As an analyst I am accustomed to listening patiently (at length) to narcissistic, self-promoting monologues. Narcissism is a complex developmental challenge in our culture and a gateway to great creativity, if one works through its stuckness, the bitterness this creates, and the enraged envy and self-hatred at its core. That is what this film is all about. How to create new patterns of relationship that enable narcissistic transformation? Woody suggests some clues in a snide way, and finally works up to the realization that developing a sort of quirky empathy is the catalyst for progress. But real empathy is not self-deprecating, crude or cynical: it is an experience of relatedness that leads one to feeling deeply understood without being judged, and therefore accepted in a way that mirrors our (longed for) sense of perfection and being admired. Transformation gradually unfolds from there through this experience. We all need mirroring at every stage of life. Mature adults earn this mirroring through merit for achievement, especially in self-less serve to others. Unfortunately, Larry David, as Woody's stand-in, spends much of the film in an infantile mode demanding, 'Mommy, Daddy, watch me, watch me! ' He becomes quite brittle and tiresome because Woody has yet to realize that the oscillation between autonomy and neediness arises from an ancient, crippling paradox. This was summarized long ago by the Roman poet Ovid in 'Metamorphosis' by the phrase, 'Touch me not, I'll give you no power o'er me.' Hopefully, the resolution of this will start to emerge in Woody's next film. Because this grandiose, exhibitionistic monologue does not touch one on any level, other than as a yet another mask for the auteur's low self-esteem. Admittedly, the film does prompt a snicker or two, but it's long-past time for the fiddler to learn a new tune.
|5/10||iispiral@ - 161 reviews|
29.6.2009 - age: 50+ - 12 replies
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