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Phantom Of The Opera: A Psychological Approach

Just watched the movie Phantom Of The Opera > with Emmy Rossum as the star.

Excellent movie, easily a 9 out of 10 possible, although personally I like the first part best. The song, the scenography... it's all absolutely amazing.

The Phantom, of course, is a man who, for most of his life, had to live with a seriously disfigured face and who endured endless abuse and exploitation as a child. Driven to murder by hatred, he seeks refuge in the basement of the opera and in there develops a serious psychological complex.

When he finds Christine, he takes her in and teaches her singing. She becomes his tool through which he can express the gifts that are resident within him -- gifts of architecture, composition and songwriting that has been dormant and covered beneath years of abusive behavior.

It of course turns into love - or rather a typical distortion of love with deep childhood needs that have gone unchecked for many, many years and finally turns to a flame of distorted passion, threatening his own psyche and the lives of everyone around him. Even Christine's repulsion towards him - not at his face, which is how he interprets it, but at his hatred towards the world - doesn't move him as love gives way to a flaming, unquenching desire. In projecting his problems onto those around him, she unwillingly has to play the part of his savior; and by denying him that part, she becomes the very one that can make or break his eternal happiness.

In the end, the matter is resolved when Christine finally shows him a sample of affection which is able to penetrate the deep, dark complexes of his soul and he retreats into darkness and slips away. Elvis has left the building.

Sometimes I think it would have been easier if I hadn't read up so much on psychology. The option of sitting back and judging people by the "good/bad character" seems unavailable to me as I'm forced to follow this exploited child in the development of his trauma and defenses; and instead of leaving me with a feeling of "good show, everyone", it leaves me irate and steaming at the inadequacies of the social services of 1870's France.

Troublesome; because in the end, the Phantom of the Opera was just a little boy, wanting to be loved.


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