Due to the fact that Harold was from a Jewish decent, he was forced to face difficult times. Harold’s drive to success is clearly shown when he started experiencing inferiority which later drives him to strive for superiority. Harold also started developing an internal locus of control, contemplating if he should quit or not after his first lost. He feels that he has done everything under his power but still not good enough, but later sees that he has to work harder and strive to validate his arrogant attitude.

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Both Eric and Harold showed their different coping mechanism when motivated to strive for success. We can see that external rewards are not what drives the both of them, but it is their inner needs, regardless of religion or personal goal that helps them reach their achievement. The expectancy value theory applies most in this film because both of individuals exceeds their own strong beliefs and values to fulfill their needs.

The Departures

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The movie “Departures”  basically tells us the story about Daigo, an unemployed cellist  working as an “encoffiner” in Japan. The movie portrayed the journey of Daigo and the unexpected job as an encoffiner.  An encoffiner’s real task is to bring dignity to death and is a form of respect to the deceased. This can be seen at the start of the movie when Daigo was performing his task of cleaning the dead body. Whats interesting is that they put on makeup to the faces of the dead body, regardless of age and gender. To my understanding, this act of cleaning and beautifying a dead body is a way to show that death is also of significance in this world. 

Many of us, especially the people around me perceive death as a taboo and talking about your own death is a bit terrifying. Most of it I believe is the fear of the afterlife (according to muslim religion, those with sins are doomed to hell). This movie portrayed death as a departure to the afterlife hence the movie name. It has a way of showing that death is a journey and that everyone should be respected the same as when they are alive. I believe that a funeral is a traditional symbolic expression of our beliefs, thoughts and feelings about the death of a loved one. Funeral ceremonies particularly in this movie helps acknowledge the reality of death, gives testimony to the life of the deceased. It provides support for mourners in a way by helping us to embrace the beliefs of life and death. it also in a way offers us hope for the living. 

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Another interesting point in the movie is  the act of beautifying the dead body happens to be  their belief to restore beauty for all eternity. The procedure itself is done peacefully and beautifully which further clarifies their view of death as a departure. Overall, the movie is a good watch. I think it is one of a kind, somehow the movie about dead people manage to reveal a sense of life and spirit.

Schindler’s List

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“Schindler’s List” revolves around a member of the Nazi Party – Oscar Schindler, who is also a con businessman motivated by greed in the beginning, but later ended up saving thousands of Polish-Jewish refugees during the Holocaust by turning his  factory into a safe house.

Throughout the film, distress is felt due to the setting of World War II.  I think the films portray the concept of Evil Psychology in an obvious way. Throughout the film, German troops were never short of cruelty and brutality. One great example is Amon Golf, who literally kill for fun or you can argue out of boredom. And it shocked me that he didn’t feel any remorse, which seems psychologically he perceives his captives like animals. It was a very dehumanizing scene. To down a few notches of evil, the Nazis gathered the Jews to concentration camps and treat them like slaves. All these depictions translated perfectly with the outcome of Zimbardo’s prison experiment whereby if one possesses the power of higher authority – the German troops like the prison guards in the experiment would ended up succumbing in obedience to the extent of dehumanize a fellow human being.

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I think Schindler’s list brilliantly conveys the notion that people are capable to commit to evil things out of obedience of a higher authority figure. But, it also shows that people are capable to break off that chain of command too with the scene when Oscar Schindler gave a speech to his workforce and challenged the German guards to kill them now in cold blood or they could just spare them and leave. They left, and for me it was a victorious moment for humanity. We aren’t that evil after all.

Good Will Hunting

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“Good Will Hunting” is the kind of movie that is inspiring and yet portrays a very real life scenario that would relate to many people. The movie is about a 20 year old mathematical genius with a photographic memory; Will Hunting, who is an introvert and lives his life revolving around hanging out with his friends, low skilled jobs, getting in to fights and troubles.

Will spends a lot of time interpreting books. Aside from his brilliant mathematical ability, he is also well equip with the knowledge of other subjects such as history and general knowledge.

