Identification of One’s Self
In the opening lines of Fred Schepisi’s 1993 film, “Six Degrees of Separation”, Ouisa Kittredge states, “I read somewhere that everybody on this planet is separated by only six other people. Six degrees of separation.” This refers to the theory that each person is separated from another person by no more than six people. This theory will turn out to play a major role in the plot of the film. The entertaining and flashy movie was filled with “chaos and control”, which is respectively referred to Wassily Kandinsky’s paintings, “Black Lines” and “Several Circles”. The chaos begins with Ouisa and Flan Kittredge, two New York City socialites, who live in a lavish Fifth Avenue apartment, welcome a young African American man named Paul, who claims to be Sidney Poitier’s son, into their apartment. Little do the Kittredges know, Paul will eventually contribute to the theory that everyone is separated by only six other people. New, unusual experiences can instantly change one’s self and in return, prompt the person of re-evaluating their life and their identity that separated them from all other’s.
When the ambiance-filled movie begins, the audience instantly sees the production design that gave the film a sophisticated look. The Kittredges are soaked up in their social life and do not realize that their life that many dream of could change in an instant. The couple is getting ready to have a business dinner with Geoffrey Miller, a South African client. Their life begins to change when an injured, desperate visitor shows up at their door. The uninvited guest is Paul, who claims he is friends with the Kittredges’ children, who attend Ivy League schools. The Kittredges are unaware of the material that Paul has studied in the past months, for instance: how to pronounce “a bottle of beer”, as well as an in depth summary of “The Catcher in the Rye”. The potential he has to make them question their identities, as well as his, comes as a shock. After a night of Paul proving to be an outstanding chef with an extremely charming personality, the couple allows him to stay overnight and gladly offer cash to help him out. Paul betrays the couple in their own home by allowing a male prostitute and leads the couple to believe that he is not who he claims to be. As they thoroughly re-evaluate their life, they begin to investigate the life of Paul and find the hidden truth about the imposter.
Throughout the movie, the audience watches Paul become increasingly absorbed by the role he is trying to persuade the Kittredges and Carlisles with. He unfortunately becomes the person he claims to be. After each person falls into his trap of lies, Paul becomes too self-possessed with the imaginary lifestyle that he was taught to become adapted to. He causes an unfortunate suicide in New York City, leaving the victim’s girlfriend filled with anger and hatred towards Paul. Paul begins to notice and feel the impact that he left on these six people and their families. The children of the Kittredges and the Carlisles were shocked when they discovered their parent’s actions by allowing a gay con artist into their home. From the beginning of the movie, the audience got a first hand look at the background that these two families lived. They were placed in different scenes, like a prestigious art museum, fancy wedding reception, and five star restaurants. From looking at the families in these settings, the audience perceived them as stuck up and exclusive. They believed the last thing that their parent’s would take part in was opening their home to strangers. One can think they know a person perfectly, but there is always a chance that the person can turn out to be the complete opposite. As the Kittredges begin to help the local police track down Paul, Ouisa begins to feel sorry for him and wants to help him out. The audience begins to see a shift in her character. In the beginning of the film, she...
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