Split Personalities in Film

In recognition of the movie Split (2017), I thought that it’s only fair to do dedicate this blog to movies that are based on split personalities as they have a deep meaning and often force the viewer to pay close attention to what is happening in each scene.

Shutter Island (2010), is a good example of a movie incorporating this idea. Teddy Daniels is a US Marshall that is haunted by his past that goes to a mental asylum in order to find answers and an escaped patient. But everyone seems to be hiding something and things don’t add up. Although it turns out that he is a patient admitted there by the name of Andrew Laeddis who was admitted for his wife’s murder. The film brilliantly drops hints of this by showing that the names of the people he is investigating are all anagrams of his own name. This is a brilliant technique that shows the audience how his second personality relates to his first. While his personality is suppressed because the thought of him killing his own wife is too much to bear.

Fight Club (1999), is a story that is told from the narrator’s point of view and also explores split personalities or dissociative identity disorder. But by far the movie that really displays this the most is Split (2017). This film takes it to a new level, by incorporating a man with 24 different personalities who kidnaps three teenage girls and displays his different personalities to them. However, brilliant this film is, an outrage was created since this movie wrongly portrayed individuals suffering with the illness. A recurring theme found in these types of movies is that the individual with the illness suppresses a personality or many due to a deeply distressing event, that they cannot confront or have repressed. In this aspect, these kinds of movies explore the inner worlds of characters and sometimes even convey the feeling that make us question if we ourselves have a slight variation of this exaggeratedly conveyed illness. In that aspect, these films provide a very subjective experience and immerse the viewer in their own minds after seeing related films.

References:

SHYAMALAN, M. N., BLUM, J., BIENSTOCK, M., MCAVOY, J., TAYLOR-JOY, A., BUCKLEY, B., & RICHARDSON, H. L. (2017). Split.

Lehane, D. (2010). Shutter Island. New York, HarperTorch.

FINCHER, D., et al. (2002). Fight club. Beverly Hills, CA, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

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