Analyze This


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Analyze This

(dreams)

The 1999 movie Analyze This is in some ways a caricature of popular interest in dreams and a caricature of Freudian dream analysis. It reflects our fascination with the prospect of quick cures through dream interpretation, and reflects the impact of this notion on filmdom.

Psychiatrist Ben Sobel (Billy Crystal) backs into gangster Paul Vitti’s (Robert De Niro’s) car. Vitti subsequently dispatches henchmen to bring Sobel to him so he can listen to Vitti’s dreams. He has a persistent nightmare in which he sees himself drinking black milk. He also has sudden anxiety attacks that prevent him from appropriately fulfilling his role as a Mafia Don.

Sobel talks with him, befriends him, and eventually even takes a bullet meant for him. He analyzes his dream as guilt over his father’s death, and as symbolic of the negative nurturing he received in childhood. Eventually, the Don recovers from his disorder.

Analyze This is based on an earlier movie, The Dark Past, in which an escaped convict barges into someone’s house during a dinner party. The convict has a persistent nightmare problem that a psychologist at the party analyzes. This convict is so overwhelmed that when the police arrive he cannot pick up his gun, and he gets killed at the end of the film.