1997 Film As Good As It Gets English Literature Essay

In the 1997 movie Equally Good As It Gets, Jack Nicholson gives an Academy Award-winning public presentation as Melvin Udall. Udall is a cynical love affair author who works at place as a best-selling novelist in New York City. He suffers from obsessive-compulsive upset ( OCD ) which, paired with his misanthropy, puts off the neighbours in his Manhattan flat edifice and about everyone else with whom he comes into contact.

Melvin is middle-aged, likely in his late mid-fortiess. He is a white male who is unmarried and most likely does n’t hold a really active love life outside of the fabricated narratives of love that he weaves when he writes his best-selling novels. His profession of being a best-selling novelist has made him instead wealthy, leting him to afford a nice flat in New York ‘s Greenwich Village. But that does n’t intend that he ‘s out partying with the elite of New York. Rather, he prefers the confines of his flat. Although he has an acerb lingua and is unabashedly blunt with his sentiments, he is really introspective and prefers solace in his flat, disbursement hours on his authorship.

Melvin Udall does many things that seem odd. He writes poetically about a love he ‘s ne’er known. He ‘s a bully who delights in heaping maltreatment on everyone unfortunate plenty to meet him yet is impressed when person has the backbones to force back. He avoids touching other people but intentionally obstructs his favourite waitress so that she has to touch him to go through. He speaks impolitely and crudely to people but susurrations sweet nothings to a Canis familiaris: “ Do n’t be like me, do n’t you be like me. You stay merely the manner you are because you are a perfect adult male. ” He ‘s afraid of many things but largely afraid of others seeing his fright. He rejects foremost so that he wo n’t hold to endure rejection. He lives the life of a hermit. He is misogynous. He is homophobic, as exhibited by his contempt and intolerance for Simon Bishop ‘s homosexualism. He is anti-Semetic. He is racist, as exhibited by his inconsiderate behaviour toward Frank Sachs. He feels as if he has to eat tiffin at the same table each twenty-four hours, and he ever brings his ain plastic utensils. He is viciously insensitive to others. He has a ritual to locking his door, turning to the top lock three times and the in-between lock 5 times. He turns the visible radiations in his house on and off 5 times to turn them on or off. He washes his custodies with several trade name new bars of soap and so fling them after holding used them for merely a few seconds. He walks around clefts. He eats breakfast at the same tabular array in the same eating house every twenty-four hours utilizing disposable plastic utensils he brings with him due to his pathological germophobia. Melvin is even driven so far as to unwittingly to a good title for the lone waitress he allows to wait on him, Carol Connelly. Melvin hires his editor ‘s hubby, a skilled baby doctor, to give personal visits and medical examinations to her sick boy, Spencer, at top dollar. Melvin does this for no ground other than he wants Carol, who left work to take attention of her ailing boy, to come back to work and wait on him so that he can go on to follow his compulsive modus operandi. This exhibits how people with OCD literally can non roll from the way of their modus operandi and will travel to great lengths to avoid making so.

Other symptoms by and large exhibited by people with OCD include look intoing rites, such as returning frequently to look into a door lock, even though each clip the individual finds it locked. Some people with OCD have violent ideas. They may fear that they or person they love will decease in a atrocious accident or that they will harm person. One illustration is drivers who fear that they have run down person, so they return to the topographic point to look into or give up drive.

As is stated in the DSM-IV-TR, people with OCD suffer from perennial compulsions and/or irresistible impulses.

Compulsions are relentless and repeated thoughts, ideas, and urges or images that are experienced as intrusive and/or inappropriate. They besides incite pronounced anxiousness or hurt. These experiences are hard to disregard, despite their distressing nature. They are more intrusive that worries about real-life jobs, and, what ‘s worse, they ‘re normally non even related to real-life jobs.

Melvin Udall has repetitive ideas about sources and diseases and attempts to neutralize his intrusive ideas with compulsive actions. It is besides made crystal clear throughout Equally Good As It Gets that Melvin fills with anxiousness when his modus operandi is violated. His anxiousness skyrockets when he walks down the street, fearing he might step on a cleft.

