The Narcissist and Film

THE NARCISSIST AND FILM

The recent analysis of the television programme “Big Little Lies” provided an opportunity to see a number of narcissists from a variety of schools “in action” with a wide range of portrayals.

With your improved knowledge and understanding, here is an opportunity for you to identify and explain those films where you consider that a main character is a narcissist and why. The floor is yours. Identify the film and the character (and you can do as many as you wish) where you believe that film to amount to an excellent portrayal or a “best fit” portrayal of a narcissist.

Remember, it is the character(s) not the person playing them that are identified as narcissists.

Let’s see who you suggest and feel free to constructively debate the choices of others. This will enable you to flex your learning and potentially have exposure to some further information and learning through either fictional film or television programme.

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52 Comments

  1. “All I see Is You” is about a blind woman (played by Blake Lively) whose husband comes off as a “great guy” that helps her so much. She ends up getting a cornea replacement and her vision starts to come back but then when she uses her drops it gets worse and turns out her husband was tampering with the drops because he prefers her blind.

  2. Dear Mr Tudor,
    We are currently watching the series, Dexter, a psychopathic serial killer, but he kills for good not evil
    I like the way he describes his thought process, most of which I can relate from your works, he even says “the good doctors” and has major sex issues

    Merely Streep in The Devil Wears Pravda was a good portrayal of a crazy egotistical arrogant narcissist boss
    Dirty John with Eric Bana because it was based on true life
    Roger Ailes, played by Russell Crowe, Fox News boss … what an absolute pig of a man …. true story
    An excellent movie, The Founder, about Ray Kroc who manipulated the two McDonald brothers and took over the whole McDonalds empire with the typical narcissist trait of being ….. persistent….. true story
    Another terrific genre …. thank you 🎥
    Luv Bubbles xx 😘

    1. Dear Mr Tudor,
      Another incredible two …..
      “When They See Us”, a horrendous true story of the Central Park 5, shows the abusive powerful side of the law, Felicity Huffman (haha) playing Linda Fairstein …..”racism” being at its ultimate (she’s still in denial)
      “City on a Hill” starring Kevin Bacon as Jackie Rohr captures his narcissism to a tee …. you can’t help but have his character grow on you as he gets the job done with his super carefree attitude
      Luv Bubbles xx 😘

    2. Hi Bubbles! I have also seen The Founder and I agree with Ray Kroc. Even the way that he had to have Joan who was married at that time to a very nice man was indicative of his narcissism. Michael Keaton did a great job I think.

      1. Dear MommyPino,
        So glad you’ve seen it, that story blew us away
        Apparently Joan was Krocs 3rd wife (narc warning ⚠️) I felt so sorry for her ex husband (he was a Navy vet)
        Apparently, Kroc lied about his age to get into the military
        Ironicly, she inherited the lot, however donated millions to charities which was her legacy
        Michael Keaton played that part brilliantly, using his “charm” to worm his way in, then the manipulations, lies, “contracts were meant to be broken” attitude, deception and his aggressive vindictive wheeling n dealing
        Those poor McDonalds brothers were conned from the beginning and just too empathic for their own good (their burgers ended up being cremated)
        Morale of the story …..”never trust a salesman’ 😂
        🍔🍟
        Luv Bubbles xx 😘

        1. Hi Bubbles, you explained everything perfectly. I think what bothered me the most in the movie is that Joan’s ex husband didn’t deserve what happened to him one bit. He was a good and honorable man and he trusted both his wife and Ray Kroc. It was a Dirty Empath situation. She was an empath who got addicted to the narcissist that seduced her. I have read some articles saying that people thought of Ray Kroc as an asshole but both him and Joan had volatile tempers except that she seemed to really care about him. Ray Kroc was alcoholic so Joan attended the AA meetings so that she can learn how to help him.

          1. Dear MommyPino,
            Her poor trusting husband didn’t deserve it
            I wasn’t aware Kroc went to AA, so thank you
            I read he married inbetween Joan as she kept him waiting
            Persistence certainly paid off for “both” of them 🤑 💰
            Luv Bubbles 😘

  3. The Cider House Rules

    Mr. Rose is a Lower Mid-Range Narcissist.

