In summary : disappointing.
What I’d hoped for : a fascinating, factual, entertaining and respectful insight into living with D.I.D (Dissociative Identity Disorder).
What I got: for the most part an actor showcasing his ability to ‘play roles’ based on a change in his facial expression, voice, stance and costume. Which were limited to say the least. Taking into consideration that Kevin played by James McAvoy had 24 different personalities, the film focused on only four of these characters throughout the bulk of the film.
The worst part : The Hollywood filter that was placed upon such a sensitive and challenging subject.
Personality 24 (The Beast) was only brought to the screen at the end of the film. It had underpinned the entire story. Was personality 24 a figment of his imagination or could he become it? It was the driving force for all of his actions throughout the film. “The Beast told me to.”
However when we finally did meet the Beast it was like the morphing of the Incredible Hulk. In an instant he physically grew in size, he developed muscles all over his body, his veins looked ready to burst, he could move at incredible speeds, he gained phenomenal strength and he could climb vertical walls.
The message from the film was
“Do people with D.I.D use a larger percentage of their brain capacity than the rest of human kind, are they more advanced, is this what the rest of the population touch upon when they refer to their sixth sense?”
As much as there may be some truth behind this idea based on the fact that some real sufferers are reported to have personalities that possess qualities that their original personality doesn’t IE miraculously being fluent in other languages or demonstrating an unlikely increase in physical strength … going through a Hulk-like transformation was taking it a step too far. There’s shocking and then there is plain ridiculous.
It would have worked if this transformation had been portrayed as a projection. So a shot of him as ‘The Beast’ as he was experiencing it straight to a shot of him as others would have been seeing him at the time (a man the same size but filled with a flurry of ferocious emotions). Which would have been realistic. However the film was legitimately implying that if a personality can adopt a language from out of nowhere perhaps the body can turn into a beast!!!
I personally felt that this message will only be detrimental to the world of mental health.
A) Another inaccurate portrayal of a mental health condition.
B) Mockery of those who do suffer with D.I.D.
C) An increase in social fear of those who do suffer with mental health conditions (especially D.I.D)
D) Sustaining social ignorance in the mental health arena.
And why? To make the movie more powerful? Well it didn’t, it simply diminished it’s integrity.
The therapist: Dr Karen Fletcher played by Betty Buckley was another disastrous element of the film. A supposed psychologist but one who’s negligent actions actually breech countless professional boundaries.
Allowing multiple impromptu appointments outside of the agreed times and not referring her concerns onto a psychiatric team were completely inappropriate and an inaccurate portrayal of a professional therapist.
But taking it upon herself to visit a ‘high-risk’ client at his home was possibly the worst example; as a result she was murdered.
Granted their may be practitioners who do conduct their practice in this way but one would hope they are few and far between.
Interesting things that I did learn (assuming someone accurately researched the condition):
I am not saying that this is true but this is what I learned about the condition as a result of watching the film.
A person can display their multiple personalities simultaneously. For example if asked to take notes on a presentation a D.I.D patient may be able to respond using two of their personalities (one right handed and one left handed) and scribe legible notes using both hands at the same time.A person can communicate with the different personalities within a D.I.D patient by addressing them by name.
May I speak with Brenda now? (Brenda will give her response) and what does Reggi think? (and Reggi will give his response).

Essentially when communicating with a D.I.D patient you need to treat the situation like you are addressing a real group of people, knowing each of their names, the differences between them and respecting the ‘realness’ of them as experienced by the patient.

That a person’s personality splits off like this as a result of severe trauma. As an extension of our schemas (the mental filing system we all use to process and store information) some people develop separate personalities as a way of processing certain situations and life events.

What I did enjoy: Kevin’s home wasn’t revealed until the very end. This was an extremely clever twist and suddenly made sense of much of the film.

What to watch out for: An unexpected A-list cameo appearance in the very last scene and overall a very long and drawn out film.

Would I recommend the film?: Not for entertainment purposes. You will need a deep passion for mental health to endure the slow build of this film. You will also need to park that passion to overlook all of the flaws. It would make a good film for a psychology student as there are many controversial points that can be discussed thereafter.

My rating:★★
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