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Sybil Movie Review 1976~Some insights to personality disorder and treatment

Updated on August 7, 2011

What to say about Sybil?

There's a lot to say about this movie. But most of all it was strange. The events that led up to Sybil's multiple personality disorder and the treatment were not pleasant, but I had to see it as I'd heard so much about it, it's one of those movies you have to see like Psycho or the Exorcist.

During the movie from middle towards the end, I kept saying to myself, "Hurry up and end!" Everyone gets the gist of the movie, that this young woman begins seeing a psychiatrist, not one who prescribes medication, but an analytical one who provides talk therapy and even hypnotism. This doctor, a woman, learns of about a dozen personalities in Sybil which have developed to "keep her together".

Dr. Warren learns through these personalities that Sybil had an extremely torturous and abusive childhood, something I don't think any of us would wish on anyone. Through a "long" time of therapy, a 'miracle' happens and Sybil is cured. I was worried about the ending because a friend said, "Ha, I won't tell you the end." Well, this worried me, as I am hoping to see a good result of all this therapy, and over 2 hours of watching it to say the least!! I was imagining a horrible, bloody ending, but it is not. Thank goodness :)

Friends over the years told me this movie was frightening, scary, and of course it is a drama. Yes, the movie has dramatic music, and shows mean things happening to a girl, but the main focus is on the therapy between the patient, Sybil, and Dr. Warren.

I would reccommend this to anyone in psychiatry, or any patient, for it really proves how psychotherapy can solve a "mental illness" and how medications, according to Dr. Peter Breggin, renowned psychiatrist, are in fact a last resort, or should be.

This movie is very educational to those sick and those not. It is a true story and beautifully acted out by Sally Field~such an amazing performance that I've never seen before~true talent and hard work that won her an Emmy.

This movie is a great insight to the mental health field and how doctors used to care and now just give out pills. It shows the endurance and willingness of the patient and the kindness and endurance and love of the doctor which = the perfect recipe for wellness. Sybil is happy now, the end of the movie says. It's been 34 years since it came out in 1976. 4 stars for excellent.


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    • schoolgirlforreal profile imageAUTHOR

      schoolgirlforreal 

      7 years ago

      @K9

      Yes it is unsettling but has happy ending. Glad you liked my review!

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 

      7 years ago from Northern, California

      Sybil is an uncanny walk through the mind of a very sick yet endearing woman. I agree with your comment that Dr's tend to dish out meds and this way they don't have to get as deeply involved in the life of those who are ill. Medicine is nothing like it should be these day's. Nice review; if I hadn't already watched the movie, i would certainly watch it after eading your work. Good job!

      K9

    • schoolgirlforreal profile imageAUTHOR

      schoolgirlforreal 

      7 years ago

      @Denise Handlon

      thankyou. You understand so well :)

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Schoolgirl-I work with the mentally ill and you are absolutely correct re: family support. It is what makes the difference, not just for the M.I. but for all mankind. Humans need each other for the support and love, compassion and kindness. For the mentally ill, it is even more important b/c most people avoid interacting with someone who is a bit odd or different in some way. And, frankly, there are cases where damage and emotional destruction has occurred between parties.

      It is a fascinating world, isn't it?

    • schoolgirlforreal profile imageAUTHOR

      schoolgirlforreal 

      7 years ago

      Thankyou MPG Narratives

      This was definitely hard to watch for me, it is very dramatatic and sad too. My instinct is her mother was very disturbed but you must have picked up on that. The abuse was horrific I agree....You have a point there that therapists may not have time to do talk therapy or rather psychotherapy on everyone. Sad truth I guess, maybe only the rich can afford, I don't know. But love certainly goes a long way- from family and friends. I've noticed the most happy "mentally ill people" have support from friend and family and I know that goes with healthy people too.

      What a difference love makes even with our pets.

      thanks so much :)

    • schoolgirlforreal profile imageAUTHOR

      schoolgirlforreal 

      7 years ago

      Thanks Denise! Thanks for commenting :) Yes, psychosis is a mystery at times, I think having multiple personalites may be considered psychosis, especially during the changes from one to another as sczophrenics have psychosis in halluciantions- which can be not only auditory but tactile and smell too. This movie enlightened me to the fact that probably any disorder can be cured through good therapy, in the movie it took 11years...But what a break though- where some people would " lock her away for life." So there is hope but we need good doctors.

      I'm glad you enjoyed this review....and happy to bring it back "into the limelight".

      Thanks very much for your feedback! Most appreciated :-)

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Marie Giunta 

      7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      I remember watching Sybil years ago and being horrified at what happened to her. How could a Mother be so cruel. You are right in saying the therapy is the focus and so it should be in such a case. It is a pity that drugs are pushed more so nowadays, but then with our hectic lifestyles do the therapists have a choice. Great review, might watch is again soon.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hey you...great job on the review. Psychosis is really both sad and fascinating. I've always been curious as to why one person will 'go off the deep end' and another won;t. Certainly, severe cases of abuse warrant a defense system that others do not understand. Thanks for bringing this great movie back into the limelight.

    • schoolgirlforreal profile imageAUTHOR

      schoolgirlforreal 

      7 years ago

      rdland05, cool, I hope you get something useful from it :)

    • rdlang05 profile image

      R D Langr 

      7 years ago from Minnesota

      SGFR,

      I've never seen this movie, but, being a psych student I probably should. Maybe I'll check it out now!

    • schoolgirlforreal profile imageAUTHOR

      schoolgirlforreal 

      7 years ago

      @kashmir56

      Thank you very much for commenting. It was a bit unsettling to watch! But a good movie :) Many lessons to learn.

      @crazybeanrider

      Thankyou for this. I am trying to look into ways of getting off meds safely, and there are ads on this page that allude to that. Keep me informed if you have any success. Take care

    • crazybeanrider profile image

      Boo McCourt 

      7 years ago from Washington MI

      Great movie, but so so sad. It makes one wonder how a person can even with the "protection" of all the personalities live through that horror. It is to bad therapy now consists of a 50 minute gabfest more or less, and a prescription on the way out. Good read.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great job,i remember this movie Sally Field was great in the movie. I like the way you look on the therapy side of it.

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