Joshua Oppenheimer’s 2016 Oscar nominated documentary, The Look Of Silence, is a riveting exploration of the Indonesian genocide’s complicated psychological aftermath. In 1965-1967, the military dictatorship killed over a million assumed Communists opposed to their rule. In the film, we follow the Rukun family, centered on 44-year-old Adi, all unable to grieve the brutal murder of son and brother, Ramli. This loss has destroyed their lives. Adi, an optometrist, approaches the killers on the pretext of examining their eyes, trying to make sense of his brother’s death. Facing the past is the only way to break free of a very...

Home is where we start from. This truth, and the title of one of D.W. Winnicott’s books, captures much unspoken about the impact our families have on how we develop. What happens to us in those environments sets the tone for differing separation struggles we see in young people, including Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan) the main character in John Crowley and Nick Hornby’s film, Brooklyn. For Eilis, an Irish girl transplanted to Brooklyn in the 1950’s, the severe homesickness that settles in arises out of the emotional residues of a difficult mother. A Difficult Mother Eilis’ only parent is her mother (Jane Brennan)....

Date rape is a confusing thing. You know the guy. You went out with him. You consented to kissing him. Maybe even more. But, when it came right down to it, you said “No “and he didn’t listen. Is it your fault for having gone that far? It’s not. No is No. There’s no reason to feel guilty or take on the blame. That can interfere with your life. Look at Loretta Young. Look at her daughter, Judy, who wrote in her memoir (Uncommon Knowledge): “My life has been filled with hypocrisy and deception from the moment I was born.” Loretta...

Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon), Secret Service agent, apparently made a mistake and let someone suspicious go. Apparently, 621 people died. This weighs heavily on his conscience. Other mistakes weigh heavily, too. Such as having an affair with his partner, Kate Hewson (Carla Gugino) and hurting his wife and son. Yet, as four episodes of M. Night Shyamalan’s disturbingly strange world of Wayward Pines unfold, we begin to wonder if it’s all a hallucination in Ethan Burke’s mind - or something else. We can expect a surprise ending from Shyamalan. But, from my vantage point as a psychoanalyst, let’s take it as...

Mad Men’s finale takes Don Draper (Jon Hamm) to the ultimate darkness of the soul, only to end up … Where? It seems a tragic cosmic joke to leave the Draper – Francis family the only ones with loose ends. Don might be back on his game, conjuring up the world’s greatest Coca Cola ad. But, why would he write a jingle about the real thing instead of doing it? It starts with two very difficult phone calls. First, Don talks to Sally (Kiernan Shipka). He’s jolted back into reality when convinced Betty’s (January Jones) dying of lung cancer: “What?! I’m...

Don Draper’s (Jon Hamm) at a crossroad. He seems to be on the run again, but it’s not that simple. He’s searching for something. Trying to put together the pieces of Dick, the boy he left behind - pieces that include his mistakes. While he’s roaming the Milk and Honey Route in Season 7, Episode 13, there’s tragedy brewing back home for the Draper-Francis family. Betty is dying. As Betty faces death, Don faces what’s interfered with living. He wakes up to a dream: A cop pulls him over, “We’ve been looking for you. Knew we’d catch up to you eventually.” It’s...

No matter how hard Russ (Timothy Hutton) tries or how ingratiating he is, there’s roadblock after roadblock to his attempts to make up for his mistakes. Although American Crime is in search of the person who killed Matt and injured Gwen, Russ acts like a criminal. He’s not a suspect, of course. And, even though he isn’t literally a criminal, his family treats him like one. He feels like one. Guilt can ruin a life. For those who haven’t watched the series – Russ is Russ Skokie, father of Matt the victim of murder. Barb (Felicity Huffman) is his ex-wife who struggles with feelings...