Obsessional ideas can force aside more of import things that the individual needs to make and do the individual experience compelled to take action. For illustration, people may follow the same path to school even if it takes them stat mis out of their manner or makes them late for category. Or they may allow their uncertainties about touching the tree do them to travel out and touch it once more, merely to doubt once more whether they took the action. Such people may follow their irresistible impulses because they hope to ease the anxietyA *A they feel about their compulsions.

Melvin sends his editor ‘s hubby, a baby doctor, to do personal visits to Carol ‘s boy, Spencer, at top dollar, merely so Carol will come in to work and wait on Melvin ‘s tabular array. Clearly this action looks highly greathearted, but in context, he is truly focused on himself and his demands. Clearly it is pathetic to pay a luck for a go oning baby doctor for person ‘s boy, merely so they can travel back to their occupation and service you, but Melvin ‘s day-to-day modus operandi regulations him because of his obsessional compulsive upset.

Compulsions are insistent behaviours that those with OCD perform to seek to stamp down the anxiousness associated with their compulsions. For illustration, people might hold repeated, unneeded uncertainties about whether they have performed an of import undertaking, such as locking the door. Or they might believe that if they do non walk the same path to school every twenty-four hours, something atrocious will go on to them or to person they love. Compulsions can besides include inordinate or unreasonable cleansing, look intoing a range, manus lavation, bespeaking confidences, or mental Acts of the Apostless, such as reiterating certain words mutely, numbering, or praying overly. These behaviours either serve as get bying mechanisms to cut down the uncomfortableness with the anxiousness or hurt caused by the obsessional ideas temporarily, or – unrelated to an compulsion – they are performed harmonizing to regulations that must be applied stiffly. In the bulk of instances these actions are designed to forestall some awful event or state of affairs. Such people may follow their irresistible impulses because they hope to ease the anxietyA *A they feel about their compulsions. However, in other instances there is no obvious logical connexion between the two.

Melvin Udall avoids stepping on clefts in the pavement because that may convey bad fortune. A causal connexion besides exists when he engages in turning away and ritualistic behaviours as a effect of his obsessional ideas about taint. The character avoids touching people to avoid sources. He brings his ain utensils to his diner, so he does non hold to put on the line taint from dirty silverware. He lays out his plastic-ware in a ritualistic manner, because this helps him experience less dying since the universe is now more orderly and proper.

After holding experient OCD for a period of clip, some topics recognize that they are a merchandise of their ain head. They can besides acknowledge that their compulsions and/or irresistible impulses are inordinate or unreasonable. They experience their ideas and actions as disagreeable to their ain sense of ego. These ideas and behaviours take up a important sum of clip ( more than one hr per twenty-four hours ) and cause considerable hurt. Because they displace utile and hearty behaviour, these ideas and behaviours can be extremely riotous to a individual ‘s normal modus operandi, occupational or academic operation, or usual societal activities or relationship with others.

Melvin is cognizant that his obsessive ideas are a merchandise of his ain head because he reflects on them in a conversation with Carol. Melvin knows that his irresistible impulses are unreasonable. He tells Carol that he sees a head-shrinker and started to take medical specialty in order to cover with his job. Even though obsessional invasions can be deflecting, and often ensue in inefficient public presentation of cognitive undertakings that require concentration, Melvin Udall is portrayed as a successful writer. Sometimes he complains that his neighbours distract him from his work, while his character ‘s operation as an writer seems to stay largely integral. But whenever anything disrupts his well-established modus operandi, he becomes dying and aggressive with people. Melvin bit by bit overcomes his isolation of affect. He learns to acknowledge his feelings every bit good as the impact of his behaviour on others.