    In the movie Mr. Rose was so charming and likable. He was very kind to Homer and became Homer’s mentor and Homer was learning about the apple picking business. He was a loving father to his daughter Rose and there was no reason to think otherwise s. When it was revealed that Mr. Rose raped and impregnated his own daughter Rose, it was extremely difficult to believe. I could feel the huge dilemma inside Homer when he went up to Mr. Rose and confronted him about what he did to his own daughter especially when Mr. Rose greeted him with the kindest smile. Mr. Rose gaslighted Homer but it made Homer even more determined and braver to press. Incest is a red flag for narcissism and also some of the way he exhibited ownership of his daughter Rose. There was a scene where she seemed she was trying to leave and Mr. Rose seemed to be stopping her. Homer got involved and Mr. Rose got furious and yelled at Homer that he is his daughter while wrapping his arm around her chest and pulling her towards himself like pulling in a doll or inanimate object that he owns towards himself. Also, even though Mr. Rose displayed amazing charm and kindness, everybody yields to him because they are fearful of him.

  4. Breaking the Waves (1996) directed by Lars von Trier, starring Emily Watson, who plays Bess McNeil–the Ultimate Empath–and Stellan Skarsgård, who plays Jan, the You-Know-What. (Not sure if movie critics of that time would agree with me, but HG wasn’t writing back then, so how would they know?)

    And who could forget Gaslight directed by George Cukor, with Ingrid Bergman starring as Empath and Charles Boyer starring as Narcissist. Well, you probably did not forget as HG most likely mentioned this one in a previous film-focused article.

  5. “Nicholas and Alexandra”, based on Massey’s biography of the last tsar of Russia. The person known as Rasputin was clearly a N when details of his life are scrutinized.

    He was a fake monk, had a large harem of women he’d seduced and had sex with; they found his mesmerising intense state and charisma alluring. He played mind games with everyone, was a determined social climber and reached the zenith of his career by getting into the Royal circle, gaining power over Alexandra, the tsarevitch who had haemophilia, and by this, the Tsar.

    The religious persona was a construct, but got him what he wanted. He ticked all three prime aims off his list. His fame lives on.

  6. Can’t believe I forgot this one, but Dennis Reynolds from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. All of the characters are horrible people, but Dennis stands out from the rest. There is an entire episode dedicated to the D.E.N.N.I.S. system:

    Demonstrate value
    Engage physically
    Nurture dependence
    Neglect emotionally
    Inspire hope
    Separate entirely

  7. “Riley: Ace of Spies” with Sam Neill as Riley is a good biographical account of the spy that James Bond was modelled on. He was ruthless xx enigmatic, and would do whatever was necessary, BE whatever was necessary to get the job done. He’d seduce anyone in pursuit of his goals.

  8. I’m going to watch some Alfred Hitchcock movies this week. ‘Dial M For Murder’ is on the list. ‘Strangers On a Train’, and ‘Psycho’ obviously would make the cut.

    George Eliot’s ‘Middlemarch’ has a couple of good N-characters: Dorothea marries Edward Casaubon, a well-written cerebral N, who traps her in a loveless marriage. She’s dying until she finally escapes him, and finds love with Will Ladislaw (of whom Edward is intensely jealous).
    Tertius Lydgate marries the shallow Rosamond Vincy who is utterly uninterested in him as a person. He is merely an appliance to her, and the means of gaining some residual benefits. (And fuel, obviously).
    Dumas’ “The Three Musketeers” has me thinking about Lady de Winter. She’s a classic femme fatale. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the film or read the book. I’ll have to revisit them to make a determination.

    Thackeray’s Becky Sharp shows some empathy when she tells Amelia that her “perfect” and sainted husband was going to run away with Becky on the eve of mobilisation for war. She doesn’t gain by telling Amelia about this, but she sets her mind at ease. She doesn’t thrive on schadenfreude as those with NPD do. Becky seems to be more narcissistic than Narcissist

  9. Dickens’s “Our Mutual Friend” has a surfeit of Ns.
    The Lemmles love-bomb each other for riches (residual benefits), and find once married, that they were both scamming the other.
    They join forces to continue scamming others.
    Rogue Riderhood rows the Thames at night for corpses to go through their pockets, in hopes of riches or items to blackmail with. Only a person who lacks any empthy could do that. He has a daughter Lizzie, who is seduced by one man, he gets bored of her and disengages, and has she another so infatuated with her that he stalks her rival and tries to murder him out of jealous rage. “You will be mine Lizzie!” “Umm, I don’t want you…” “I don’t want to hear that. Just say yes now. You will eventually. You must. I want you to” (massive sense of entitlement, and wants a beautiful wife for his facade/career advancement).
    Silas Wegg tried to blackmail the Boffins because he feels cheated in life and…roll out the pity play…
    There are so many more…
    Jenny Wren’s dad is a deadbeat alcoholic, and she proves to be Lizzie’s only real friend….

    1. Ugh! The typos! That was autocorrect doing things to my comments that made me sound unintelligent. Apologies, but none of those mistakes were my doing.

