Review of Personalities in Split: Film Analysis
Split is a 2016 thriller / psychological horror film starring James McAvoy, Anya Taylor Joy, and Betty Buckler. The director and producer is M. Night Shyamalan. In this film, James McAvoy plays Kevin Wendell Crumb, a dissociative identity disorder, Anya Taylor-Joy plays Casey Cooke, a kidnapped girl, and Betty Buckley plays Karen Fletcher, Kevin’s psychiatrist. Finally, Haley Lu Richardson (Claire Benoit) and Jessica Sula (Marcia) play the kidnapped girl.
The short of summary of the film Kevin, who has 23 + 1 different characters, is suffering from dissociative identity disorders. He is being treated by Psychiatrist Fletcher. Psychiatrist Fletcher thinks that people with this disease have more than normal people do, rather than missing it from normal people.
She claims that a personality can change one’s chemistry. Furthermore, according to Psychiatrist Fletcher, two persons can be found in one body at a time.
Kevin’s most powerful characters are Dennis and Patricia, who often take over his mind and body. These characters outweigh the others, and the purpose of these two characters is to reveal the superhuman personality they call the Beast. To find out, Dennis kidnaps three girls one day and closes them under the animal care department where he works. One of these girls, Casey, is smarter than others and has suffered in the past. The girls both look for a way to get themselves out of the cellar and try to unravel Kevin’s different characters.
One of these personalities is Hedwig, who is 9 years old, the most docile than the others, and the girls use as a constant way out of there. For girls, however, this is not easy because personalities change constantly and Patricia and Dennis, the most dominant, do not allow it. Under Casey’s leadership, the girls must escape before Kevin can fully submit to the evil power within him.
Detailed description of the dissociative identity disorder character Kevin Wendell Crumb There are 23 different voices in his mind, in his movements, in his dreams of 23 people. These personalities have different images, different sexes, different professions, and ages. There are even differences in gestures and mimics from the sound tones. Moving from one personality to another is called ‘getting the light’. Four of Kevin’s 23 characters often receive light. The first is Barry’s personality. It represents its creative aspect. This character is an extrovert, self-confident, fashion lover intellectual gay. He often takes on this personality when he goes to psychiatrist Fletcher because he avoids showing his other dangerous personalities to his doctor. Barry’s character feels worthless and helpless when he talks about childhood traumas.
One of Kevin’s most dominant personalities is Dennis. Dennis is Kevin’s most dangerous personality, always dressed up and wearing glasses, which tends to harass girls. Dennis also suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder at an early age because of his mother’s pressure and attitudes. Dennis is obsessed with cleanliness and symmetry, constantly correcting the chocolate bowl, opening the door with the help of handkerchiefs is an indication that he has this disease. This personality is authoritarian, disciplined, and has strict rules. Psychiatrist Fletcher considers the emergence of this personality dangerous because he likes girls to dance naked. In contrast to his fragile personalities, Dennis is a personality that does not accept the oppression and social trauma that he has suffered so far and that he has emerged to prove himself.
Hedwig is a 9th-year-old child character in Kevin. It represents Kevin’s innocence. Unlike other personalities, Hedwig’s way of speaking is fun. He likes to dance. This character also works well with the girls and tries to help them. Girls try to collect clues by asking Hedwig questions. Girls can easily direct this character, but Hedwig is aware of the power of other personalities.
Patricia, another personality, is a character that reflects Kevin’s controlling and angry mother. She is a protective figure and a representation of care and affection he did not see when he was little. Patricia thinks more logically and takes the ropes with Dennis. In fact, on the one hand, these two characters govern other personalities. Dennis and Patricia’s main goal is to uncover Kevin’s 24th personality, Beast. Patricia, like Dennis, is forbidden by Fletcher.
The last personality that is thought to be revealed is called a Beast. Dennis and Patricia think of this personality as a creature with emotions and intuitions representing the end point of human evolution. The Beast personality thinks the end of normal humanity’s time. Beast is a tool to show how powerful Kevin’s other personalities can be. Beast has far superior properties than normal people. There is also a purpose for the kidnapping of the three girls so that they never suffer and are always safe. So according to the Beast personality, one exists as much as he suffers, they are developed and deserve to live. Beast sees Kevin’s other 23 personalities as potential, not as a mistake.
Kevin’s having dissociative identity disorders has been influenced by his witnessing experiences of childhood neglect and abuse which causing trauma to him. Dennis’s personality is a result of Kevin’s mother punishing him very violently when Kevin was only three years old. The station where the Beast personality first emerged and strengthened is a railway station. This is in fact a reason why Kevin’s father never took a train in his childhood. Sometimes there is the idea that another abuse case can lead to the emergence of suppressed personalities. After all the abuse she had when she was a little girl, two young girls came and took Kevin’s hand and touched her breast, then smiled and left her. Thus, Kevin’s abuse, harassment, ridicule, and being the child of an oppressive mother also play an important role in creating this disorder.
In addition, Kevin’s personalities act with the logic of ‘We are what we believe’. Psychiatrist Fletcher advocates that individuals with dissociative identity disorders change their brain chemistry with thoughts.
Diagnosis of Kevin using DSM IV system
The DSM-IV gives the following diagnostic criteria for Dissociative Identity Disorder:
Disruption of identity characterized by two or more distinct personality states, which may be described in some cultures as an experience of possession. The disruption of marked discontinuity in sense of self and sense of agency, accompanied by related alterations in affect, behaviour, consciousness, memory, perception, cognition, and/or sensory-motor functioning. These signs and symptoms may be observed by others or reported by the individual. Recurrent gaps in the recall of everyday events, important personal information, and/or traumatic events that are inconsistent with ordinary forgetting. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. The disturbance is not a normal part of a broadly accepted cultural or religious practice. The symptoms are not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance or another medical condition.