Although it is made explicitly clear that Melvin suffers from OCD and, in the context of Equally Good As It Gets, OCD entirely, Melvin exhibits some symptoms of other upsets, viz. societal phobic disorder, paranoid personality, and little antisocial upset. Melvin demonstrates symptoms of societal phobic disorder. He prefers to remain in his room and work, isolated from his flat neighbours. Melvin ‘s desire to make so is amplified when he berates his neighbour Simon Bishop and tells him that he should ne’er come and strike hard on his door, “ non even if [ Simon ] hears the sound of a thump from [ Melvin ‘s ] place and one hebdomad subsequently there ‘s a odor coming from there that can merely be a decaying human organic structure and [ Simon ] has to keep a handkerchief to [ his ] face because the malodor is so think that [ he ] thinks [ he ‘s ] traveling to conk. ” Clearly he has a general contempt for his fellow adult male, which might take one to believe he has antisocial personality upset, but Melvin informs Carol in the latter half of the film that he is merely afraid of societal interaction because he himself is cognizant of the things he might state to people. He recognizes that his personality is non compatible with many peoples ‘ , so he comes to the decision that, “ none should be capable to me. ” Besides considered for Melvin was an avoidant personality upset, but Melvin does n’t at all demonstrate the symptom of being highly sensitive to negative rating. For every bit much as he dishes out in the film, he receives near if non all of it back. He takes it surprisingly good. One symptom of antisocial personality upset that he demonstrates is his deficiency at compunction for the annihilating things he says to some people. For case, the miss who approaches him at the lift is bubbling with enthusiasm to inquire him, “ how he writes adult females so good ” when he writes his love affair novels. Melvin, frustrated, cuts her down by reacting, “ I think of a adult male, so I take off ground and answerability, ” with no compunction. With respects to antisocial personality upset, Melvin besides demonstrates craftiness, impulsivity, crossness, and aggressiveness. Finally, Melvin shows little marks in the film of holding a paranoid personality, but his misgiving for others and his being vigilant of his environment are non generalized, and so he could n’t be diagnosed with that upset.

With respects to Axis I in the DSM, Melvin surely suffers under a certain degree of anxiousness, which skyrockets when he deals with any one of his many compulsions. This anxiousness makes it reasonably hard for Melvin to work up to the criterions of society. As a consequence, Melvin has few friends and other intrapersonal struggles affecting his interactions with others.

Sing Melvin ‘s OCD is an Axis II personality upset, he should demo higher degrees of disfunction here. He has reasonably hard jobs with working due to his personality upset. He is so indebted to his everyday, like his traveling to the same restaurant each twenty-four hours, sitting in the same place, telling the same nutrient, and acquiring the same waitress, that he is merely tolerable, hardly tolerable, when he follows his modus operandi. The anxiousness would overpower him if some confusing factor caused him to roll from the way. In the As Good As It Gets, Melvin acts really impetuously when his modus operandi is interrupted. When Carol does n’t come in to work to wait on him, he runs to her house and demands that she come in to work. This is a humourous scene in the film, but it is besides grounds of how people with OCD can convey themselves to go against societal norms and outlooks, sometimes without acknowledging that they are making it. When Melvin learns that Carol has gone place to take attention of her ill boy, Spencer, he rapidly formulates a program to acquire Carol back into work. He hires the baby doctor to do personal visits to Spencer at Carol ‘s place, so that Carol does n’t hold to worry and can come back into work. This is at great fiscal cost to Melvin, who is lucky to hold the wealth, from his successful love affair novels, to be able to afford that. This was evidently non a good determination nevertheless, and was another speedy determination made on impulse by a adult male whose compulsions were acquiring the best of him. His impulsivity is an damage in working that causes him to hold his intrapersonal interaction issues. This consequences in him holding no friends.

I ‘m prepared to give Melvin a “ nil noteworthy ” evaluation on both Axis III and Axis IV. I merely do this because nil of Melvin Udall ‘s medical history or present medical jobs is discussed, other than the fact that he is encouraged to take pills for his OCD by his clinical psychologist. With respects to Axis IV, he has no psychosocial jobs other than a general and a societal anxiousness due to his compulsions. Environmentally, Melvin is non awfully affected, besides that fact that he lives following to Simon Bishop who, by propinquity, is the topic of much of Melvin ‘s contempt.

