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We’ve all been surprised by the plot twist where two characters turn out to be one and the same person at some point in our lives. Drama, tension, and horror can all be generated by the use of multiple personalities, schizophrenia, or dissociative identity disorder.
There are times when the usage of multiple personas can ruin even the most mediocre of films. It’s easy to bend the laws and generate otherwise impossible tales when split personalities are used correctly.
List of best movies with many personalities and personality disorders that are expertly executed.
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10. Clean, Shaven (1995)
As a schizophrenic man just freed from a mental institution, Peter Greene stars in Clean, Shave. Self-destructive and dangerous to himself and others, he cuts “transmitters” out of his skull and closes himself off from the rest of the world.
In his search for his daughter, Peter becomes a suspect in a murder investigation after hearing a series of harrowing noises. Similarly to our protagonist, Lodge Kerrigan blurs the borders between what is real and what is imagined in this sad and disconnected drama, much like our protagonist.
9. Words on Bathroom Walls (2020)
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Adam, played by Charlie Plummer, is a bright and psychotic young man in Words on Bathroom Walls.
Adam has to balance his education, love life, and passion for cooking while coping with the severe adverse effects of his medicine in his senior year of high school.
Adam’s hallucination pals stalk him when he isn’t drugged up on prescription medicines, battling “The Darkness” that seeps into his consciousness.
On this list of films about personality disorders, Thor Freudenthal’s coming-of-age tale is the most upbeat, balancing mental illness’ misery with optimism and hope.
8. Identity (2003)
Identity, a psychological thriller by James Mangold, presents a new take on the whodunit mystery genre.
It is revealed that each of the 10 strangers who seek shelter at a motel is having his or her life snatched away from them, one by one. Moreover, Identity is all about one thing: who’s killing everyone?!?
John Cusack stars as a limo driver on a mission to catch the murderer. Was the convict involved? Who is the prostitute in this story? It could also be the nine-year-old. It all culminates in a game of Clues.
Dissociative identity disorder causes a suspect in Identity to have numerous separate personalities, making it one of the finest movies with several characters.
7. Primal Fear (1996)
Primal Fear, a courtroom drama unlike any other, has viewers unsure of Aaron Stampler’s guilt or innocence.
Actor Edward Norton plays an altar boy who is accused of murdering a priest by stabbing him to death. His alter-ego Roy (a nasty sociopath) assumes control when confronted with questions.
What do you think? Is this person insane or is he or she to blame? This is what Richard Gere’s character Martin Vail, a defense attorney, has to answer. Everything isn’t clear-cut when it comes to numerous personas.
6. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
It’s a biographical drama that’s not totally factual, but it won numerous Oscars in 2002, including Best Picture, for which it was nominated.
John Forbes Nash Jr., a Nobel Prize-winning mathematician who suffered from schizophrenia and autism, is the subject of Russell Crowe’s film. For Nash, the choice is between allowing his brain and hallucinations to remain, or undergoing harsh treatments (such as shock therapy) that eventually numb his intellectual abilities.
This heartfelt film, directed by Ron Howard, is both a celebration of creativity and a glimpse into the terrible reality of mental illness.
5. Split (2016)
Known for his hit-or-miss approach to filmmaking, M. Night Shyamalan has directed both masterpieces like The Sixth Sense and heartbreaking failures like The Last Airbender.
It’s been a long time since Shyamalan’s best work, but Split and the other two films in the Unbreakable and Glass series show a return to form.
As a kidnapper who suffers from dissociative identity disorder, James McAvoy’s portrayal in Split has elevated his stardom to new heights. In a split second, McAvoy may switch between his 24 different personas.
Split is a dark and gruesome mystery thriller that nonetheless manages to have a good time exploring its characters’ diverse personalities.
4. Take Shelter (2011)
“Take Shelter” follows the life of Michael Shannon’s character, an unassuming family guy who believes in the impending doom of mankind. He begins to obsessively build a storm shelter as a result of recurring nightmares and hallucinations.
As a result of his family’s history of schizophrenia, he and those around him question their own reality. Whether or not his paranoia is based in fact is a question that has to be answered.
Director Jeff Nichols leaves the audience to take their own conclusions from the enigmatic closing sequence.
3. Donnie Darko (2001)
Is there anyone who hasn’t seen the cult classic movie Donnie Darko?
In Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko, Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance as Donnie, a paranoid schizophrenic, successfully established the actor’s career.
Hallucinating a big bunny rabbit named Frank or being told that the world will end in exactly 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds is unnerving.
The film’s message is obscured by tangent universes, prophecies, and neurotic illusions. To this day, Donnie Darko remains a hotly debated film.
2. Shutter Island (2010)
To date, Shutter Island has been the most popular of Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio’s collaborations.
Teddy Daniels, a US Marshal, is assigned to find an escaped convict who buried her three children on a secluded island that is home to the world’s most crazy offenders.
Teddy is under growing pressure to face the truth as the investigation becomes more challenging.
Throughout the film, director Martin Scorsese uses sophisticated camerawork to hint at this renowned plot surprise, which becomes evident when you return for a second watching.
1. Fight Club (1999)
David Fincher’s Fight Club is an essential part of any list of movies having many identities. In spite of its cultural significance, this dark comedy has earned its place at the top of the list.
Tyler Durden, played by Brad Pitt, is an unusual friend of Edward Norton’s who quits his job to form a “fight club.”
His surprise at being the commander of an anti-capitalist terrorist gang at the end is tempered by the knowledge that Tyler was just an illusion.