Kevin has 23 + 1 separate personality, which meets Criterion A. None of these personalities are alike, all of them have separate behaviours, gestures, genders, knowledge, and even chemistry, as mentioned above. Sometimes these changes in Kevin cause a disruption to a job that he will do. In addition, since Kevin’s Hedwig personality represents his innocence, he is helping the girls to be rescued, while a dominant figure like Dennis has tried to keep the girls there because the purpose is different, all of these situations meet Criteria A in DSM IV. Kevin’s traumatic events in childhood, such as the harassment incident, do not appear to be fully remembered by his psychiatrist when he tells him about this again in order to resolve things. Because, when told, he did not reflect his current feelings and he listened to the event as if it were mentioned about a normal event, ie the fact that he did not give the desired reactions and that gaps formed when he remembered the events he used to meet Criterion B. The girls initially thought of Kevin as having a normal personality, but later realized that when he wore a skirt and disguised as a Patricia, he said he was a 9-year-old boy in Hedwig’s personality, and when he saw Dennis as a full-bodied person, he noticed that he had more than one personality. In addition, although he always goes to his psychiatrist in the character of Barry, when he takes on another character, his psychiatrist’s direct understanding of this personality change indicates that these personality changes can be observed from outside, which meets Criterion A. Not all Kevin’s different personalities are innocent fragile. Some harm both society and itself. Criterion C meets the kidnapping of three girls to reveal the superhuman Beast personality and sometimes having problems that cannot survive. In addition, one of his personalities, the psychiatrist ‘We need you’ e-mail, and then did not remember this message. The killing of his psychiatrist by his own Beast personality, when he changes to another personality, not remembering that he killed him, and feeling extremely sad when he learns that he killed Fletcher himself. It meets Criterion B in both cases.
Tools used in the assessment of Dissociative Identity Disorder
Physical/neurological and mental examination, EEG should be performed. First, it is important to distinguish it from schizophrenia. The diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder is not an easy diagnosis. The patient must undergo a very detailed examination and be observed for a long time. If symptoms are present, a full medical history and physical examination can be performed. There are no laboratory tests to diagnose dissociative disorders medically. First of all, there should be nothing else that causes dissociative identity disorders, such as a medication or a condition that triggers this disorder. If no physical illness is found, the person may be referred to a psychiatrist, psychologist trained for diagnosis and treatment. Clinical interviews are conducted to fully understand one’s past experiences and current functioning. Some of the tests requested within the scope of these interviews are:
- Dissociative Experiences Scale: The Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES) based on self-report is fast and detailed. When the average is over 30 points, it suggests the possibility of a visible dissociative disorder. In patients with dissociative identity disorders, this is on average between 40-50.
- Structured Clinical Interview for Dissociative Disorders: The semi-structured SCID-D serves as a guideline for experienced interviewers and facilitates a definitive diagnosis, usually within 1 hour.
- Somatoform Dissociation Questionnaire (SDQ-20): Which looks mainly at physical symptoms or body experiences. The 20 item SDQ-20 evaluates the severity of somatoform dissociation.
- Diagnostic criteria in the DSM-5: Patients with dissociative identity disorders must meet the criteria in DSM 5.
These are self-reports. However, as these tools do not make a definite diagnosis.
Planning a Treatment Programme
The aim of the treatment is to relieve the symptoms and to provide a good basis for the relationship between the individual and the people around him. The treatment also aims to help the person express painful memories safely, to develop new coping and life skills, to repair the best functioning, and to develop relationships.
Different treatment methods can be used in the treatment of dissociative identity disorder. After the diagnosis is made, treatment methods are determined according to the type of disease and the condition of the patient. Treatment methods for dissociative identity personality disorders are as follows;
- The integrity of the alter personalities must be ensured and the integrity of the identity must be achieved again. In this film, psychiatrist Fletcher does not distinguish between Kevin’s 23 + 1 personality and looks after them as a whole.
- Psychotherapy: This is the main treatment of dissociative disorders. In fact, this is the way Kevin uses treatment. He is under observation by psychiatrist Fletcher and the therapy continues in a kind of mutual conversation. This treatment is a long process and is one of the most effective.
- Cognitive-behavioural therapy: This form of therapy is intended to prevent impulsive thoughts. According to Cognitive-behavioural therapy, these thoughts should be replaced with a more appropriate thought pattern.
- Meditation: It is a scientific mind-resting technique that has positive effects on body and mental health. This technique causes the person to overcome the dissociative symptoms and increases the awareness of the person.
- Clinical Hypnosis: A treatment that allows people to discover thoughts, emotions, and memories that they may have hidden from their conscious minds.
- Drugs: There is no drug treatment for dissociative disorders. However, people with dissociative disorders, especially those associated with depression or anxiety, may benefit from treatment with antidepressant or anti-anxiety drugs.
Also in the film, psychiatrist Fletcher specializes in this field, this is very important. The treatment process should be provided not by any therapist but by a person authorized by this field.
Comment and Recommendation
I think that this film is a good film even if it has some deficiencies to introduce what kind of personality disorder is. One of these shortcomings is that normally when a person changes from one personality to another, he or she will not be aware of his previous personality and actions. But in this film, with the exception of a few examples, Kevin is aware of what his personalities are doing and tries to uncover the Beast, which he thinks of as a superhuman personality for a common purpose. Other than that, the film is beautiful and immersive for those interested in this disorder.