What happens if you don’t pay attention to what’s going on around you? Is reality objective, or is it merely a matter of viewpoint? Deceptive images are created by the immensely complex human imagination, convincing us that what we see is genuine. However, it’s possible that what we see as real may not be so for the rest of the world. Having an identity crisis is exactly what it is like. There have been numerous films based on this subject, and many of them are among the greatest ever made. The following is a list of the best films about identity crises. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime have some of the best movies about identity crises.
15. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
In many ways, it’s saccharine, theatrical, and predictable. To tell the story of John Nash, who developed paranoid schizophrenia, A Beautiful Mind shows the life of the mathematical prodigy. To put it another way: His life is eternally altered by this fight to deal with himself and the misery he inflicts on those he interacts with. His superior intellect aids him in confronting his inner problems. Even though it’s overdone in many parts, there is enough empathy in it to make it work, even if it seems manipulative or exaggerated.
14. Shutter Island (2010)
Psychiatrist Ted Daniels and his associate travel to an island asylum to look into the disappearance of a young woman in Martin Scorsese’s chilling psychological thriller. We soon learn that Ted is a patient of the asylum and that he killed his schizophrenic wife, who had drowned their children, in order to get revenge on his wife’s killer. Forcing him to deny the brutality of the truth, guilt has kept him in a condition of denial. He constructs a universe of his own and sees everyone he interacts with as characters in it.
13. The Machinist (2004)
For an industrial worker like Trevor Reznik, a sleep-deprived insomniac, a succession of strange events at home and at work causes him to question the world around him and his own life. Trevor drove away after he accidentally killed a young boy with his car. Because of his shame, he has become an insomniac. Because of his mental illness, he sees the world through an entirely other set of eyes. Christian Bale’s performance in the lead role is nothing short of breathtaking, and the picture as a whole is a work of art in its own right.
12. Black Swan (2010)
Filmmaker Darren Aronofsky’s highly acclaimed psychological horror depicts the artistic pain of a dancer who is set to play the role of White Swan in a stage production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet, but is emotionally distraught at the thought of competing with someone better than her for the same part. She begins to lose her grasp on reality and is sucked into a nightmare from which she will never be able to escape. Atmosphere created by Aronofsky flawlessly balances ambiguity of reality inside protagonist’s psyche as concreteness of her identity gets distorted and murky.
11. Enemy (2013)
One of the central themes of Denis Villeneuve’s stunning psychological thriller is the presence of two guys who are strikingly similar in appearance. Duality and the ambiguity of the plot are the main themes of the picture, which is distinctly Lynchian in tone. The film does not explain which character is real, despite the fact that we see Anthony and Adam as two distinct individuals. However, “Enemy” is a lot more ambiguous than Christopher Nolan’s early thrillers. We don’t know for sure whether of the two is real, or if one is an abstract depiction of the other’s subconscious. On many levels, it’s gripping, strange, enigmatic, and philosophical.
10. Take Shelter (2011)
One of today’s most underappreciated independent directors, Jeff Nichols, is one of the best. Unfortunately, ‘Take Shelter’ is his most underappreciated thriller to yet. While trying to deal with the demons of his mind, he is unable to discern between the real and the unreal as his nightmares spill into the real world around him. We get a feeling of the unsettled state of the protagonist’s mind thanks to Nichols’ direction, which develops suspense throughout the film. As he senses the earth’s demise, reality is murky and the film never explains the reasoning behind his ideas and visions.
9. Fight Club (1999)
In David Fincher’s cult classic thriller, Identity, he plays with our ideas of reality with flamboyance, style, and exuberance. A man who is fed up with his corporate job decides to form an underground combat club with the help of a seductive soap salesman. It is revealed that the protagonist has sleeplessness and an anxiety issue. As a result of this, he can live a life free of money, expectation, or superficiality without having to deal with modern society.
