, Research Paper
A Freudian View of Cruel Intentions
In a movie like Cruel Intentions which is filled with sex and sexual relations between its characters, a man such as Sigmund Freud would relish in the realization that the characters have about their own sexuality. The two main characters Sidney and Sebastian begin the movie with little more than a basic yearning to fulfill the desires of their ID. Both characters express overtly sexual behavior and desires to be at the top of the social class through whatever means necessary. The lack of parental influence exhibited in the movie about high school students explains why the two characters have minimal development in their egos. The actions of Sidney, in particular, exemplify the ID characteristics. When a man scorns Sidney she immediately devises a plan for revenge that will give her satisfaction by causing pain to others. These apparent actions of the ID are also tied in with actions of the superego. Sidney attempts to take actions to fulfill the desires of her ID. Freud states these as actions of the superego. Sidney s casual use of illicit drugs is another example of her ID being the ruling system of her personality.
Sebastian begins the movie using predominately his ID and evolves to gradually utilize a healthy combination of his ego and superego as well. Throughout the movie Sebastian s realization of his true feelings and beliefs allow him to successfully utilize the potential of his ego and superego while minimizing the actions he takes in order to fulfill the needs of his ID. Unfortunately in the movie Sebastian dies shortly after realizing the full potential of his psyche to balance each different facet of Freud s neurology.
Sebastian relates to his stepsister, Sidney, by initially expressing a passionate desire for the lustful conquest of her body. When Sebastian begins to have feelings for another individual, he sees that the lustful desires for his forbidden stepsister are no longer present, and they were simply the need to satisfy his animalistic ID yearnings.
Sidney views Sebastian as an equal in the beginning of the movie because of his efforts to relentlessly place himself above the others in his social group. Both characters had absolutely no problem in doing any deed, which would be viewed by the ego and superego to be wrong, that would heighten their perceived image. Sidney stops at nothing, and no one, in her efforts to feel superior including the person she sees as her closest intellectual partner. Sebastian eventually makes his way through a difficult battle within himself before he is able to act on the part of his ego. His eventual quest for the things that are true to his heart are clear actions of his superego. Sidney s willingness to destroy her closest confidant is yet another example of how her ID is the over-riding system in her personality.
The other characters in the movie are, for the most part, only present in order to cause changes in the personalities of the main characters. The major supporting part of the character who late becomes Sebastian s girlfriend is an example of a strong presence of ego which evolves into the superego as the movie continues on. This strong ego character has a major part in the role of helping Sebastian s character evolve into his personality. Sebastian s further development into his superego is brought on by the confrontation that he has with Sidney. It is his disgust and distrust with Sidney for hurting him that causes him to look further into himself and change his own personality.
In conclusion at the onset of the movie the two main characters seem to be products of their own Ids and little more. The movie shows the rapid progression of their personalities. This rapid change is linked to the emotional pain that occurs to each character all through the movie. On the surface the characters in this movie appear to be playing in-depth mind games with one another. Upon closer evaluation from a psychoanalytical stance it becomes apparent that all of the characters are merely moving through typical developmental stages, each being at different points in their own personality development. The intelligence and intricity of these character s actions are not valid showcases for their personality traits.