6 types of Narcissists: heroes of popular films
Who are narcissists?
Narcissists - overly narcissistic and vain people - are different. Let's try to deal with the main types of narcissism by studying the heroes of famous films.
"Sweet Life", Federico Fellini, 1960
The boom in narcissistic values began in the post-war years, when acute social upheavals were left behind, and in the present loneliness and confusion reigned before peacetime. The psychological pendulum has swung from collective values to individual characteristics.
The outbreak of public narcissism was reflected in the satirical "Sweet Life" - a picture of secular boredom and idle bustle, of the emptiness and brilliance of high Roman society, saturated with indifference and alienation. The war ended, the Italian economic miracle happened, but comfort and peace did not bring peace.
The typical narcissist Marcello lives with a depressed Emma, but he doesn't care about her so much that he doesn't stay at home after her suicide attempt. His self-esteem rushes from one extreme to another: from "I'm a genius" to "I'm a nonentity." Dreaming of becoming a writer, he temporarily works as a tabloid columnist. And the further, the more difficult it is for him to get out of the "greenhouse" of public narcissism.
"Cruella", Craig Gillespie, 2021
The villainess from London, obsessed with high fashion and low intentions to sew a fur coat from Dalmatians, was not always called Cruella. She was born with the name Estella, and her mother raised her soft and sweet, but all to no avail: bullying, expulsion from school, orphanhood. Thus, trauma after trauma, the rudiments of the light part gave way to the shadow.
Just as two colors are combined in a “black and white” hairstyle, the nervous, traumatized, talented Estella and the cruel, selfish, arrogant Cruella coexisted inside the heroine. Splitting into absolute good and the same absolute evil is characteristic of a narcissistic personality.
As a result, on the way to grandiosity, the heroine chooses the dark side, uses others for her own achievements, demonstrates arrogance and cruelty, refuses to empathize even with her homeless friends.
Gone Girl, David Fincher, 2014
The drama of a person with a narcissistic disorder comes from childhood - the reason for it is that parents see the child not as he is, but as they want him to be. An exact example is Emmy Dan's parents. Child psychologists made their own daughter the material for a best-selling book that praised the excellent and gifted miracle girl, the one they wanted her daughter to be.
The image of the "amazing Emmy" symbolizes the idealized "false self", while behind the heavy armor of unattainable perfection, a small and vulnerable "true self" was hidden.
Emmy feels fake and devoid of love, she needs her husband as a mirror to reflect her false brilliance and superiority. But only until the first betrayal. Emmy plots to get revenge: she plans to commit suicide by making her husband the killer as punishment for choosing someone else.
Shame, Steve McQueen, 2011
Erotomaniac and sexaholic Brandon suffers from compulsive sexuality. Unable to open up and trust anyone on a sensual level, he tries to satisfy his hunger physically, to fill the void and discomfort with sex, but gluttony destroys him.
The French psychoanalyst Paul-Claude Racamier called narcissistic perversion a way of psychic defense against internal conflicts by increasing one's own significance at the expense of the environment. The hero is not capable of relationships: the only attempt in the film to have a sensual connection with a sexual partner leads to a fiasco in bed. He does not have an erection, but this speaks more of emotional impotence.
"Black Swan", Darren Aronofsky, 2010
Narcissistic parents, unable to realize their dreams, seek to realize them with the help of children. They perceive the child not as a separate person, but as their own continuation.
A vivid example is the heroine Erica Sayers, a ballerina who abandoned her career after the birth of her daughter. On the one hand, she expects success from the child, which she herself has not achieved. On the other hand, she would never allow her daughter to win this competition between them.
Such conflicting messages preserve the total merging of mother and daughter: Nina is not capable of independent steps, she needs eternal approval and love. When she gets a chance to land a role in Swan Lake, she finds that her mother's image of a white swan is not enough for her. The girl will have to get acquainted with the black swan inside herself.
She is unable to resist the internal splitting into the sexual confident Lily and the infantile notorious Nina. The white and black swan enter into an internal conflict, one symbolizes the narcissism of life, the other the narcissism of death. Ahead is a fight not for life, but for death.
The Big Game, Aaron Sorkin, 2017
On the path of career, growth and achievement, it is difficult to do without healthy narcissism. An interesting example is the story of Molly Bloom based on real events. At the age of 12, a brilliant student and budding skier underwent an operation that was incompatible with a sports career, but soon returned to the snowy slope. By the age of 24, she achieves incredible success, but breaks her spine.
The fate of the Olympic champion was irrevocably cut short. A ruthless belief in her exclusivity, the desire for success, power and wealth allows Molly to become the “princess of poker” - the secret patroness of the gambling world of the rich and famous. What it all costs her - she tells her authoritarian father-psychologist in the finale.