I would give Melvin an overall Axis V evaluation of 60-65. I would n’t travel every bit far as to state that Melvin ‘s symptoms are “ serious. ” Though he demonstrates highly-developed compulsions, irresistible impulses, and other symptoms of OCD, they consequence his overall degree of working merely on a moderate degree in my sentiment. He surely has few friends, with lone Simon, and his waitress Carol transporting any grounds of friendly relationship with Melvin. He has an huge trouble associating to people or commanding his blunt personality, which presents with many societal struggles. However, even when he strays from his modus operandi by traveling on the trip with Simon and Carol to see Simon ‘s parents, he is still does n’t show any true dislocation in operation.

Doctors are non certain what causes OCD. However, they suspect that the cause involves neurotransmittersA in the encephalon that are non directing signals right. Udall negotiations about how, hesitant at first, he eventually starts taking the pills to assist with his OCD. This demonstrates that biologically, OCD can be helped with medical specialty that affects a portion of the organic structure, the encephalon.

Even though the portraiture of OCD seems realistic in most parts of this As Good As It Gets, it would be improbable for clients to manage a Canis familiaris when they have an compulsion approximately cleanliness every bit terrible as this character. It ‘s besides improbably difficult to believe that Melvin is wholly comfy go forthing his place metropolis and literally his modus operandi. It is implied and understood that Melvin chows at Cafe 24, Carol ‘s eating house, every twenty-four hours as a irresistible impulse, and all of a sudden Melvin is separated from that modus operandi, yet he seems absolutely all right about it.

Melvin Udall ‘s yesteryear or childhood is non discussed at all in Equally Good As It Gets. The film focuses on Melvin ‘s present. I would surmise nevertheless, that Melvin developed his compulsions as a much younger adult male, and worked over clip to develop irresistible impulses for them. Unfortunately, because the irresistible impulses are a signifier of negative support for the anxiousness, he would go more and more dependent on the irresistible impulses over clip, intending that most probably he is likely really indebted to them at the present in the film.

In the film Equally Good as it Gets, Melvin ‘s clinical psychologist suggests that he take pills for his OCD, pills that will likely consequence his 5-hydroxytryptamine degrees. However, this is non the lone means to which OCD can be suppressed.

Exposure and response bar is behavioural technique has been found successful in handling irresistible impulses. For illustration, clients like Melvin Udall attempt to avoid sources in inordinate ways. They are exposed to a surface that they believe is contaminated, such as a doorhandle, and asked non to rinse their custodies ( response bar ) . Exposure techniques include systematic desensitisation, self-contradictory intercession, implosion therapy, and repletion either in vivo or in imaginativeness.

The cognitive-behavioral therapy attack purposes for cognitive restructuring by placing and disputing the cognitive deformations. Patients like Melvin could be subjected to exercisings that help them prorogue irresistible impulse over an compulsion or to pay attending to their obsessional ideas and detecting how it makes them experience in an effort to submerge out the anxiousness. Another originative technique is to hold clients enter their obsessional ideas on an audio tape and play it back to themselves until their hurt lessenings.

Sometimes relaxation or body-focused methods are used. Clients who suffer from OCD are often really intelligent, much like Melvin, and tend to pass a batch of clip ruminating in their caputs, at the disbursal of being centered and relaxed in their organic structure. They are sensitized to their ideas and urges, but are frequently out of touch with their organic structures. Therefore, body-focused therapies are recommended.

Clients like Melvin who suffer from OCD have hapless societal accomplishments because they are wrapped up in their compulsions and irresistible impulses, and hence are unmindful to normal courtesies, to societal context, and to other ‘s perceptual experience of them. This point is verified over and over once more in the film as Melvin humorously stumbles through his intrapersonal interaction. Using interpersonal psychotherapeutics, the healer foremost highlights the ways in which the clients ‘ current operation, societal relationships and outlooks within these relationships may hold been causal in their jobs and later helps them research job relationships and see options available to decide them.

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