The media is rich with narcissistic characters, whether they are depicted as villains or tragic persons dealing with suffering. Regardless of whether they are sympathetic or not, their poisonous behavior can lead to interpersonal abuse and dysfunction.
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Here are eleven movies that perfectly capture the narcissistic experience, from violent parents to gaslighting partners:
1. Mommie Dearest (1981)
There is no denying the power of Faye Dunaway’s portrayal of Joan Crawford, the narcissistic, abusive mother who rules her family with an iron fist, despite critics’ disagreements over whether the film is merely campy fun or a serious examination of family dysfunction.
Actress is shown terrorizing her adopted children throughout their lives, flinging abuse and violence at them as her world falls apart. In the world of narcissism, Joan Crawford is a shining example.
2. Gaslight (1944)
After turning on and off the gaslights without her knowledge, a husband convinces his wife that she is progressively losing her sanity and blames it on her imagination. The word “gaslighting” derives from this film.
Thanks to this psychological thriller, which is still a wonderful movie to grasp how easily someone’s sanity may be manipulated, the term has become widely used.
3. The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly, a fictional fashion magazine editor alleged to be inspired on the real-life Vogue editor Anna Wintour, is one of the few classic “bad bosses.” It’s impossible to disagree with or fail under Priestly’s strict instructions and stinging criticism, which are equal parts distant and cold-blooded.
Meryl Streep was nominated for Best Actress in the year the picture was released, making her one of the most famous actresses in the world at the time. A narcissistic employer is something everyone has had to deal with at some point in their lives.
4. Rachel Getting Married (2008)
There will never be another performance like Anne Hathaway’s portrayal of Kym, a recovering alcoholic and drug addict who leaves rehab to attend her sister’s wedding. Her portrayal of Kym is both poignant and human in its depiction of a self-destructive narcissist who tries to change but ultimately fails.
Kym’s antics at her sister’s wedding cause a commotion that upsets her family, especially Rachel, who is frightened of being vulnerable. While it would be simple to portray Kym as the villain in this story, the film is more about the repercussions of trauma on families and the narcissistic characteristics that people adopt to cope with it.
5. Hush (1998)
In thrillers, narcissistic mothers are common, and Hush is no exception. To raise her grandchild as her own, Jessica Lange stars as a mother who is willing to kill her son’s new wife in order to get her hands on him.
6. Rebecca (2020)
Rather of dealing with a narcissist in their present marriage in the 1940 Alfred Hitchcock thriller, Rebecca has to cope with a narcissist from a former one. Her identity is uncertain after a passionate affair with the mysterious Maxim de Winter and living under the shadow of his former wife, Rebecca.
Even though Rebecca is clearly shown as the unstable, narcissistic wife, the film remains a heartbreaking tale of caution when marrying a stranger.
7. Matilda (1996)
One of Roald Dahl’s best-known works, it tells about a brilliant youngster who gets psychokinetic powers. With the help of her powers, Matilda manages to deal with her egotistical, negligent parents as well as her cruel and violent school administrator.
However, despite its more fantasy and kid-friendly nature, Matilda’s appeal as a film about narcissists resides in Matilda’s parents, who refuse to take her to school, leave her alone in the house as a youngster, and repeatedly denigrate her achievements.
8. Arthur (1981)
As a comedy, Arthur follows a young, intoxicated, and spoiled guy who is forced by his parents to marry a wealthy heiress in order to retain his inheritance. A young woman named Linda seduces Arthur and the two begin an ambiguous relationship as Arthur’s parents continue to encourage him to find a good wife. Art is maturing and taking things more seriously as Linda’s impact on him becomes more apparent.
9. Mean Girls (2004)
Narcissism is like Regina George, an adolescent girl with a self-obsessed personality. Reggie, the leader of the Plastics clique at her high school, is a narcissist to the core.
Even though Mean Girls has become a pop cultural phenomenon, many who have battled with narcissism will appreciate Regina’s descent from high school fame.
10. The Invisible Man (2020)
Based on H.G. Wells’ 1897 novel of the same name, The Invisible Man tells the story of Cecilia, who is being hunted by her abusive boyfriend who no one can see.’ Rather than commit suicide, Cecilia’s ex-boyfriend developed a technique to turn invisible and torture her without anybody noticing.
It’s exhilarating to see Cecilia’s search for the man who is trying to wreck her life.