Movie Review

Movie Analysis: Shining and Spellbound


Movies can be used to explain psychological concepts, such as the unconscious mind. Two movies that achieve this function include The Shining and Spellbound, which explore the unconscious concept and the incapacity for humans to control their basic instinct with the right triggers. The focal focus of the movies are characters, ailed bypassed experiences repressed in the subconscious that is Jack Torrence and John Ballantine. In the movie, The Shining, Torrance, a husband, and a father become possessed by evil spirits that turn him into his family’s murder. The former teacher and alcoholic inhabitation of the demons occurred at the Overlook Hotel during a tour, and she begins plotting to chase his own family. He regains his sanity too late and ends up dying in exploration in the hotel. Ballantine, also known as Dr. Edwards, has a mental illness, and although he views everyone else as mad, he seems to be more severe. He encounters episodes like moving with a razor around or trying to observe the bottom of a glass of milk.

Mind Games or Plot Twists?

Although the character killed no one, he acts weird when he turns abnormal; a condition believed to have been influenced by his past experiences. Eventually, with the help of a woman he loved, he returns his sanity. The  Shining and Spellbound explores the theme of the unconscious mind showing trauma, Oedipus complex, and incapacity for the ego and superego relationship.

One factor that arouses the unconscious of the human mind to act is trauma. Past traumatic experiences that people have can become submerged in the subconscious and stay unnoticeable for years until one encounters memory triggers. Torrence suffered a terrible childhood experience with the murder of his family with an axe by Charles Gladys. The character projects his trauma through his attempt to kill his family while in the hotel. The incapacity to properly handle the trauma from his past haunts him even though he thought he was the right person. Bringing out that part required a trigger, the Overlook Hotel that was already thought to be posed by demons, which easily penetrated Torrence because he was vulnerable. Besides, cases of fatal violence were heard of in the hotel, which explains it is burning. 

In Spellbound, Ballantine’s mental illness becomes triggered by dealing with mentally ill patients for a long time. Edwards grumbles a house because his subconscious told him it represented Green Manor and the inmates, he sees a bearded man that he tries to cut with the scissors and he is convinced of Constance, kissing everybody around. These realities in his mind represented the realities he perceived only real in his mind. They projected fears and insecurities that he subconsciously suffered. Therefore, the directors of the movie exposed the role of trauma in exposing the unconscious mind with the right triggers. 

It All Goes Way Back to Greek Tragedies

The directors of the movies manage to show the unconscious role of the Oedipus complex in human experience. The concept entails a child’s feeling towards the parent of the opposite gender. Terrence exhibits the complex in a reversed as he experiences the dire need for attention at an old age, stuck in s*x and alcoholism, because of his need for recognition as a man in the domestic sphere and the external world. The failure to make achievements and provide for his family drug him down and the fact that his wife can perform the actions he is supposed to cause rage in his subconscious. The scenes are evident when he sought to kill his wife and child. The child in him sees his son, Danny, as a competition, chasing him through the maze driven by rage turned murderous. Even further, the lack of interaction with his mother resulting from their early murder also ails him.

On the other hand, Ballantine wants to be a father-figure but is scared of the role because of attributes such as a ‘bad father,’ deadbeat father imaginations combine with the possibilities of being a good one. He attaches being a good father with Constance, his wife, being a good mother. He indicates the action with a confrontation with a razor. Ballantine needs to become a father to arouse his love for Constance and projects his subconscious thoughts through his actions. The movies managed to unravel inner thoughts unknown to the external world through the madness theme. If you are not sure you can do a movie analysis at this level, you may decide to find someone professional to help you in writing such papers, or any other essays that require in-depth analysis. Write My Paper Hub is a trustworthy online service where you can hire experts to write your assignment for you. It is a much wiser choice than looking for free movie reviews online, as they get plagiarized too quickly.

Therefore, it becomes clear that when the unconscious mind takes over, the conscious one has no control. Human beings are made of basic instincts; evil or sound, which all become stored in the subconscious. Experiences and actions that have been done to people while growing up triggers different emotions often hidden in the subconscious as a defense mechanism. However, they influence human behavior unknowingly. Although the two movies show Torrence and Ballantine in the extreme sense, possessed or mad, they merely seek to show the extension within which human actions can become uncontrollable and dangerous. In psychoanalytic terms, the id and superego are bothered at work. During the madness, the Id, necessary for controlling basic instincts, refuses to listen to the superego that seeks reason. Such explains why, despite knowing that he is doing the wrong thing, Torrence cannot stop himself from chasing after his children. Similarly, Ballantine seems lost in the behaviors that appear weird even to him but continue acting on them. The movies act as clear proof that the unconscious cannot be controlled, especially when not expected and understood. 

Lost Eden of Mindfulness

Torrence and Ballantine’s characters experience a mental relapse that exposes their trauma and Oedipus complex, influenced by the overpowering ego. When Torrence becomes possessed with the evils, his first instincts are to murder his family, and upon looking at his past, his family was murdered. Therefore, he was projecting his own experiences on his family. Similarly, Edwardes mental illness results from interaction with patients that feed into his fear that he might be mentally ill that eventually comes exactly evident with his weird behaviors in the workplace.

The opposite s*x fanaticize also comes into play and shown differently in the movie, with one explaining the chasing of his son to kill him as a perception of competition. In contrast, the insecurity in Ballantine towards Constance showed his fears, plus the mentioning of wanting to become a father figure together with the bad-good fatherly thoughts. The different occasions played by the movies showed the power on the unconscious mind in uncovering the real fears, traumas, and expectations of a human being. They are uncontrollable, and when the instincts are dark, it results in harm rather than good. Usually, the ego, responsible for basic instincts, overtakes the superego eradicating the capacity to act based on logic.

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