  10. Charles Dickens wrote about quite a few Narcissists.
    I’m reminded of a couple:

    He had Uriah Heep in David Copperfield who was clearly a victim-N, and I think perhaps a mid-ranger “I’m ever so humble” was his catchphrase.

    Mr Pecksniff in “Martin Chuzzlewitt” was a pompous mid-ranger (?Angel with a Dirty Face) who strung along and future-faked Mrs Todgers, he used his daughters as pawns for power, and married his sweet emotionally responsive daughter (Mercy, named ‘Merry’) to an abusive upper Lesser N who controlled and crushed her. She barely escaped alive (she was rescued) so worn down was she by him.
    His other daughter Charity seemed to show some mid-ranger tendencies too: jealousy, entitlement, zero empathy, love-bombed a gentle man into submission who later escaped her. Had the facade of being a caring person, and a person of substance. Competed with her sister.

    Bill Sykes in Oliver Twist was a Narcissist/? sociopath. I’m not sure. I always recoil in revulsion from him, and his exploitative, destructive and ruthless ways. He was well-fuelled with negative fuel. A base and vicious creature. ?A Lesser, with little charm.
    Nancy was an Empath, but was twisted up in the N-dynamic through hardship, survival and life circumstances.

    I wonder if Fagin was a mid-ranger. He only cared about himself. The rest was facade maintenance, fuel, and the pursuit of residual benefits.

      1. WAF T
        thanks for your thoughts.
        I’ve been thinking about Nancy all day today, and realised how trauma bonded the woman is.

        “Our friggin anthem” indeed!
        …..even as a child I could understand her deep passion….even though Bill scared me.
        Maybe they were familiar to me as my own grandparents (him a raging Lesser, her devoted and staying with him despite his daily provocations for negative fuel).
        I understood her loving him. Love mingled with fear is normal to me.
        I didn’t understand why he didn’t love her in return, or why he’d murder her.
        Now I get it.

  11. I’ve been pondering Hardy’s “Tess of the D’Urbervilles”. It shows characters that are roughly drawn:
    1) Tess
    the Empath (obligated, controlled, her inner strength/convictions and intuition squashed by circumstances, a person who is emotionally responsive, pure and feminine, and has a moral compass),

    2) Alec D’Urberville
    Narcissist (rich, entitled, seducer of Tess, future-faker, rapist, player, zero empathy, easily bored, has a fake facade of having Christian faith… doesn’t, and ditches the pretense when it no longer suits him, his mind is unrefined, he hoovers Tess after he disengaged from her and love-bombs her), and

    3) Angel Clare
    Mid-ranger (“Angel with a Dirty Face”) who seems infatuated with Tess and puts her high on a pedestal, is very controlling of her (in a different way to Alec who is more obvious in his manipulations), demonstrates black and white thinking, and on the wedding night paints Tess black and she is in devaluation; he witholds affection to punish her and draw massive amounts of negative fuel. He acts like the wounded party, despite the fact that he’s angry that Tess isn’t a virgin because she was raped. He shows zero empathy too.. Tess tries to get back to the golden period with Angel Clare again by murdering Alec, but she is ultimately “killed” by a lifetime of emotional abuse.

  12. “Mrs Wilson” the biographical three-part series about Alexander Wilson and his bigamous marriage to actress Ruth Wilson’s grandmother (maybe great-grandma, I can’t remember now).
    Very interesting and mysterious.

  13. Breaking bad- Walter White- great example of saying “means always justifies ends”.

    Vampire dairies- Kai Parker- sociopath(Greater)

    I managed to find a transcript of the episode where he says who he is. It wasn’t hard though.

    Kai: Well, in case you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a sociopath. (Elena pretends to be shocked) I know. Shocker. I like being a sociopath. You know, I’m not burdened by things like guilt or love. So then this merge happened with my brother Luke, and I won, which was great because I absorbed his ability to do magic, but now I can’t stop thinking about how Luke died, how Liv’s life is ruined. For some horrible reason, I can’t shake how badly I feel about it. (sighs frustrated)

    Elena: (looks at him surprised) You feel bad?

    Kai: Yes. So when I absorbed Luke’s magic, I must have gotten some of his qualities or something like empathy. So I googled how to process emotional pain, and they said if you write everything down in a letter and burn it, you’ll be healed. So I started writing, and this water literally started pooling in my eyes. Has that ever happened to you, like–like water just–just oozing out of my eyeballs like I’m some alien creature excreting fluids.

    There is one song called “Savages”- by Marina and the Diamonds. I like the lyrics so much. I recommend listening to it. Especially i like the part where she says:i am not afraid of God. I am afraid of Man.

