The story tells of a young woman admitting to having blackouts, fearing they are getting worse. She is diagnosed as suffering from multiple personalities, as a result of severe abuse at the hands of her mother, whom her psychiatrist, Cornelia Wilbur, believes was schizophrenic. The movie Sibyl is based upon author Flora Rheta Schreiber's biography of Shirley Ardell Mason, an American psychiatric patient, suffering from multiple personality disorder. The book, also called Sibyl, was in its turn based largely on the actual accounts of psychiatric treatment that Shirley Ardell Mason underwent, documented by American psychiatrist Cornelia WilburWritten by
According to NPR website, in a new book, Sybil Exposed, writer Debbie Nathan argues that most of the story is based on a lie. See more »
While Hattie is playing the piano near the end of the movie, her arm movements clearly do not match the rhythm of the music we hear. See more »
Richard J. Loomis:
Do a little jig, kiss a little pig, follow the band. Follow the band, follow the band... Do a little jig, kiss a little pig, follow the band. Just join in and follow the band.
See more »
The original TV-version ran two nights for a total of four hours (198 minutes minus the commercials). Most video copies are pared down in length, one running 122 minutes and another "expanded" to 132 minutes. Both these versions are missing key scenes such as:
The introduction of of the alternate personality "Vanessa"
Sybil's first date with Richard
Her recollection of her childhood sweetheart.
Sybil dissociating into the personality of an infant, leading to Dr. Wilbur's memorable statements "My god Sybil, what did that monster do to you? What happened in the green kitchen?"
Dr. Wilbur confronting Willard Dorsett over him having left his daughter in the care of such an obvious and dangerously disturbed woman as Hattie
Sybil's two male personalities arguing with Dr. Wilbur about them being able to father children
Sybil finally confronting and learning to accept all of her personalities while under hypnosis
Split personality as a metaphor for what we must all do to survive intense pain
This movie isn't actually about the actual case or even the best selling novel. It is a metaphor for childhood and the plight of children (and other human beings). Stunning performance by Sally Fields, quite likely her best (though certainly not her only stunning performance. She is a vastly underrated actress.) Some very fine writing and many memorable lines. I saw this movie over twenty years ago and I will never get it out of my mind, "what that monster did to her in the green kitchen." Joanne Woodward is as fine as silk, as she always is. I could watch her just breathe in and out for the foreseeable future, and she does it wonderfully here, and makes great acting look just that easy. Like the Godfather, this movie completely transcends all the source material it is based on, a serious kind of "mockumentary" revealing rather than mocking the human condition.
14 of 17 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this