The best Movie therapists November 29, 2011 Do you need professional help? Actually, probably best not to dwell on that too much, but instead ponder the resurgence of the movie therapist on the big screen of late. Whippersnapper Anna Kendrick takes on the role of unlikely counsellor in the new ‘cancer bromance’ 50/50, while Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen will soon be seen playing Jung and Freud respectively (if not respectfully) in Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method. So with that in (or on your) mind, why not lie back on the couch, andput your problems to one side as we consider some of the morenote-worthy movie shrinks. Please note that this list is no particularorder, though I’m sure all you psychologists out there would beinterested in why this list of no particular order is in thisparticular order: Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs):A cultured, brilliant psychiatrist, with particular insight into themind of deranged serial killers, Hopkins’ Dr Hannibal Lectornevertheless has, what the great Greek dramatists would call, a tragicflaw. He likes to eat people. Preferably with fava beans and a niceChianti (insert your own sucking noise here). How and ever, he provesto be of crucial, if elliptical assistance to cheap-shoes-wearing,screaming-lambs-haunted FBI rookie Jodie Foster, who is out to catch amusic-loving misfit with a penchant for making clothes from women’sskin. No silly, not Lady Gaga, but Buffalo Bill. Judd Hirsch (Ordinary People):In Robert Redford’s 1980 domestic drama, Taxi star Hirsch broughtdishevelled dignity and sensitivity to the role of Dr Tyrone Berger,who is trying to help his teenage patient Calvin (Timothy Hutton) getover his suicidal guilt over the death of his older brother in aboating accident. As with all psychotherapy – if not life – it allpoints back to Cal’s mother, the cold and distant Beth (remarkablyplayed with glacial passivity by then-reigning sitcom queen Mary TylerMoore). Cue a great emotional breakthrough that fully earns itstear-soaked resolution. Bruce Willis (The Sixth Sense):Poor, clueless Brucey, playing Dr Malcolm Crowe, finds himself in theexact same position as the audience in M. Night Shyamalan’s famouslytwisty thriller, curiously unravelling little Cole’s (Haley JoelOsment) tales of ghostly visitations, only copping at the very lastminute that…well, it probably still isn’t fair to reveal too muchmore. For the uninitiated who may be coming across the movie for thefirst time: watch out for the icy breath, and for how Cole’s motherToni Collette interacts with Bruce. Billy Crystal (Analyse This):Released just as a little TV show called The Sopranos used the samestoryline to slightly more dramatic effect, Analyse This sees BillyCrystal star as harried shrink Dr Ben Sobel, whose newest client ispanic-attack-afflicted mob boss Paul Vitti (Robert De Niro). Despiteinitial apprehensions, Sobel, who has his own hassles, finds hispractice re-invigorated through his sessions with Vitti. Okay, so heends up taking a non-fatal bullet for Vitti, but whatcha gonna do? Donald Pleasance (Hallowe’en):Cue John Carpenter’s skin-crawlingly creepy Hallowe’en musical score.Pleasance is at his bug-eyed best playing Dr Sam Loomis, the man whohas spent years trying to penetrate the glazed, silent madness behindthe eyes of child killer Michael Myers. When Myers escapes, andreturns to his hometown to unleash masked bloody mayhem amongst thelocale’s populace of teen virgins and over-sexed jocks, Loomis followsin hot pursuit, muttering portentous statements about “pure evil”.Loomis helps to save the day by shooting Myers just as he’s about tobutcher Jamie Lee Curtis – but the body disappears soon after. Yesdear, that was the bogeyman. Ingrid Bergman (Spellbound);In Hitchcock’s classic head-twister, Bergman stars as psychoanalyst DrConstance Petersen (Ingrid Bergman), who thinks there’s somethingfunny about her hospital’s new director Dr. Edwardes (Gregory Peck).She’s right too: he seems to be an imposter, who killed the realEdwardes, but blocked it all out through amnesia. Petersen, however,isn’t convinced of his guilt, and the pair goes on the run with theauthorities in close pursuit. This being Hitchcock, everything isn’tthat cut-and-dry, but the movie is most famous for a symbolic dreamsequence devised by Salvador Dali (who – we shit you not – alsodesigned the Chupa Chups logo). Richard Dreyfuss (What About Bob?):In one of this writer’s favourite childhood movies, Richard Dreyfuss –who always seems as if he’s half-cuckoo to begin with – stars as DrLeo Marvin, whose peaceful lakeside vacation is interrupted by thearrival of his everything-phobic patient Bob Wiley (Bill Murray). Bobturns out to be a big hit with Marvin’s family, pushing the doc tobreaking point. As Bob gets better thanks to Marvin’s book Baby Steps,the psychiatrist himself starts to lose his mind. He only breaks outof his catatonic state at Bob’s wedding – to Marvin’s sister – butit’s too late to stop the nuptials. Mariah Carey (Precious):Not a therapist exactly, but as tough-talking social worker Mrs Weiss,Carey gives… 7,&hjljkbCZ – sorry, that’s my laptop putting upresistance to typing these next few words: bear with me as I strugglethrough – an admirably restrained performance, quietly probing justenough to get beneath Precious’ damaged exterior to get her talkingabout her various traumas. Carey’s character is also instrumental inconfronting Precious’ horrendous mother Mary (Mo’Nique) at the end ofthe movie. Ben Kingsley (Shutter Island):Sir Ben puts his default creepiness to good use as Dr John Cawley,head psychiatrist on the eponymous island’s prison hospital for thecriminally insane. After an inmate supposedly escapes, and the fedscome to investigate, Cawley seems to be particularly cautious andunhelpful, especially around troubled lead investigator Teddy Daniels(Leonardo di Caprio). It’s almost as if he knows something that noneof the rest of us – Teddy included – yet realise…That’s as much as wesay without giving away, erm, killer spoilers. But all yousmarty-pants types might like to know that the film is actually anextended metaphor for the process of making movies (‘Shutter’ beingone clue). Robin Williams (Good Will Hunting):One of modern cinema’s definitive “solve everything with a hug”therapists, Williams’ Sean Maguire is hired to help unfocusedjanitor-genius Will (Matt Damon, or Maaaaat Dammmmon, to give him hisproper Team America title) to get to grip with his “issues” and sorthis life out. The clincher is their final session when Maguire triesto re-assure Will that he’s not responsible for the terrible thingsthat happened to him in childhood that are now holding him back. “It’snot your fault Will. It’s not your fault.” Excuse me, I have somethingin my eye! Words – Declan Cashin *50/50 is out now.