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Fries, M.E. (1949). 'The Feeling of Rejection'. Psychoanal Q., 18:118-120.

(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:118-120

'The Feeling of Rejection'

Review by:
Margaret E. Fries

Produced by The National Film Board of Canada.

This is a welcome film for teaching purposes, for it shows the continuity in the events of the life of a psychoneurotic starting with approximately the third year of life and extending to the twenty-third year.

The medium of film can, of course, present only overt behavior and requires verbal commentaries to explain the motivations. This has been handled by having the psychiatrist comment on the significance of the different sequences.

With certain exceptions the interpretations are on a superficial level, giving no insight into unconscious motivations or the dynamics of the character structure of the patient. This is especially regrettable since the opportunity to make a superb psychoanalytic presentation was missed; but the acting, gestures, tone of voice, are sensitively executed. The film can nevertheless be used with great advantage by any instructor who is psychoanalytically oriented and can give the deeper interpretations.

However, this film and others similar raise the question as to what is their effect on the public. It is this viewer's impression that it might even be harmful to show the film indiscriminately as it may increase anxiety and give an erroneous impression of the development of a psychoneurosis.

Briefly, the film portrays the patient, Margaret, at the age of twenty-three, consulting a psychiatrist because of her inability to cope with her daily problems. Throughout, the physician interprets her depressive, masochistic character as a consequence of being rejected. This feeling of rejection originated at three years of age and thereafter many events increased this feeling. This over-simplification, attributing a complex personality structure to one etiological factor, is very misleading; furthermore, by not portraying why Margaret felt rejected at three years of age, the National Film Board of Canada has circumvented the dynamics of the case.

It is easy for any psychoanalytically oriented viewer to reconstruct some of the many determinants that contributed to this feeling.

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