The half hour short film Psychoanalysis Changed My Life is a pleasant, thoughtful, well-acted affair that held my interest throughout. On the other hand, in the end it felt a little light to me, like I had had some vague sense that there was something more important building and there’d be more of a payoff then there turns out to be.
Almost the entire film takes place between just two characters: an elderly psychoanalyst immigrant from Russia, and her female middle aged college professor patient. They are first shown meeting in the analyst’s office, then as a more personal relationship develops, they meet in the home of the analyst and her husband.
The primary story is straightforward and easy enough to follow, but there are various elements in the film that I’m sure I didn’t fully grasp the significance of. Certain symbolic items, certain parallels between their lives, etc. Some of those things, some of those connections I picked up on, but not all.
As it turns out, a lot of their interaction shapes the patient in such a way as to fit the interests of the analyst. Most of my thoughts about the film and my questions have to do with that core fact.
To what extent is this outcome intentional on the part of the analyst, and to what extent is it serendipity? (Largely the former, I have to think.) Was there some point at which the analyst made a conscious decision to steer things in that direction, and if so, when did this occur? Has the analyst behaved unethically in manipulating things as she apparently has? Are the ethical ramifications of her doing so affected by whether the intent and the outcome were to the benefit of the patient (as they arguably were)?
If I were in the position of the patient, I would probably feel more resentment toward the analyst, especially the more I inferred that her behavior had been consciously manipulative (benevolent or not). I suspect I’m more of a stickler for certain things like that than most people however, and that it would be more common to say that if her behavior benefitted both of them, then what’s the problem?
So I guess the development of the story and the ending did give me a decent amount to think about. I’m not sure why I was left with the feeling that there should have been more to this film.