7 Movie Characters Who Need Therapy

Last Tuesday we watched Joel Schumacher's 1993 urban anger-thriller Falling Down as part of our DVD Club .

Michael Douglas' stupendous turn as an unlikely urban warrior heads up our rack of troubled souls who need a lot more than a hug...

D-Fens (Michael Douglas, Falling Down, 1993)

The character: A mentally-crumbling, ex-National Security contract worker obsessed with violence, now also a reclusive divorcee living with his mum. A walking, talking time-bomb, that is.

The issue: He’s paranoid, and blames the rest of the human race - an open sewer, to him - for life kicking him repeatedly in the balls.

It’s Travis Bickle Syndrome, essentially, exacerbated by major guilt and frustration over his estrangement from young daughter Adele.

The treatment: Fairly prosaic, at this stage. He needs his sense of self-worth back and sharpish.

So, some kind of restart course might help. Couple that with a creative outlet for his angst - flower arranging? pottery? used telephone kiosk demolition? - and he’ll be enjoying visiting rights in no time.

Next: Frank Booth...


Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper, Blue Velvet, 1986)

The character: A violent psychotic sociopath with a penchant for nauseating sexual roleplay and back-bedroom lobotomies.

Don’t expect an appearance on ‘Hearts Of Gold’ anytime soon.

The issue: Jesus, where to start? Clearly hates and fears women, leading to explosive jealousy and extreme paranoia.

His Oedipal sex games suggest a dysfunctional relationship with his mum is to blame.

The treatment: We need to get Freudian here - get the man on a couch and dig through those deep-seated mummy problems.

A touch of psychodramatic roleplay, perhaps? Hand him an oxygen mask, whack on a wig and pretend to be his mum, chiding him for not doing his chores.

Do not, under any circumstances, try to soothe him with a little Roy Orbison.

Next: WALL-E...


WALL-E (Ben Burtt, WALL-E, 2008)

The character: A solar-powered rubbish-compacting droid with a keen exploratory sense, a longing for company, and a heart of gold. Awwwwwwww, etc.

The issue: Chronic OCD. He's always pottering around trying to collect and hoard useless junk in ludicrously meticulous ways, getting freaked out over precisely how to categorise a spork...

The treatment: Behavioural therapy needed here, as we’re presuming a course of mood-stabilising drugs would be fairly useless on a robot.

WALL-E needs to break the cycle by working out what triggers his obsessions and anxieties (thinking he’s the only functioning robot left on Earth can't help).

Then again, taking the OCD out of WALL-E would rob him of his Mr Fussy-style charm. Out with the soldering iron, then...

Next: Rebecca Bloomwood...


Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher, Confessions Of A Shopaholic, 2009)

The character: A compulsive commodity-buyer who moves to Manhattan to satisfy her taste for wanton acquisition, predictably ending up in a debt-riddled mess.

The issue: Apart from not being able to tell a bargain from a rip-off - as demonstrated by the green scarf leitmotif - she’s basically just a terminally shallow idiot. Sorry, textbook mania sufferer.

The treatment: A hefty smack around the chops with the damp welly of reality, young lady.

Then, a spot of light regression to see just how spoiled you were as a brat, followed by a public chopping-up of her credit-cards and a year's work experience on the fat fryer in Burger King.

Next: Darth Vader...


Darth Vader (David Prowse, Star Wars, 1977)

The character: Bad tempered Sith Lord cyborg who can’t resist the lure of the dark side, and resents his son for not thinking the same way.

The issue: There’s obvious familial strife here, but more interestingly, Vader also seems stricken with a crippling shyness.

That ludicrous helmet is clearly interfering with his breathing, but he’ll be damned if he’s taking it off without a fight.

The treatment: Basic confidence-boosting therapy would go down well here, along with gradually increased periods of exposure to his fears with a carefully constructed reward system.

For every five minutes he spends helmet-less in Toys R Us, Darth gets a Curly Wurly. That sort of thing.

Next: Camerlengo Patrick McKenna (off of Angels & Demons)...


Camerlengo Patrick McKenna (Ewan McGregor, Angels & Demons, 2009)

The character: Northern Irish-born papal court official, ex-helicopter pilot and temporary boss of the Vatican.

Seems to think the secure future of Roman Catholicism rests on his shoulders alone.

The issue: Messiah complex, much?

Get over yourself, lad - the papacy has survived some pretty rough waters since the times of Mr Christ, y’know.

So far, a chopper license hasn’t proved the clincher.

The treatment: Narcissistic personality disorder is tricky to treat, as it’s ingrained rather than chemical.

Still, we wouldn’t mind a bit of deep-delving hypnotherapy time with the cocky Carmelengo, if only to find out where the hell that accent really came from.

Next: Godzilla...


Godzilla (Various, 1954-2004)

The character: Giant Japanese monster lizard and pop-culture icon. Raging, city-razing metaphor for Hiroshima/Nagasaki.

The issue: It's fair to say that there's a lot of anger here. Perhaps it comes from confused identity (head and body of a Tyrannosaurus, dorsal plates of a Stegosaurus, skin of a crocodile)...

It could also be attributed to the side effects of atomic mutation or being forced to work with Roland Emmerich.

The treatment: An extensive course of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, focusing on Godzilla learning to redirect his anger away from anxiety at his hybrid body image and transforming it into a more positive force, possibly involving the safe demolition of condemned buildings.

Note: therapist could definitely not be a giant moth.