Gaslighting is a term for a phenomenon that has been real and rampant all through our lives, but we have only been using a properly coined term for it, for only a few years now. Gaslighting is basically a sort of manipulation where someone is made to believe that they are in the wrong, while the person manipulating them is fully aware that that is not the case. We can only hope that most of you reading this have not had to face this in real life, but then that would be naivety. So, here we are to talk about some of the films which have portrayed the phenomenon of gaslighting rather well, whether we realised it or not. Here are some movies about gaslighting which might dole out a lesson or two for us to learn.
This 1944 film is one of the reasons why the term actually is called “gaslighting”, making it the first on this list of movies about gaslighting. Although an adaptation of a play and a 1940 film of the same name, the film exemplifies the phenomenon through the two lead characters – a couple played by Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. Boyer’s character manipulates his wife to make her believe that she is growing “crazy” slowly.
2. Rosemary’s Baby
This film made in 1968 features a woman who is pregnant and has a distinct feeling that something is wrong with the child she is bearing. Everyone around her tries to convince her that she’s wrong, until the truth is finally revealed.
3. The Girl On The Train
This 2021 film is available on Netflix, and has as its protagonist an ex-lawyer who struggles with life and wishes to return to her previous marriage. She was abused psychologically by her ex-husband so much so that she could not rely on her own self or sense of judgement.
4. Sleeping With The Enemy
This film stars Julia Roberts in the role of a woman married to a man who blames her for his anger issues and accuses her of cheating and betrayal.
A Steven Soderbergh film, Unsane is about a woman who is admitted to a psychiatric care institution without her consent. Everyone in the institution tries to convince her that she has gone crazy, while the truth is still ambiguous.
This genius of a film by Ari Aster has Florence Pugh as Dani, who is in a somewhat toxic relationship with a guy named Christian. Christian constantly blames her and guilts her into thinking that she is at fault for being someone who needs emotional support especially after her parents accidentally pass away.
Jennifer Lawrence’s character in this film is constantly gaslighted by everyone around her into thinking she’s wrong about most things.
Christopher Nolan directed this film where the protagonist subjects himself to the ultimate kind of manipulation, forcing himself to forget his painful past thereby landing himself in a situation of short-term memory loss.
Two brothers are severely injured in an accident. After they regain consciousness, one of the brothers convinces his brother’s wife that they have exchanged bodies after the accident.
10. The Invisible Man
Lastly, a film by Leigh Wannell where a woman is harrassed by her ex-boyfriend who pretends to be dead and follows the woman around on purpose to play tricks with her mind.
The most we can do is hope that these movies about gaslighting will alert some of us to the actual situation so that we can remain cautious.