When women's roles in the war effort brought their empowerment, from The
Flame Within (1936) to Lady in the Dark (1944), the institution of movie
psychiatry reminded women of their place - as passive recipients of male
wisdom and treatments. The female movie psychiatrist (The Flame Within) is
frequently no different from the successful but unhappy career woman (Lady
in the Dark) - their career will never bring the same fulfilment as a solid
marriage. The female movie psychiatrist must be ‘cured’ by her love for her
male patient. Dr Constance Peterson (Ingrid Bergman) has no difficulties
helping her male amnesic patient, accused of murder, escape confinement. She
marries him at the denouement of Spellbound (1945). Rather than list over a
hundred films where girl (psychiatrist) falls for boy (patient), the
challenge is to name those that deviate from this storyline. Classic
Hollywood depicted women therapists as inadequate, personally and
professionally: Knock on Wood (1954), A Perfect Furlough (1958), Wild in the
Country (1961), A Very Special Favour (1965) and A Fine Madness (1966).
Similar unhappy archetypes continue to yearn for their male patients in
modern films: Mr Jones (1993), 12 Monkeys (1995) and The Jacket (2005).
Perfect psychiatrist Dr Lowenstein must be rescued from her miserable
personal life by an affair with her patient's brother in Prince of Tides
(1991). In all these films, the only effective treatment is love. The
audience are encouraged not to dwell on the boundary violations.