“As Good As It Gets”
November 14, 2007
The movie that I choose to watch was “As Good as it Gets” by James L. Brooks. The character that I will be discussing is Melvin Udall played by Jack Nicholson. Melvin Udall is a novelist from New York that is working on another one of his books. To his readers, Udall may seem to be a normal person however; he is struggling to do everything right in his life. He has the symptoms of a person dealing with obsessive-compulsive disorder. This is exemplified by his obsession with developing a loving relationship. He has not found love of his own, and that is why he is so obsessed with eating at the same restaurant in the same seat with the same waitress because this is the only steady interaction he has with another person. When the waitress is not at work one day it causes Udall to realize that he has a problem and goes to visit his therapist but since he neglected to schedule an appointment he is turned away which causes more anxiety. With the anxiety of not having his usually scheduled meal at the restaurant, he finds out where the waitress lives to go talk to her and tell her how she messed up his day. When Udall arrives at the waitresses home, Udall find out that the reason Carol was not at work is because her son suffers from a sever case of asthma that causes him to be really sickly. Though Udall had at one point made rude comments about Carol’s son’s health he later pays for the young boy to be seen by a good doctor, which happens to be his publisher’s husband. The only stipulation is that Carol return to work in order for the medical bills to be paid. Paying the medical bills is a nice gesture to Carol and she thanks Udall but he feels that her thank you letter is unnecessary; because it was something he had to do for him to have his regular meal. In another part of the movie when some strangers assault Udall’s neighbor, Simon, Udall is asked by Simon’s art manager to take Simon to Baltimore to make up with his parents in order to get some money. Udall decides that in order for him to help his neighbor’s relationship with his parents, the only way he will travel is if Carol accompanies him because she is the only thing that makes his life normal. With a person who has OCD they do not only have an obsession but also compulsions. Udall has many examples of compulsions throughout the movie that are caused by his need to try to make things right. His compulsions are acted out through out the movie in many different situations. The first example of his compulsions is shown in one of the opening scenes when he is washing his hands in really hot water. Then after all sides of the bar of soap touched his hands he threw it in the trash and took out another bar of soap to do the same thing over again. He also ends up taking care of Simon’s dog and in order for him to touch the dog he always wears plastic gloves and even oven mitts at one point in the movie. When visiting the restaurant he goes to for breakfast everyday, he always brings his own plastic wear for the fear that the silver ware is dirty. And while on the trip to Baltimore he will not borrow the crab restaurants suit jacket and tie to gain entrance, instead he goes to a store to buy his own.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (Principal Diagnosis)
Lives alone and has a problem with social support and forming meaningful relationships AXIS 5
Since Melvin Udall does have some other characteristics that support other disorders, I originally thought that he would be diagnosed with several other things. First, I thought he had Obsessive Compulsive Personality disorder. I thought this because of his need to play close attention to details and order. In the movie you get plenty of snap shots of his shelf with tapes that are neatly in order along with his records lined up in a row. His printer paper is neatly stacked and color coordinated...
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