8. Memento (2000)
“I have to believe in a universe outside my own head,” the protagonist tells himself towards the end of Christopher Nolan’s “Memento.” Even if I can’t recall what I did, I have to believe that my acts still have importance. “I have to trust that the world continues to exist even when my eyes are closed.” A man’s struggle with his own identity has never been depicted on screen quite like this. Leonard’s recollections are skewed and fabricated, and he is surrounded by lies. As a result of his unwillingness to accept the truth, he develops a world of his own.
7. Lost Highway (1997)
David Lynch’s name is bound to be mentioned when the subject of an identity crisis is mentioned. “Lost Highway” is plainly Lynchian surrealism at its rawest and most seductively interesting. I’m not sure why this isn’t one of Lynch’s best-known works. Having been found guilty of the murder of his wife, a man transforms into a young mechanic and manages to escape prison in order to begin a new life. He falls in love with a mysterious and sensual woman. Lynch never intends to explain the unusual sequence of events that occur across the two parallel stories, and he keeps the mystery of his characters’ identities intact.
6. Dead Ringers (1988)
David Cronenberg, a master of the horror genre, is known for his penchant for demolishing people’s sense of humanity in his films. His films deal with the physical manifestation of human dread in a visceral way. In his universe, the distinction between the real and the imaginary is frighteningly blurred. It portrays the narrative of two gynaecologists who begin to fall apart over a woman in the movie Dead Ringers. Dual identity and the fear of losing one’s identity to the other are at the heart of this story. To date, Cronenberg’s most complex picture is “Dead Ringers,” which probes the mind and psychosis of the twins.
5. Under the Skin (2013)
In my opinion, ‘Under the Skin’ is the most fascinating film of this decade. Scarlett Johansson’s career-best portrayal of an otherworldly woman who entices lonely men into her van is the focus of the film. There is nothing human about Scarlett’s character, and she is completely emotionless. A searing tale of self-discovery is the result of her fight with her identity and sense of belonging in this world. When she spends so much time with other people, she begins to question her own identity and existence. A disturbing, evocative and thought-provoking read.
4. 3 Women (1977)
Identity and reality are muddled in Robert Altman’s bizarre avant-garde masterwork. ‘3 Women’ depicts the story of a woman and her roommate’s intriguing connection. To complicate things even further, their personalities and identities merge in odd ways until it is impossible to tell which is whose. With the introduction of a new character, the wife of a bar owner, the plot becomes even more intricate and tangled. A dreamy element to the film is instilled by Altman’s ambiguous depiction of the world around its protagonists, which does not allow us to know the identity of any of them.
3. Mulholland Drive (2000)
He created some of the most horrific, tragic, and confusing mysteries ever depicted in film with “Mulholland Drive.” What happens on screen is a mystery that can never be fully explained. For Betty, it’s all about making it big in Hollywood, the world’s most glamorous film industry. It is revealed that she had met an amnesiac woman. As Betty is revealed to be Diane, a needy, insecure woman who is in love with an actress who resembles Rita, a horrific web of deadly reality begins to unravel in Los Angeles. Our grasp of the film’s plot and characters aids in our interpretation of the film’s characters’ true identities.
2. Synecdoche, New York (2008)
In a Charlie Kaufman picture, you don’t expect anything to be simple. During Kaufman’s directorial debut, Caden Cotard, an ailing theater artist working on a major theatrical performance, is anatomically dissected by Kaufman. Due to Caden’s intense involvement in the performance, the barrier between fiction and reality begins to blur around him. Angry as an artist and desperate to feel significant again, he has become a shell of a man as he watches his loved ones die and sees his life pass by in his own world.
1. Persona (1966)
On the list of best films on identity crises, Persona may be the most apparent choice. Alma, a nurse assigned to care for a mute actress named Elisabeth, narrates the story. Alma and Elisabeth soon relocate to an isolated cottage, where Alma tells Elisabeth some of the most harrowing details of her past. To the point where their personalities are fused together, they form a unique bond. They trade roles and question each other’s actions and the decisions they made in their previous life. The picture is infused with a great deal of anguish, sensuality, vigor, and sadness, making it a highly intimate experience.