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Sweet November : Altruistic Or Sadisitc? A Psychological Analysis Of The Movie: Sweet November

1266 words - 6 pages

"A work-obsessed man gets picked up by a life-obsessed woman, who wants to help him get more out of his existence on earth. Within a day, she asks him to move in with her, so that she could begin her "therapy" on him. The man resists at first, but ultimately falls for the woman's endearing persistence. Over time, the two begin to like each other more and then, well....aaaaaah."Above was my opinion of Sweet November after the first time I watched it, and not much had changed when I watched it a second time before writing this paper, except that I found Charlize Theron's (Sara) character even more absurd than before. She's exuberant, optimistic, energetic and incredibly happy. The obvious ...view middle of the document...

She feels responsible to fulfill her promise and change Nelson's take on life in the month that he has agreed to spend with her. Sara does everything she is capable of to make sure that Nelson understands the meaning of life and learns to enjoy what he has.However, it is widely understood that being empathic towards others does not rule out the possibility of some personal gain. When volunteers and helpers are asked why they take on altruistic actions they claim that it is their humanitarian duty, and taking such actions makes them better people. (Gleitman, 499) Often, though, among all the philanthropy there are other subtle motives ranging from acclaim to emotional gain. Similarly, in Sara's case other possible intentions can be observed which may elucidate her unconventional style of serving fellow human beings.As the movie progresses, we learn that Sara is sick, not just a passing illness but terminal cancer. Far away from family, only one gay friend and no steady job mean that she is extremely lonely. Her illness prevents her from binding herself to a serious relationship because she knows the ending will be one of unbearable pain, but a companion in any person's life is essential especially an individual who is passing through her last months of life in illness and discomfort. To overcome this loneliness, Sara comes forward with a solution to suit her trepidations; she spends only one month with a man whom she thinks needs her care and attention.Fear of loneliness can often result in a person taking extreme measures. Everyone wants to share their life, experiences, and emotions with at least another individual whom they can depend upon. In Sara's situation all life has to give her are a few more months, and to share her vibrancy and her optimism she comes across Nelson, an executive frustrated with life. There could be an element of selfishness involved that promotes Sara to indulge in this altruistic act.In Gleitman (pg 498), the selfish benefits of unselfishness are explained, where it is stated that providing help can yield to benefits as well as costs. One of the benefits described in sexual interest that may be applicable in the situation at hand. It is interesting to think why all of Sara's subjects were male. Are there no females in the need of happiness in their...

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