Will’s current behavior is due to the fact of his upbringing. He’s an orphan, which grew up in a series of foster home in which he was physically abused by. As a result, Will developed attachment disorder. He was not able to form trusting relationships with anyone, nevertheless is unable to control his anger. Although he instill much knowledge, he is unable to grasp the true understanding and is not able to integrate his intelligence to his relationships in any situations, except with 3 young men whom he called his best friends.

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Will is fortunate to be blessed with 3 friends who he can trust. His friends stood by him when he really needed them and vice versa. His friends are the only once in the world that he can truly relate and trust, hence, the only person that he thinks he could best take advice from are from his friends. When Chuckie said that the happiest time in his morning day would be that part when drive up to Will’s front door, bang on the door and no one answers, no good byes no nothing; demonstrated that his friends are there not to gain fame or advantages from being friends with a genius, but they are genuine and are ready to let go.

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However, although his friends go through thick and thin with Will, they have never exchanged personal and intimate details about themselves. Their friendship is based on mutual understanding, support and acceptance.

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Relationship with girlfriend

Skylar plays a very important role in influencing Will’s feelings towards life as she is his soft spot. Although initially Skylar was attracted to Will’s charm of knowledge with words, she later finds out that he is not so much of a perfect person as well. She accepted him for who he is because she could relate to him is many aspects of his life.

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Relationship with Psychologist

Sean; a psychologist that Will was scheduled to meet every week in order to avoid conviction and also last resort after a series of failed meeting with previous psychiatrist and counselors,  tries to form emotional connections with Will by practicing self-disclosure, meeting outside of therapy and as well as aggression.

These methods are considered unethical between the therapist-patient relationships, however, in Will’s case, we can see that Will unconsciously began to related his feelings and attitudes to Sean. Although this is an unconventional approach to finally form the relationship with Will, perhaps this is what Will really needs. We can see that Sean’s self disclosure has led to a reciprocity effect, as Will begins to reveal something about himself when Sean did. As compared to his 3 best friends, perhaps Will really needed a friend who listens and doesn’t judge him in anyway.

The ice officially broke, when Sean reassured Will that it is not his fault. Although initially Will took it lightly, knowing that it is not his fault from his knowledge, but he fails to fully grasp the understanding that it is really not his fault. After several reassurances from Sean, Will finally broke down and there was no more barrier between the both of them.

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According to Maslow’s hierarchy, Will lacks in love and belonging, this had led him to have low self esteem and his fixation has restricted him from self-actualizing. Sean is not the main factor of him breaking out from his shell, Skylar reinforced Will that he does not need to be perfect all the time and together with Sean, made Will realize that there are people out there that does truly care for him.

When a Man Loves a Woman

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“When a Man Loves a Woman” is a romantic movie which focuses on a family’s journey while dealing with an alcoholic. Michael is an airline pilot and his wife; Alice was forced to face the consequences of her alcoholism on her own when her addictions threaten her life and as well as their daughter’s safety. Did Michael tried hard enough to help make Alice better, or did he made it worst?

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Relationship – Husband and Wife

At the beginning of the movie, it looks like Alice married the man of her dreams and the man which every girl ought for, but somehow we can see that Alice gradually  did not appear as happy as we though we thought, having to raise 2 children by herself while her husband constantly goes on trips. But, possibly there could be other factors which contributes to Alice’s drinking habits; which could range from the stress faced at her job, working as a school counselor or even stress from her children.  Michael wasn’t aware about her situation until the life of her and her daughters were at stake.

Alice is very fragile both mentally and physically by the time she came back from rehabilitation. Michael fails to see that alcoholism is a lifelong disease to battle, but only sees it as a problem that can be fixed and completely cured. This shows that Michael has a very strong internal locus of control, because he wants to be able to constantly feel that he is in control of everything around him; which includes managing his career, to his children’s welfare and even his wife’s well being, hence, this probably contributes to the reason why Alice asks for a separation.

Michael’s constant control over the family’s life restricts Alice from finding space to grow and rebuild herself, which leads Alice to her breaking point. She also feels that Michael limits her to living a normal life with responsibilities.

“Distance makes a heart grow fonder”, this statement is truly proven when the couple lived separately and realizes their mistakes. Michael later realizes that he should not take everything under his control and listen to his wife, especially during her recovery period with minimal judgment. On the other hand, Alice realizes that she needs Michael’s support and comfort to be able to pull through this phase of her life.

