Sally Field is a famous Hollywood actress. She awarded two Oscars, two Golden Globes, two Emmy nominations and she was a winner of the both Berlin and Cannes Film Festivals. The actress played a significant role of the mentally ill girl of twenty years old, which used to be sixteen different personalities in her body. The Sybil drama (1976) was nominated for the Golden Globe, and Sally Field was finally noticed by big producers.
This movie relies on a real story about a real girl Shirley Mason, named Sybil in the movie. Her case caused a lot of noise at one time. People argued whether she had a particular disease or it was just a kind of tricky schizophrenia. Sybil wore big horn-rimmed glasses and worked as a substitute teacher at a school. She wanted to obtain a diploma in the art criticism, but she was not able to finish college. She always wanted to stay on her own. She could wake up and find herself a few years younger, knowing she was thirteen again. And generally speaking, not only thirteen again, it was not she in the past, but completely another girl. A little bit later, a new girl may appear or the old Sybil will return. It was difficult to guess who will be that girl next day. One girl loved to play the piano, the other beautifully painted, the next one was a very small girl of five years old, being afraid of everything and constantly used to break the window by her hand. Among these girls (and there were sixteen of them!) was also a brisk Frenchwoman, who was easily getting in contact with people and even could flirt with men. And there was also a very terrible cold-blooded girl, who dreamed of killing Sybil. In short, it was not a simple girl, but a scary walking theater. Once Sybil was tired of memory failures and went to a psychiatrist, Dr. Wilbur. She was a woman with a great soul, who treated the poor girl with an almost maternal care. And Sybil then continued to live, and not in a psychiatric hospital, but in her apartment in New York. Sybil even had a boyfriend who loved her.
In medicine, the case of Sybil is what is now called a dissociative identity disorder, and it is sometimes called a dissociative personality disorder. But the latter is not entirely correct because the very concept of the “personality” makes it difficult to diagnose. People are often called such illness a split personality. The Sybil’s diagnosis is very interesting because in fact there is no reliable way to check whether it is really a completely different person or just a person imitating. But nevertheless, scientific medicine tends to seek answers precisely in the riddles of our brain. In addition, most patients with this diagnosis have been physically or emotionally abused in the past and Sybil was the victim of an inhuman abuse by her mother. Doctors believe that such disease can be a very complex brain response to the pain suffered.
The film is really unique in its way and it was built, of course, according to all the drama’s laws, but it is framed as a serious in-depth study of the psychiatry. Throughout the whole movie, Dr. Wilbur was consistently studying this girl, talked to her, trying to get to the cause of her disease. This is not quite what is usually called a psychological drama. This is rather a psychiatric drama because the mental disorder itself is brought to the forefront. During three hours you are watching Sybil’s adventures and you begin to feel her emotional torment.
In addition, the play of Sally Field was perfect in this movie. You really believe that it was really a girl whose brain was programmed cardinally in the different way to compare with the ordinary people. All reincarnations of the actress Sally Field is shown in such a perfect way that you do not just believe her, but you really worry about her and feel a sincere pity.