Monday, May 4, 2015

Narcissism in the film 'In Bruges'

This is a picture of a narcissist

People still have trouble with the concept of narcissism. Over at The Last Psychiatrist (the inspiration for this blog) narcissism is defined loosely as “the narcissist thinking their life is a movie and they are the main character. All other people are side characters, extras, or don’t exist. Everything that happens in the universe is somehow connected to the narcissist. He/she is the main character after all.” More at TLP

There are some who have trouble with this definition because they associate narcissism with grandiosity and obsession with appearance; like a Jersey Shore cast member. This is not accurate, and is actually a defense; if you are not a Jersey Shore cast member, then this definition allows you to think you’re not a narcissist. Fail.

Below is a very short scene from the film In Bruges. It’s a film starring Colin Farrell and Ralph Fiennes written and directed by Martin McDonagh.
It’s a boring film in which nothing happens (I stopped watching after 10 minutes) - but this scene with the fat American narcissist is right at the start.

Watch it.

So why is this fat American a narcissist?

The fat American is trying to impose his will on reality. He is trying to tell the world that he is the type of guy who can climb to the top of a high tower.
Any outsider observer can see that he is NOT the type of guy who can climb to the top of a higher tower. In this instance that’s due to two reasons 1) the tower has very narrow stairs that he literally can’t fit through because he is so morbidly obese 2) he likely does not have the stamina required to climb a tall flight of stairs, again likely due to the fact that he’s morbidly obese.

When confronted with the fact that he very clearly cannot climb to the top of a tower - the fat American has received a narcissist injury. He is reminded that he has not imposed his will on reality and that he is not the main character in a movie (literally in this case). When a narcissist receives a narcissistic injury there is only one response; rage. All examples from TLP here, here, here, and here

So the fat American narcissist (He should be called F.A.N. shouldn't he?) lunges at poor Colin with the intent to beat him senseless, maybe even kill him. Colin easily evades him and F.A.N. gives up after less than a minute of vigorous chasing. His presumed wife then works to help him rebuild his identity “You’re just the rudest man” because the problem isn't F.A.N.’s morbid obesity, Colin is the problem, the problem is Colin was rude.

Not a great movie. But a great illustration of what a narcissist is. Put the Jersey Short out of your mind, and next time you’re thinking about narcissism, think about F.A.N.

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