Reviewed Books & Films

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

What 2012 Films Would Win If Psychologists Gave Out Academy Awards?

APA The decision to add selected psychologically relevant films to PsycCRITIQUES (a practice introduced by E. G. Boring, the first editor of Contemporary Psychology) has been widely applauded, and many readers report they read the film reviews before turning to the more pedestrian reviews of books.

Some of the 2012 films that have been (or will be) reviewed in PsycCRITIQUES include Brave, Les Misérables, The Hunger Games, The Dark Knight Rises, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Amour, The Central Park Five, Silver Linings Playbook, and Lincoln.

If you were organizing awards for psychologically relevant films, which movies would you nominate?

Read the Reviews
ReviewA Ray of Hope in a World of Darkness
By Jeremy Clyman
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2012 Vol 57(35)
  • A review of the film The Dark Knight Rises
ReviewAppetite for Destruction
By Christopher J. Ferguson
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2012 Vol 57(23)
  • A review of the film The Hunger Games

ReviewFacing Our Monsters
By Jacqueline Remondet Wall
      and David G. Wall
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2012 Vol 57(45)
  • A review of the film Beasts of the Southern Wild
ReviewThe Amazing Spider-Man: Growth
Over Grief

      By Jeremy Clyman
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2012 Vol 57(36)
  • A review of the film The Amazing Spider-Man

ReviewSelves and Others
By Keith Oatley
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(3)
  • A review of the film Anna Karenina
ReviewComing Closer
By Keith Oatley
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(1)
  • A review of the film The Sessions

ReviewDraw and Release: Tension and Independence in the
Mother–Daughter Dyad

      By Leafar F. Espinoza
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(8)
  • A review of the film Brave
Review"Just Call Me Hitch . . .": The Enigma of Alfred Hitchcock
      By Marlene M. Eisenberg
      and Michael B. Blank
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(6)
  • A review of the film Hitchcock


Greg Zerovnik

Having Michelle Obama announce the best picture award was a mistake.

It cheapened the office of the Presidency, creating the impression that popular culture is the new standard for world leadership.

Frankly, as an American, I was embarrassed.

Dr. Judith Schlesinger

I agree that it was a mistake, but for a different reason: it implied White House approval of these particular descriptions of hostage rescue and terrorist death.

Much like the increasingly-wobbly distinction between public and private, the lines between celebrity and government seem to get blurrier all the time. I don't know about you, but that doesn't seem like progress to me!


Was it also embarrassing when Laura Bush did the same thing during the last presidency? How about when Ronald Reagan did it?

In terms of celebrities and politicians having lines blurred, that's going to keep happening as long as it keeps being positively reinforced at the ballot box.

June Wilson

The Invisible War (documentary) was nominated for best documentary. It is a heart-breaking yet honest film about rape in the military and then betrayal. The film highlights PTSD in survivors of rape as well as addresses the high percentage of women veterans who end up homeless

Amour- I was really hoping for a best picture but knew that was unlikely when FLOTUS appeared to announce the winner

I am sure most have seen Silver lining playbook by now

Paul Donnelly

I believe it is well within the purview of U.S. government officials to recognize and promote American industry.

Jim Korn

Whoa, Mr. Editor, your book reviews, at least those that lead the list every week, are usually stimulating, well written, but not "pedestrian." The books, I would argue, are much more important for psychology than "films."

Danny Wedding

I agree with Associate Editor Jim Korn . . . and I was merely "tossing a bone" to those readers who are film aficionados.

I LOVE our book reviews, and always start with them first!

Atlas Chan

I would like to nominate “Cloud Atlas”, a 2012 German drama and science fiction film, adapted from an acclaimed novel by David Mitchell. Sometimes I feel myself are looking into someone’s life when I watch a movie and “Cloud Atlas” allowed me to look into six different set of life at one time.
I have to watch the movie twice to have a primary understanding about what is going on in the stories. Although I have mentioned that there are six different sets of life in the movie but they were inter-connected. As a Chinese, I am familiar (but not fully understand) with the concept of “Karma” and “Samsara”(cycle of rebirth), I think the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer provided a good interpretation to the non-Chinese/Buddha audience.
We I look into the film it reminded me of a 2003 Hong Kong movie, “Running on Karma” by Jonnie To and Wei Ka Fi, starring Andy Lau.

Pauline Hall

I will vote for Life of Pi. More than a beautiful art piece, it’s a big spiritual epic.

Based on the novel of the same name by Yann Martel, Life of Pi is an adventurous story of the young boy Pi, who is cast away on the ocean with a vicious tiger.

Life of Pi is the journey searching for spiritual meaning and human existence. One has to squarely face one’s own self rather than anything else.The film signifies many Buddhist stories and symbols, for example, the Buddha-shaped floating island as Paramita (shore of liberation), the tiger as inner fear of self, the phosphorescent jellyfish at night and the sunrise seascape golden, horizonless sea as life journey…

I would like to share some scripts of the movie, it shows us what religion is.

Dad: You cannot follow three different religions at the same time Piscine.

Pi: Why not?

Dad: Because believing in everything at the same time is the same as not believing in anything at all. Listen, instead of leaping from one religion to the next, why not start with reason. In a few hundred years, science has taken us farther in understanding the universe than the religion has in 10,000.

Mom: Science can teach us more about what is out there, but not what is in here. (touches heart)

Dad: I much rather have you believe in something I don’t agree with than to accept everything blindly, and that begins with thinking rationally. You understand? Good.



I would like to nominate " Silver Linings Playbook". It is a modern take towards how society views people who suffer from mental illnesses. More Importantly, I believe this film exerts an unique twist in which it portrays 2 people ( Pat and Tiffany) trying to cope with their psychiatric knowledge and difficulties.

The movie has also done an job excellent in putting its audience in the shoes of the protagonists where you could actually feel the stress and the tension put upon them by society. Therefore, throughout the movie ( I believe) could be the most important message comes down to how Pat and Tiffany ( main protagonists) remain unfazed by the constant stigmatization they face from family members and society. It reflects how even family members would often try to contain the problem rather than showing the necessary support towards those who suffer from Mental illnesses.

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Editor of PsycCRITIQUES

Danny Wedding, PhD

Chair of Behavioral Sciences,
College of Medicine,
American University of Antigua

Associate Editors of PsycCRITIQUES

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