Split (2017)

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Starring: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula

Plot: Three girls are kidnapped by a man who suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). The girls must escape before the 24th personality manifests.

Rating: 5/10

Overall: So, before I start, I think I need to disclose two things. One, I like M. Night Shyamalan despite most people’s mixed opinions of him. I can’t say he’s “amazing” by any means, but I don’t hate his films. Second, I’m pursuing a master’s degree in psychology, so my review is a little biased.

I gave this film a 50/50 review because while I think it had a solid foundation, the “fantasy” aspect of it really irked me. I wouldn’t say the ending was exactly a “twist” as everyone is calling it, but it definitely leaves it open-ended (you know, in case they want to do a sequel – which I really hope they don’t!). I like the character development of the main character, Kevin (*SPOILER* I refer to him as the host since the actual character doesn’t really emerge throughout the film) – but I think the scenes that show his “development” is out of order. The snippets from his past and his therapy sessions in present all foreshadow what’s going to happen and why, but the way it’s all sequenced didn’t really pull me through. The film’s climax is revolved around this “beast” and as I’m sure a majority of other reviews are addressing the issue of the physical aspect being falsely portrayed. From a psychology standpoint, this truly irked me. I’m not a fan for science fictional aspects – especially in film – and the fact that it’s in the mental health spectrum irks me even more. I not only think it falsely portrays people with dissociative identity disorder, but mental illness as a whole. I think it reinforces the fear and negative stigma associated with those suffering from a mental illness. So, with all of that being said, I think if you’re just an “ordinary” moviegoer, you will enjoy this film. If you have any background in psychology or are an advocate of mental illness, I highly recommend NOT seeing it.

One last comment: people are raving that this film is M. Night’s “comeback” film – some even paralleling it to the success of The Sixth Sense….it’s not (in my opinion). Not even close. I think it was a great effort, but it fell very short in execution.

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