    1. Another part from Vampire Dairies which you might find interesting. It has been few years since i watched it.

      A girl is driving down a road in the woods but she stops because a man is laying in the middle of the road. She gets out and rushes over to him. It’s Damon.]

      Jessica: Sir, are you okay? What happened?
      Damon: I’m…lost.
      Jessica: And you’re laying in the middle of the road?
      Damon: Not that kind of lost.
      [He sits up.]

      Damon: Metaphorically, existentially.
      Jessica: Do you need help?
      Damon: Well, yes I do. Can you help me?
      [He takes a hip flask from his pocket and takes a drink.]

      Jessica: You’re drunk.
      Damon: No. Well, yes a little maybe.
      [She starts to leave.]

      Damon: No please don’t leave. I really do need help.
      [He rushes over to her and compels her.]

      Damon: Don’t move.
      Jessica: I don’t want any trouble.
      Damon: Neither do I but all I got is trouble.
      Jessica: Why can’t I move?
      [Damon takes another drink from the flask, then puts his hands on her shoulders.]

      Damon: What’s your name?
      Jessica: Jessica.
      Damon: Hi Jessica. I have a secret, I have a big one and I never said it out loud. I mean, what’s the point? It’s not gonna change anything, it’s not gonna make me good, make me an adopt a puppy. I can’t be what other people want me to be, what she wants me to be. This is who I am, Jessica.
      Jessica: Are you gonna hurt me?
      Damon: I’m not sure because you are my existential crisis. Do I kill you or do I not kill you?
      Jessica: Please don’t.
      Damon: But I have to, Jessica because I’m not human and I miss it. I miss it more than anything in the world! That is my secret but there is only so much hurt a man can take.
      Jessica: Please, don’t.

  14. The Girl on the Train – Tom
    Sleeping With the Enemy – Martin
    Enough – Mitch
    Chloe – Chloe
    Mommy Dearest – Joan Crawford
    You – Joe
    What Happened to Baby Jane? – Jane

  15. Sleeping With Other People. One of my favourite dramedys. Adam Scott’s character is Elite UMR I think.
    Jason Sudeikis is the good guy in the film but I wonder if he is a narc. He’s a womanizer until he meets Elaine.

  16. @WAF Tudorita:

    Nate’s dad says to the john,” ”Do you think this stuff affects them even if they don’t know it? Do you think hiding it creates the same thing in them? you know I spent my whole life trying to keep this part of me separate. But I feel like it’s poisoned everything. I thought that I was doing what’s best for everybody and then I love my boys and they have so much anger, not just anger but rage and it scares me because it’s too late it’s always to be going inside them.”

    There are many men and women who have affairs being their spouses backs, engage in kink, and do not feel one bit bad about it. Lack of remorse on their part could stem from their marriage going badly, or perhaps out of need, because they are bisexual and feel it’s something missing they can’t fulfill with their spouse. Their lack of remorse may also come from a distorted sense of feeling as if they are protecting their spouse from their “dirty” sexual proclivities. Although perhaps many would agree it is “immoral”, this lack of remorse behavior is not reason enough to warrant a of NPD.

    Respectfully, I disagree with your assessment. It has little to do with my empathetic nature. At the end of the day, it’s a HBO TV series, who really gives a shit…..

    1. Well it’s just a discussion.
      I was adding his gay affairs , to his lack of empathy for his son’s victim & encouraging his son to avoid accountability.
      Just lack of empathy & accountability all around
      I’m not judging kink or ppl who have an affair – I’m Looking at a character who has a whole other double life.

      And his self awareness and awareness of what He and his son are would make him a greater

      I guess we won’t know unless HG has seen the series and could give input , I’d love to hear it if so, HG?
      (We are discussing Nate and his dad on the show Euphoria)

      Of course he’s just a character on a show so we can only go with what we see- actions and words
      Anyhow good discussing w you

        1. HG perhaps you’d consider it as the next homework assignment.
          It’s a group of youth (high school) who have various personal problems (it’s not boring I swear) because it’s set in current youth culture with texting, hooking up, party drug availability ,and other issues youth face daily today that were not an issue even a decade ago..and.. the whole nonchalance of all of it is frightening.
          It’s also especially well acted and produced . Very hip, modern and I think (?) up for awards

          Also the encouragement of narcissism in modern youth culture is well represented

          To add to that, we obv have several narcissist characters , and one is a budding violent sociopath (of the UMR school, is my guess) . (His gf is a narc, and as we’ve been discussing I suspect his father is a greater.
          It’s actually difficult to determine who may be simply narcissistic due to their age and culture, and who clearly show narcissism .

          It’s quite addictive , marathon-worthy.