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Relationship – Children; Jess and Casey

Both Michael and Alice are portrayed as great parents in this movie. Although Alice may be lighthearted and loving, she is often reckless when drunk. The incident whereby she slapped Jess, made her come to her realization that she has “hit bottom”. The fact that she admits that she is alcoholic showed the first step towards her recovery.

Michael, even faced with a lot of stress during the course of Alice’s rehabilitation, raising 2 children while juggling with his work all by himself, never came to a breaking point whereby he releases his anger towards his children. His constant patience and understanding towards his children is what keeps the both Jess and Casey strong.

The fact that Jess said when she was seen making a mess in the kitchen trying to cook for her younger sister, Casey, “I don’t know what children wants, first she wants pancake, then eggs”, shows that she is trying to take the responsibility as a motherly figure to her younger sister, Casey. She is seen to be very observant and a fast learner. Hopefully, the effects of seeing the behavior of her mother or even the emotional abuse she felt while dealing with her mum when she is drunk, does not affect both her and her sister, Casey when they are older.

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Overall, I think that this movie did not portray alcoholics in a very accurate matter. Problems faced, as family members of an alcoholic are depicted in a more subtle way as compared to many alcoholics. Most of the time alcoholic parents will lead to bad effects towards their children. However, in this movie, both the children are not affected at all, in fact the oldest daughter, Jess seemed to be coping with it well enough.

Alcoholism is known as a family disease, this movie, although many flaws, seemed to be able to capture the concept of a perfect family standing by each other as a family no matter what.

To find out more about alcoholic and its effect on the family: http://allpsych.com/journal/alcoholism.html

Shine

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“Shine” is a wonderful movie conveying the true story of a talented pianist; David Halfgott, whose career as a pianist was cut short due to a psychotic disorder – schizophrenia. As far as the movie is about the talent David possessed; it is also as much a portrayal of a control-freak father who is always expecting the best from his son, sometimes resulting in abuse.

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Relationship – Father

The dynamics of relationship between David and his father, Peter is very interesting. Firstly, Peter is a father who takes plenty of pride and credit of his son’s musical talent but when a local pianist called Ben Rosen, offered to take David under his tutelage, Peter was very reluctant to let go of David. It was later revealed in the movie that Peter bought a violin when he was David’s age, but his father “smashed” it. It is seen that Peter is currently living off his musical dream through his son; David, which is why it is so hard for him to let David go, especially the fact that he personally trained David this far.

Fortunately for Peter, David is naturally talented in piano; he is not afraid to tackle difficult pieces and is a fairly obedient boy. Even when his father drove away his friend by shouting “tell your friends not to come!” when he was practicing piano, David did not utter a single complain. However, the peaceful relationship turned a little rocky when Peter refused to allow David to go to the America to study, settling the argument that he will “destroy the family” by doing so. David helplessly accepted the situation.

The rocky relationship peaked when David was offered a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London, and again, the father forbids him to go. This time, David retaliated and was determined to go, which resulted Peter to beat his son repeatedly, showing his tyrant side. Peter went off anyhow.

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At London, David manages to achieve what he intended by winning a Concerto competition. He chose to play Rachmaninoff’s difficult 3rd Concerto, a piece he had sought to learn as a young child to make his father proud. The movie depicted David collapsing at the end of his masterful performance. This in my opinion is a symbolic scene, introducing David’s psychological breakdown which will hunt him for his remaining of his life.

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Mental Illness

From a psychological point of view, David appears to suffer from disorganized speech whereby he would mutters mostly irrelevant gibberish as well as catatonic behaviors. However, the movie portrays David gradual return to his pianist career after winning some hearts in Australia, and even ended up a married man.

In conclusion, the profound impact of this movie was the portrayal of a talented boy who plays the piano as much for himself and also his father. In my opinion, the symbolic moment when he collapsed was a breaking point whereby he had already achieved greatness but even so, his father still refused to talk to him. His success is no longer a shared success of him and his father in which we know has already been that. Fortunately, his father Peter ultimately forgave him when he found out about David’s mental illness.

This teaches me the lesson of appreciating people before it is too late, and learn to have a bigger heart, even at times people might offend you.