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Enneagram Movie Review: Gone With the Wind

Updated on November 2, 2010

Hollywood has always provided us with strongly-typed characterizations. It helps to convince the viewer that these are real people up on the screen, with real problems and real dreams and desires.

While actors portray all types, casting directors often try to match the actor’s type to the role’s type, and succeed often enough.

Some movies are a feast of types and behaviors. In a well-written screenplay, the characters and their motivations are synchronized in a believable way. In a poorly-written screenplay, the characters may seem to be of different types at different times, act in unrealistic ways, and otherwise seem unbelievable. If the type portrayed by the actor is far from the actor’s own type, he or she may have difficulty assuming the other type’s viewpoint.

All in all, watching movies critically is one of the best ways to build a kind of mental database about type behavior and interaction. If you know the type of a certain actor, you can track him or her through different roles and assess their skill and versatility.

The following examples were used because they have both clearly marked types and enough different actors to show interactions between types in a realistic way.

Gone With the Wind

I’ve mentioned this classic earlier, but it deserves it. Vivien Leigh, a 2/3 herself, portrays a heroine close to the centerline between 2 and 3. Some group her with the Threes, based on her energy to succeed in the reconstruction days, but my assessment, because of her self-deception about her non-affair with Ashley Wilkes, is that she is a 2/3.

Ashley is type 9/1, an easygoing cavalier who reluctantly goes off to war, and then returns home to reminisce about the happy days before the conflict when the slaves sang while they labored and the belles drifted by in graceful and beautiful costumes. Ashley backs away from confrontation after confrontation, claiming that he doesn’t have the energy to act. Leslie Howard was probably a 1/9.

Melanie Hamilton is a 2/1, the Good Girl to play against Scarlett O’Hara’s 2/3 Bad Girl. Melanie is a saccharine saint who finds a way to excuse any behavior and give all and sundry the benefit of the doubt. As Scarlett’s characterization goes over the top to portray her as a driven seductress (whom medics of the deay would probably have diagnosed as having a “wandering uterus”), Melanie’s characterization likewise goes to unrealistic lengths to show her without any negativity whatever and an endless supply of sympathy. Olivia de Havilland is probably a 3/2 or a 2/3.

Rhett Butler is one of the finest portraits of type 7/8 ever filmed. Since this is Clark Gable’s own type, it’s no wonder that once the movie project was announced, the public clamored that they could not imagine anybody else in the role. A (relatively) healthy Seven looks for more than just raw sensation; Rhett announces that after leaving Scarlett for the last time that he will go in search of “charm and grace” to see if any is in evidence after the war and reconstruction. The violent scenes with Scarlett toward the end of the movie retain their bite after repeated viewings because Gable was able to draw on his Eight side to give the drama depth.

Though her role is much smaller than the others, Belle Watling is the madame of a bordello in town and the designated Four. She calls attention to her type by her constant deprecating references to herself and her profession, but the clincher is her look of sadness and resignation after Rhett explains his problems with Scarlett to her, then tells her what a good person she is and leaves.

Mammy, who has more sense than the rest of the characters put together, is a 2/1 whose responsibility and ethics drags the whole zoo along in her wake. She understands that it is her lot in life to manage the spoiled children of the late southern aristocracy, and so she does, without complaint.


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