    2. I also think the rage he describes inside himself is actually what HG would call Fury.
      And he’s self-aware enough to know that it will be in his boy forever .

  17. A Death in California. Sleeping with the Enemy. HG, was Rex Harrison’s character in My Fair Lady a narcissist or just driven? How about The Ghost and Mrs. Muir? Both characters were bigger than life, but the devaluation wasn’t there. Are there people that are bigger than life but not narcissists? Thx

    1. Oh sorry, I didn’t identify. A Death in California- Cheryal Ladd, victim. Sam Elliott, narcissist. Elliott’s character rapes Ladd, then convinced her he was a hitman hired to kill her, but had a change of heart. He then convinced her parents that “the company” had others trying to complete the hit. It was based on a true story.

      Sleeping with the Enemy- Julia Roberts, victim. Patrick Bergin, narcissist. Oh everybody knows this one.

      I have one more, Death and the Maiden. Sigourney Weaver, victim. Ben Kingsley, narcissist. As a young woman Weaver’s character was tortured by Kingsley’s character. But she only ever heard his voice. Later in life her life, she hears that voice in an apparent stranger.

  18. The documentary “I love you now Die” main chick

    Made for tv true story Patricia Arquette mom who has munchausens by proxy -mega narc , forget the title of the 4-5 part series , she kept her kid in a wheelchair and hundreds of medical procedures, the daughter also is a narc and murdered her mom eventually w her narc boyfriend

  19. “The Bad Seed” 1956 is a great movie about a child who is a narcissist with no empathy, and sees murder as justified to get what she wants or to stop someone from doing something against her, and the whole time she’s a perfect, sweet, polite, and talented, innocent little girl. The seed ran in her family too.

  20. I watched 2 movies recently dear HG…

    Conan- He was psychopathic
    The Color of Money- Paul Newman was a Greater

  21. The 2018 A Star Is Born was almost unwatchable in a lot of ways, not the least of them the narcissistic abuse by Jackson, Bradley cooper’s character. Knowing what I know now, the whole thing was gross to watch, while a lot of other people I know found it to be a touching romance (???). Goes to show you how little people know about narcissistic abuse…

    1. I agree Eugenia, it was disgusting how Bradley Cooper’s character treated Lady Gaga’s character in that movie. He also had addiction issues which is another red flag. The fast pace of their romance was another red flag. The way he tried to control her was also narcissistic.

    2. I find it interesting that was your view on Bradley’s character. I had an entirely different view. He was wanting to give her a platform to showcase what he believed was a raw talent. Using his own fame he gave her that platform to being with, which happens in the entertainment industry all the time (eg Oprah giving Dr.Phil a show) The sexual/romantic relationship was entirely at her own consent. He did not interfere with her success, he was trying to protect her from a dark industry, he was concerned the manager had bad intentions for her (in my opinion it was the manager who was the narc) he was trying to remind her to stick with her roots and natural talent. He cried when he first heard her sing, did not make it a skeptical for her to see or even notice, it was a genuine reaction to her beautiful voice.

      Due to his alcoholism he could not express properly what he wanted to say to her, his alcoholism ended up making him look like a idiot in some instances but he was using drugs to run away from his own pain. If you watch closely in the scene he is at rehab on the bench, he discusses his attempts to kill himself in his youth (its veiled in its delivery). Sure they had that one big fight… but every married couple has fights… and if they never do that isn’t healthy either.

      He also ended his life, and I would assume most narcs do not do that unless they feel it is going to keep them from jail or something of that nature. He ended his life due to severe depression.

      That’s how I saw it. Curious as to what you thought made him a narc?

  22. The Royal Tennenbaums
    Gene Hackman plays a narcissistic and absent father, who has been living in a hotel away from his family. He runs out of money, and decides to hoover is family. He does it by pretending he is dying.
    Anjelica Houston plays a Super Empath who shows obvious no contact and grey rock to Gene Hackman’s attempts to obtain fuel from her.
    There’s a good scene where Anjelica Houston’s new boyfriend tries to put Gene Hackman in his place, and tries to make him behave, but it only creates a game of gaslighting, and fueling Geme Hackman.

  23. Jennifer Lawrence’s character Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook is a narcissist. I think that she’s a Middle Lesser. She withheld intimacy from her husband and became promiscuous after he died which was probably because of fuel crisis after his death. She was obsessing and idealizing Pat in an extreme way.

  24. The Waterboy

    Bobby’s momma is a Lower Lesser Narcissist. Everything that could take Bobby’s attention from her or her control on him is the devil. She didn’t want him to get educated or get married because she wanted him to be under her control forever.

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