Psychopathy in the Movies
Hollywood takes creative license in
portraying psychopathy, often with confusing results. In the movie
the killer, played by Kevin Spacey, is portrayed as a psychopath who is also
motivated for religious reasons. John Goodman’s character, in 10 Cloverfield Lane, is portrayed as person who is evil, mentally ill, and
psychopathic, leaving the viewer to sort out his personality and mental state.
Indeed, Hannibal Lecter (portrayed by Anthony Hopkins), in Silence of the Lambs, is portrayed as a cunning, sadistic psychopath, yet he
enjoys “fava beans.” The core of psychopathy is control over others. The core
of mental illness lies in depression, suicidal ideations, incoherent thought
processes, and hallucinations, to name but a few. As professional practitioners
you must be able to differentiate one from the other and not let Hollywood
cloud your thinking!
In this Assignment you will analyze a
character in a movie to determine if he/she is mentally ill or has a mental
Choose one film that portrays a
potential psychopath (Some examples include The Silence of
Psycho, Gone Girl, Seven,
Insomnia, 10 Cloverfield Lane).
You can choose a movie not listed,
with Instructor approval.
Watch the movie and identify the
characteristics of the offender/protagonist.
In a 3 to 4 page paper:
Identify the movie and character you
selected, and describe the characteristics that could be
Provide an overall summary of the
character, describing his/her background (e.g., education,
occupation, relationship history,
Determine if the character you
identified is mentally ill (e.g., psychotic) or has a mental disorder such
Provide evidence using both the Learning Resources and
any additional references.