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It’s very hard to distinguish when this movie will end. It’s almost misleading in a sense. It was incredible how this film explored new ramifications of damage that had been rocked by this distorted relationship.

Someone could perceive this film as a love triangle. This woman Stella, can’t choose between her husband and a psychotic lover. But deeper and not too recessive is a different story or point of view so to speak regarding the real origin of insanity. So many angles to choose from and many can be deemed obvious but certainly are not. The “poor� husband, Max Raphael (Hugh Bonneville) who is humiliated by his wife, almost appears victim to the awful circumstances. But really is a bit touched as well.

This therapist was not only treating the insane but was insane himself; insane with the notion that he could become a great successor and rule over this great psychotic land. No real person in their right mind believes a mental institution psychiatrist is a celebrity? Or the mind manipulator Dr. Peter Cleave (Ian McKellen) driven by reign and authority; over the staff that was even above him and the patients. In his mind, he was in control of everything and everyone. Edgar Stark (Marton Csokas) the great illusionist. The audience was immediately made aware of his violent past and potential eruption. But still wanted to feel sorry for him; understand for him; and show compassion. Stella Raphael (Natasha Richardson) seems driven by horny. She appears tramp like.
At first one is unaware that she is stricken. Forbidden. In those times, woman was supposed to be seen and not heard. This was no “out� for Stella Raphael. Which living on the asylum grounds made it even more sadistic and gave an even more meaning to the word ‘out’. This release of lust was distorted. Because it wasn’t lust it was a release of tension. Letting the world or Edgar know and complying with her own true feelings, that ‘this is who I am. I don’t want to perpetrate a fraud with the other insane wives. I don’t care what you think of me. I’m stifled and want to release all my oppressed feelings.’ And in accordance with those times; not as simple as an occasional ‘pill’ before bed or an injected sedative prescribed by her own husband; Stella’ insanity caused grief, embarrassment and warranted institutionalization.

This gripping story of minds is not misleading or twisted but is thinkable of the unthinkable. “I think a lot of us looked at those moments and stared at oppressive and think am I (Stella) am going to go over. And go no. But she does. And she’s like fuck it and she burns her bridges with this catastrophic result, - Natasha Richardson. One can’t help but try to ‘reason’ with insanity.

Copyright 2005 Tonisha Johnson

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