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Author Topic: Is there any validity in the films that portray personality disorders?  (Read 26757 times)

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« on: March 13, 2012, 10:28:06 AM »

Hi all

It seems a lot of people on here (including myself)find films that include the issue of personality disorders useful for understanding and insight into the condition. I have included a list but am sure there are others unbeknown to me. I hope my fellow forum users find it useful nonetheless. Please feel free to add to it.

Borderline personality disorder:

The Fountainhead (1949)

Play Misty for Me (1971)

Fatal Attraction (1987)

Poison Ivy (1992)

Single White Female (1992)

The Crush (1993)

Mad Love (1995)

The Cable Guy (1996)

Fear (1996)

Girl, Interrupted (1999)

Swimming Pool (2003)

Notes on a Scandal (2006)

The Tracey Fragments (2007)

Chloe (2009)

Black Swan (2010)

Antisocial personality disorder:

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Scarface (1983)

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Kalifornia (1993)

Natural Born Killers (1994)

American Psycho (2000)

Irreversible (2002)

No Country for Old Men (2007)

We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011)

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Cruel Intentions (1999)

One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest (1975)

Lolita (1997)

Narcissistic personality disorder:

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Wall Street (1987)

Small Sacrifices (1989)

Basic Instinct (1992)

To Die For (1995)

American Psycho (2000)

White Oleander (2002)

Cruel Intentions (1999)

Take good care everyone,

Floyd1972  wink


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In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.

« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2012, 11:14:05 AM »

We really don't encourage the use of  movies as learning models at bpdfamily.

Some of the "old wives tales" websites like to cite Hollywood characters as examples of personality disorders - it is an excellent way to promote a victim mentality and the whole "predator and prey" saga.  bpdfamily is more about healing than suffering and piling on.

People with BPD are inherently weak individuals struggling to survive and making a mess of their lives - not predatory monsters.  None of the movies listed above are attempts portrayal a medical condition.    Lets take two examples:

Play Misty for Me - 1972.   Did Clint Eastwood attempt to portray Borderline Personality Disorder in Play Misty for Me?  

No. Eastwood was a rookie director. In the 70's, slasher films were popular - typically involving a psychopathic killer stalking and killing a sequence of victims in a graphically violent manner, often with a cutting tool such as a knife or axe.  This was his interpretation of that theme.  The script was originally conceived by Jo Heims, a former model and dancer turned secretary. No link to psychology.  The movie was released in 1972 - BPD didn't even make it into the DSM until 1980.  Nothing in the movie points to BPD like behavior - there is no portrayal of family abuse, suicidal ideation, self loathing, or cutting.

Black Swan - 2010.  Jumping ahead 38 years... while Black Swam does an excellent job of portraying the terror related to psychosis, there are several professional reviews that point out the large amount of artistic license taken - notably that there are too many psychological issues going on with "Nina".  She shows elements of an anxiety disorder with obsessive compulsive behaviors.  She also manifests self-injurious behavior of BPD and some signs of an eating disorder. She dabbles with substance abuse.  She has psychotic breaks if not outright psychosis.  It is highly unlikely all of these elements could coexist in one person, especially someone performing as a ballerina at such a high level.

Peanut cartoon series.  There is an amateur book at Amazon that makes the claim that Lucy from the Peanuts cartoon series is NPD. In the strip, Lucy often thinks ridiculous beliefs are true (i.e.: there's a different sun every day, snow comes up out of the ground, birds can fly to the moon and back); regarding them as "little known facts".  NPD?  Not sure.  smiley

  Go as far as you can see - when you get there you will see farther.


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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2012, 01:24:04 PM »

Of course I agree that individuals suffering from personality disorders are vulnerable individuals underneath, but I have often found their surface behaviours are quite predatory and destructive.

I have experienced this both as a professional attempting to help them and as a spouse.

Of course it is in the film industries interest to both sensationalise and represent one side of the BPD story.

However, I think most people on here would know the difference between reality and a good story. After all we have been on the victim end of their behaviour.

It makes me think of my own history of addiction, where on the surface I was often a complete nightmare to be around, but inside I was wounded and incredibly vulnerable. I can't resist referencing the harrowing and frighteningly accurate film on addiction Requiem For A Dream (which is not on my list) here.

I have found some of the films listed useful to a point in regards to understanding personality disorders. But of course like all films they are no substitute for an individuals real life experience and knowledgeable persons.

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Healing and moving on after BPD relationship

« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2012, 11:20:47 PM »

It just occurred to me that there's a movie we can all watch to have a better

grasp of BPD on an emotional level. Remember "Big" with Tom Hanks, in which a little boy wishes to be grown up and suddenly wakes up in an adult body? He gets a job in a toy company and has a relationship with a young woman, who has no idea what's going on with him, although he's lovable and different. The character of the "adult" who is really a little boy inside, played by Tom Hanks, comes really close to BPD behavior. (It's worth noting, however, that BPD behavior is emotionally more on the level of a two-year-old or three-year-old toddler than a six-to-eight-year-old boy.)

And I even know of a similar movie, more recent, in which a young girl suddenly finds herself in an adult body and having an important job at a magazine. She has no idea how to cope with adult life. I can't think of the name of this movie right now, but it was out not more than four or five years ago at most.

If we can rent these movies and view the childish emotions of the children played out in the adult bodies, I think we'll have a more visceral understanding of BPD. It's worth a try. :-)
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« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2012, 11:35:42 PM »

the movie u are referring to about the girl is 13 going on 30...

i disagree with your assessment of those movies being good for understanding...

then again what the heck do i know?

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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2012, 11:41:03 PM »

There's tons of movies with BPDism out there, when they come to mind ll try and remeber

A lot of the times the BPD person is leading role / hero
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« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2012, 12:40:50 AM »

I've had a month long marathon of BPD movies and I find that many, if not most, fail at portraying the person accurately. A lot were based on real events but it's been very obvious that the filmmakers weren't aware of the disorder and in other times the films were made by BPDs and had rose tinted glasses portraying them as good and honest victims.

From my experience, Fatal Attraction is as close to my experience as possible. My jaw just drops at how accurate the change of moods are and even what the character says and suggests. The only thing that was missing was a third party but I guess that pushed the pwBPD over the edge for the inability to self soothe.

So yeah.. Fatal Attraction is spot on based on my experience though the BPD played out differently because of different circumstances. Oh, and my exBPD didn't look frightening like the character smiley

We are all children loved and unloved.
You marry someone who's like the parent with whom you had the most troubling issues.
When you say "no thanks" to something (or someone) that's not a good fit for you, you're saying "yes please" to something better up ahead.
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« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2012, 12:45:07 AM »

I think FA was a good movie...I used to love watching that movie, but after with everything going on, I am scared to watch it. I am scared of how I would react to it now...


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« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2012, 12:56:29 AM »

Marilyn Monroe was diagnosed with bipolar but now they assume she was BPD. I saw "My week with Marilyn" and saw a lot of BPD symptoms in it...
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« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2012, 01:01:18 AM »

I don't blame MM for her issues. She had alot of bad things happen to her in her lifetime. Its sad, I think she was quite possibly misunderstood by what we do know about her. I haven't seen the movie, but I have read alot about her life and her upbringing...Sad stuff if you ask me..


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