Corridor of Mirrors: Portrait of a Covert Narcissist

Last night, I watched a 1948 British classic, “Corridor of Mirrors.” I started by looking on Kanopy, at various films and kept seeing “psychological” thriller or mental health issues and I said to myself “not in the mood for psychology tonight.” Then I see this film and it says it is about a man who thinks this woman is his reincarnated lover from 400 years ago. Sounded intriguing to me and I set about to watch it. The sound was horrible and I had to re-start it three times and finally, put on closed captioning so I knew what they were saying. I was a little confused with the storyline in the beginning too, but kept at it. Then, we get to the character Veronica, who “is allowed” to live in the basement of the mansion. It is where the main male lead, Paul, lives in. Veronica spells out his personality, almost like she is giving the description of a covert narcissist. I thought to myself, “Oh, well now, I have to sit up straight and pay more attention to this storyline.” I just can’t get away from my specialization at the office. And, I knew this was going to be a film I would be talking up to my clients. And, it is an amazing film. It is different from Gaslight, which is focused on the title. This film, bares a lot more explanation to the average person. So, here we go.

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The Bold, Bizarre and Disturbing: in Film

Since as far back as I can remember, I found controversial films could pique my interest. Actually, it all started with Qube TV in Columbus, Ohio and a girlfriends sleepover. I was at the height of puberty, we were all in Gloria’s basement, and she mentioned that her family had cable. I had no idea what that was, nor did anyone at that time; unless you had it. She also mentioned that there were porn films on the channel, but you had to use a special key, which she had. That was the end of this conversation, until they went to sleep. My curiosity got the best of me and I quickly put the key in and began to watch some really great films; with the sound way, way down. These were not your blue eye shadow, nose dripping, scarf around the neck type porns. Instead, they were art films and the people happened to have sex or be naked for various scenes.

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Isabelle Huppert, She’s Not Smug

I’ve just finished watching the 2016 film “Things to Come,” and before this I had seen the movie “Elle,” a few months ago. Both were made (or released) in the same year, starring Isabelle Huppert. She has always seemed to me to be a very smug actress and yet I feel drawn to her. I find her characters deeply moving. No matter that she always seems to portray the perfect psychopath; it feels as if she is on the verge of an aneurism. Most Americans would call her characters intellectual snobs. Partly because she is not funny, unlike Woody Allen, who can make a discussion in philosophy seem like a night at a comedy club.  Also, because she is a woman and while we try to pretend we are modern here, we just can’t handle the honesty, portrayed by characters in French movies. We pretend to observe and honor freedom of speech in our constitution but only if people say what is popular for the times. In truth, there is no room for a good debate in America which is probably why the traditional “salons” of Paris never existed here. Once we made very good and intelligently written movies, now we have opted for special effects and pop culture actors who speak in slang because a cerebral film would not be considered a “date night” film.

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Anger and Pride – A Fortunate Man: Denmark 2018

The Irony! I just finished watching this 2 hour and 47 minute film that I think will become or should become a classic. I wasn’t able to find a good trailer online with subtitles and so you will have to just read what I am telling you here. (smiling) This is a movie about a poor man who dies a poor man and the reason is because of his anger and pride.

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The Shack – American Movie

Recently, a client of mine raved about this movie that she begged me to watch. Generally, I don’t watch American films as I find them dull and boring. An egotistical showcase for some smarmy actor or actress who is overused, overacting, and not interesting in the least. The storyline often lacks depth and integrity. However, I could see before my eyes, the breakthrough my client had had, in regard to forgiveness and revenge: two topics we had been working on for several weeks. I was captivated by their unyielding dedication and the trailer they showed me in session convinced me.

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Preparations to be Together… A Hungarian Film

This is a Hungarian film, with a very very long name: Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time (2021). It is a film that many women can relate to. The man who isn’t who he says he is. The man who cons us into his disguise. The man who is avoidant and we take on the challenge of falling in love with him and gaining his trust and love. Then he turns into another person. He lies. We try to win him back by being persistent and devout. In the movie, this goes in an interesting direction. A very artistic path. Yes, she does get him back in the end. Only, in real life, this rarely happens.

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Two Therapists at the Movies: Gaslight

Talking about the 1944 movie Gaslight and its relation to Narcissism.

Elizabeth Miller, LISW, LLC https://elizabethmcounseling.com/

Jeannine Vegh, IMFT at Transformative Psychotherapy, LLC https://jkvegh.com

Survivors of Narcissists Workshop available at Udemy https://www.udemy.com/course/embracing-me/?referralCode=C515C00CF7BBEE83BEC5 Blogposts on Psychology, the Arts and Ohio Women’s History https://discerninggal.com

Disclaimer: As we are two humble therapists, all discussion you see between us in the video/podcast is based on our training and education, therapeutic work in our practices, and thoughtful opinions formed over our years of working with the population we discuss. We are not the last word in this discussion, and we commit to providing ongoing resources beyond ourselves to enlarge your understanding of this complex subject. Thank you for viewing and we hope this will be helpful in your recovery process.

Sunstroke: A Russian Film 2014

Yesterday, I sat down to watch nearly three hours of this historic fiction that took place between the 1900’s and 1920. From the onset, there is a clear indication of something bad that is going to happen though we have no idea what it will be until they walk onto the barge. Even then, we don’t really know what is going to happen but we can suspect. You are not watching this movie thinking there will be a happy ending as it is somewhat akin to those who watched the Titanic movie. In 1920, it was the end of the Tsar. The entire family had been assassinated; including little children. The communists were most certainly not very humane in their actions. In the aftermath of annihilating the family, they set about to destroy the lives of their soldiers as well. They did not want one single person left behind from the old regime.

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The Perfect Host; not a Perfect Movie

The Perfect Host stars David Hyde Pierce as Warwick Wilson, in an outstanding performance as a first-class creep. He has gone a long way from Niles on Frasier, our first cerebral goofball to see on television. As a psychotherapist, I always reveled in that show and the intellectually snobbery between he and his brother. In this role as Warwick, he has stepped into a new dimension (perhaps he has done this in another role, but this is my first time to see him in this type of character portrayal) and mesmerized me the entire time. The dissociative identity disorder idea was flabby in the storyline but made sense, nonetheless. He could have been schizophrenic as well, but I think the writer wanted to portray DID instead.

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Gone Girl – A Plot with a Twist or Non-stereotypical Roles

Last night I watched Gone Girl, which I found quite scary! I didn’t really like the ending but then I realized, if he had killed her that would have been predictable. If she had killed him, this would have been expected. It also would have turned the movie into a horror film and I would not have watched it. The ending was rather odd though and made no sense. Usually, this is what I love about foreign films, non-predictable and full of questions.

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