Cassie lost her very best friend (and only true soulmate) to suicide. Why? A violent and repeated rape seriously traumatized Nina and she couldn't go on. And, no one listened. No one saw the rape as rape and no one blamed the rapist. It makes sense, doesn't it, that Cassie can now think of nothing else but getting revenge for Nina's rape and death? Yes, Cassie, in Emerald Fennell’s brilliantly disturbing and evocative Promising Young Woman, shows us just where trauma-driven obsession takes you. It’s not pretty or healing. In fact, Cassie's obsession is another kind of suicide. Here’s why...

Ruben has been on the run for a long time. No one becomes a heroin addict unless there’s something too painful inside for him to stop, for even a moment, to hear (or feel). So, Ruben runs – with drugs, frantic hard metal drumming, and in his desperate love for his singer-girlfriend, Lou (Olivia Cooke). Darius Marder’s Sound of Metal, with Riz Ahmed in the lead role, takes us on a journey like no other; the journey of a man who’s faced with finding the silence inside, a silence that might take him to his real self, if he can...

The brilliance, and terror, of Florian Zeller’s The Father, is that we’re living inside the mind of an aging man losing his identity to Dementia. To watch it from the outside is bad enough. I know. I was that daughter too. But to be the one losing his grip on who he was is truly heartbreaking. Reality’s blurred, time’s not static, past and present are mixed up with each other, and people are not who they seem; confused with memory, fantasy, and warring parts of The Father, himself. Florian Zeller is a keen observer of a devastating disease that no...

The horror of Bobby Seale’s gagging by Judge Julius Hoffman in Aaron Sorkin’s timely film, The Trial of the Chicago 7 is an image of what Black Lives Matter is fighting against. It’s an image of how being silenced provokes rage. The history and trial speak for themselves. But, as a psychoanalyst, I can talk about how personal historical forces in your mind sometimes create violent opposition to speaking out, thinking for yourself, and being who you are. You, any of us, can feel we’re “on trial” for our thoughts if we go against what we’ve been taught we “should”...

Loss can feel like a nowhere land of moving aimlessly from feeling to feeling, place to place, inside your mind. You’ve lost the home you know, with a person that you love. There’s sadness, anger, memories – as you grapple with the challenges of an uprooted life. Chloé Zhao’s Best Picture nominee, Nomadland, takes us there, with Frances McDormand’s Fern leading the way through the open expanses of loss. Loss is a journey, not unlike the one Fern takes in her trusty van, Vanguard. And, in the film’s hopeful story of Fern and other nomads she meets, what do we...

Herman Mankiewicz was a tragic figure - in 1940’s Hollywood and in David Fincher’s film, Mank. Sure, Mank stood up for what was right and against what was wrong at MGM and in the political world of the times. He had his principles, expressed too often in self-destructive ways. He was equally hurtful towards those who loved him. In fact, he turned away from love as he drank himself to death. Why couldn’t Mank get out of his “self-created trap?” Why does such a talented man not love himself? Mank's Self-Doubt Raging Inside “Why do you love me?” Mank (Gary Oldman) repeatedly...

Feeling trapped in the quarantine of COVID-19? That’s why you should watch Shawshank Redemption more today than ever. Yes, I mean today, January 20, 2021, the day of the Inauguration, and all the days ahead. Because this virus has seemed like a prison sentence, as much as the one Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) and Ellis Boyd 'Red' Redding (Morgan Freeman) found themselves in at Shawshank prison. Especially Andy, as innocent of any wrong-doing as we are. Even if you see no clear way out (but perhaps there is one now), don’t think it’s dangerous to hope. It’s not. Hope is...

Richard Curtis' 2003 film classic, Love Actually, is the ultimate Christmas ROM-COM. After all, the Christmas holiday-time is the season of love, romance, and family. But, what if you couldn't be with family because of the pandemic? Or love isn’t working very well with the stresses of quarantine? Or maybe you've run into love's inevitable stumbling blocks trying to navigate a most difficult 2020. Worse, what if you couldn't find love and you’ve just spent another lonely holiday? The biggest question is: how do you hold onto hope after a year that's shattered so much? “Christmas is about telling the...

Lonesome Rhodes, a brashly-charming-drunken-drifter, is turned radio personality by Marcia Jeffries in Elia Kazan’s 1957 film, A Face in The Crowd. The film explores the climb to power of a rabble-rousing anti-social con man, as well as Lonesome’s ultimate tantruming downfall. Sound familiar? But perhaps the real question lies in why a woman like Marcia falls for such a man. Yes, “sexy sells” to some women (the sex appeal, that is, of narcissistic bad boys). But why does Marcia fall so hard? What draws her in? And what 6 fateful mistakes does she make in loving the wrong man? What’s the...

Why return to the same place over and over? It’s healing. How? Craig Foster says it best in his moving, life-altering, love-story, My Octopus Teacher: “That’s when you see the subtle differences. That’s when you get to know the wild.” It’s true, too, of going through a wildly tumultuous emotional time, not so different than the Cape of Storms where My Octopus Teacher takes place. The more you go deep inside, over and over, to look at the tangled underwater terrain of your feelings, the more you see the nuances that can set you free. This is what psychoanalysis does....