Monday, January 17, 2005

Captain's Quarters on the Aviator: OCD is Weird

Ed Morrisey on The Aviator:
"Mostly, I was bothered by the overwhelming focus on Hughes' obsessive-compulsive disorder rather than the accomplishments in his life. Hints appear in almost every scene, and at one point I wanted to say, 'I GET IT! HE HAS OCD!' It's the kind of thing that actors salivate to portray, and Leonardo DiCaprio does an excellent job doing so. However, OCD wasn't the be-all and end-all of Howard Hughes, and Scorsese misses the forest for the trees"
Translation: Mental illness is icky, and I wish Scorcese would have glossed over this aspect of Hughes' character.

Ed, unfortunately for the mentally ill, "hints" of their mental illness appear in almost all of the "scenes" of their lives. Scorcese did an excellent job of telling the story of a portion of Hughes' life, and in the process he showed how those with mental illness are afflicted by their disease. Sorry that was icky for you Ed.

And the movie hardly portrayed Hughes' illness as "the be-all and end-all" of Hughes' life. Quite the contrary: Ed seems to have missed the point of the film. Rather, one of the over-arching themes of the movie was the fact that Hughes' illness, obsessive-compulsive disorder, was the source of not only his greatest weaknesses, but of his greatest achievements, and caused him to obsess over his projects until he had perfected them. Anyone with even a cursory familiarity with Hughes' life would know that "hints" of OCD did pervade almost every aspect of his life. Scorcese brilliantly shows how mental illnesses can be a double-edged sword.

Perhaps Ed was upset that My Left Footconcentrated so much on the lead characters' disability rather than on his achievements. (One can imagine Ed's review: OK, I get it, he can only use his left foot.) But of course this analogy would only confuse those with Ed's worldview; for them, mental illness is a character-flaw and not a true disability. People with mental disabilities who overcome them should be celebrated in the same way people with physical disabilities who overcome them should be celebrated.

Ed also manages to get in a lick at Michael Moore in his "review." Funny how the wingnuts can always mention Moore in any review of a movie . . . .

I'm also surprised he didn't make some point about whatever political affiliation Alan Alda's character (a Senator) had in real life.


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