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Miller, C.W. Kebejian, L. Ross, D.R. (2017). The Flaw in the Diamond: Paranoid-Schizoid Struggles in The Counselor. Free Associations, 18(1):70-95.

(2017). Free Associations, 18(1):70-95

The Flaw in the Diamond: Paranoid-Schizoid Struggles in The Counselor

Christopher W T Miller, Lisa Kebejian and Donald R Ross

The Counselor (2013) tells the story of a young, newly engaged lawyer, addressed as The Counselor throughout the film, who enters a cocaine deal along the Texas-Mexico border. Immersing himself in the ruthless world of the cartel with haste and minimal understanding, The Counselor finds himself brutally ill-prepared as his idealized fiancée is kidnapped and his world begins to crumble. Malkina is the sexually powerful mastermind behind the plan that dismantles the drug deal and leads to the collapse of The Counselor's world. Both characters grapple at the interface of Melanie Klein's paranoid-schizoid and depressive positions. A Kleinian perspective informs a number of part-object struggles within the film, including idealization and devaluation, denial and projection, envy and spoiling of the good object, and manic defenses of omnipotence and omniscience, among others. This paper presents a Kleinian analysis of the two main characters of the film, The Counselor and Malkina, and their difficulties in achieving whole object representations and more advanced depressive experiences of guilt, mourning, reparation, and love.

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