Sunday, May 11, 2014

At the Tribeca Film Festival I went to see "Gabriel", a film by Lou Howe and starring Rory Culkin. Rory Culkin played a young man diagnosed as schizophrenic who believes he is married to a young woman, played by Emily Meade, and that she loves him. **Spoiler alert!**: at the end of the movie, he stealthily waits till her father leaves the house, enters her room, then threatens her father with a knife when he returns home.  She talks her father into letting her and Gabriel take a walk to the beach, where she tells him she doesn't love him.  As the movie ends, she hugs him as police approach in the background.

The screening of the movie that I attended was sponsored by the Child Mind Institute of New York.  Its Director, Harold Koplowicz, interviewed Lou Howe and Rory Culkin following the screening.  Koplowicz began by saying something to the effect that when there is a medical illness, the doctor, the patient, and the patient's family are all on the same team against the illness.  But when there is mental illness, the patient sides with the illness.  I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  That means that its doctor vs. patient!

With that introduction, he turned to Rory Culkin, sitting there with below-shoulder length hair and an uneasy manner and asked him what he learned playing the part of Gabriel.  Culkin squirmed and shifted in his seat and finally said he didn't know what to say.  Koplowicz didn't ask him another question for quite some time.

Later in the evening, there was some discussion of what might happen to Gabriel after the movie ended. He would be arrested, hospitalized if he were lucky enough not to be imprisoned.  The generally gloomy if not alarmist speculations about Gabriel's future was suddenly interrupted by Culkin who said he thought that Gabriel's life was about to begin: he had gotten what he needed, the truth.  The young woman's telling him that she didn't love him was just what he needed.  Truth, not cure, is what I think the doctor should order.