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Social Sciences
Movie Review
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The Butcher Boy by Neil Jordan (Movie Review Sample)


Review of the movie The Butcher Boy by Neil Jordan


Scholarly Movie Review: The Butcher Boy by Neil Jordan
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1. Introduction
Neil Jordan’s film The Butcher Boy is a film that captures the story of a dysfunctional family that lacks direction because the parents are not able to provide guidance and support to their son Francie. The 1997 film presents the story of the Brady’s family and neighbors who face the consequences of a disoriented young boy Francie. The film starts on a typical situation where Francie enjoys living playing around with his best friend Joe. Francie is a young boy who likes to fantasize with television and comic book characters. This tranquility is different in Francie’s home where his father is an ill tempered and alcoholic man. The mother is also not very stable mentally and suffers a nervous breakdown. The unfavorable social environment at his home makes Francie to spend most of his time talking and playing with his best friend Joe.
The situation for Francie worsens because of several social factors that affect him directly. First, his mentally unstable mother commits suicide, and he lives with a nasty neighbor who keeps insulting the family. Francie’s attempt to prank the rival neighbor makes him be admitted to a reform school. In the reform school, a priest sexually molests Francie, which also contributes to his psychological problems. Upon his return from the reform school, Francie finds his best friend Joe is admitted in a boarding school. This makes him feel bad because he now does not have someone to keep him company. Francie mental health gradually become worse as he starts top become extremely violent to the point of committing murder. He starts hallucinating with images of Virgin Mary and his job as an assistant butcher seems to make him more violent.
The movie is set in the early 1960 in Dublin. The film was shot in Ireland and much of the activities that took place represent the typical Irish life and most parts of Europe during that time. The European countries were still on the pathway of recovery from the effect of the Second World War. Poverty was a problem in most homes especially if the parents lacked a stable income. The principal characters of the film the film include Francie, his parents Mr. Brady and Mrs. Brady, Francie’s best friend Joe, the neighbor Mrs. Nugent and her son Phillip, Father Sullivan and the Sergeant. The main plot revolves around Francie who is the protagonist and the Nugent family is the antagonists.
2. Diagnosis
The film The Butcher Boy can be described as a psychological drama. This is because of the manner it presents the underlying psychological challenges facing the characters. The main character Francie is facing serious psychological problems that affect his interaction with the society. The film traces the psychological problems facing Francie to his family as well as his psychosocial upbringing. The behaviors of Francie do not only indicate a social deviance behavior but an individual with a mental problem. The following behaviors in the film provide evidence of a mental condition diagnosis on the main character Francie.
From the Francie was a young boy he had deep imagination about television characters, comic book characters and aliens. This behavior indicates that Francie was seeking ways to escape from reality. The identification with aliens and fictional characters was a subconscious way Francie’s mind running away from the depressing environment at his home. When Francie imagined being the heroic characters, he saw on TV and read on comic books it was a way of identifying with a powerful being than his depressing situation.
The second behavior Francie exhibits to indicate that he is not mentally sound is the extreme pranks he makes on Mrs. Nugent. Philip Nugent developed a personal conflict with Francie. The conflict is an extension of the conflict Mts. Nugent had with the Brady’s family whom, she believed to be like “Pigs.” Francie did not feel good because of the manner the Nugent was treating his family. He decided to punish them with a prank which was life threatening to Mrs. Nugent. This prank later develops to violence directed at Mrs. Nugent and other members of the society. From this behavior, it seems that Francie wants to displace his anger to a particular person. He loves his parents, but he does not like what they have put him through since he was a young boy. He vents the anger through his violent pranks that eventually kills Mrs. Nugent.
The third behavior that shows that Francie has a mental problem is the hallucination incidences he experienced. Sometimes Francie imagined that he was with the Virgin Mary. This is an indication that his mind was not okay. Hallucination is one of the symptoms of mental illness. The fact that a priest molested Francie when he was a boy could be a factor why he is seeing the Virgin Mary. He may be seeking the solace of religion to help him out of his frustrations in life.
Francie needs to go through clinical psychological assessments that would ascertain his mental condition. The first step in the evaluation procedure is to take his through a series of interviews, which would help understand his mental condition. The interview would seek to understand his psychological history since he was a small boy. It will help to understand how he reacted to various issues in his life that disturbed him psychologically. The interviews would also assess Francie's mental stability based on the manner he answers questions and his body language.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Diso...
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