Tuesday, November 29, 2011

OCD Films Part 1: As Good As It Gets

Soap is a short film about a man (Tony) who suffers from an Obsessive Compulsive need to wash his hands every hour on the hour.

When writing the script I conscious stayed away from movies with characters suffering from any kind of OCD. But now that the script is dusted and we are in pre-production I'm going to look at a series of well-know (some not so much) and well-liked (some not so much) movies and the characters in question. I'm going to start off with the obvious one: Academy Award winning "As good as it gets".

Jack Nicholson stars as Melvin Udall a misanthropic novelist who also suffers from OCD. His neighbours don't like him and he obviously doesn't like them but when a gay artist (Greg Kinnear) in the building is assaulted, Melvin is forced to take care of his dog. Melvin eventually develops a bond with the dog and can't cope when he has to return it. Melvin sits at the same restaurant for breakfast at the same table at the same time every day. Carol (Helen Hunt) is the only waitress that can put up with his often rude and weird behaviour and they strike up a friendship. Due to the distress of giving back the dog Melvin rushes to a psychiatrist but is throw out because he doesn't have an appointment. On his way out, Melvin turns to the other patients in the waiting room and says, "What if this is as good as it gets?"

Melvin's life is again thrown in turmoil when Carol decides to get a job closer to Brooklyn so she can spend more time with her acutely asthmatic son. Unable to adjust to another waitress, Melvin arranges to pay for her son's medical expenses. Carol thinks that Melvin will expect a little something something in return for the money and goes to his apartment in the middle of the night to tell him that she will not sleep with him.

The crux of this story is Melvin's afflictions and they they rule his life and relationships. Melvin eventually lets Carol know of his feelings toward her and she loves him for who he is. The film ends with Melvin and Carol taking a walk together to buy fresh rolls at the corner bakery.

All work and no soap makes Jack a dirty boy!

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