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Character Analysis of the Film “Secret Window”

The film Secret Window is based on the fictional novel Secret Garden written by Stephen King. The film (screenplay) was written and directed by David Koepp. Johnny Depp portrayed the main character, Mort Rainey. The supporting characters are John Shooter, portrayed by John Turturro, Amy Rainey, characterized by Maria Bello, Timothy Hutton represented Ted Milner, and Charles S. Dutton described detective Ken Karsch. The majority of the film was shot in the town of North Hartley, Quebec. Other film locations included Lake Massawippi, Lake Sacaomie, Lake Gale, and Bromont Quebec.

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The movie Secret Window is set in a secluded cabin in upstate New York at Tashmore Lake. The main character Mort Rainey is a successful writer living with his wife Amy Rainey; however, one day had changed Mort’s life once and forever, when he caught Amy in bed with Rainey’s best friend, Ted Milner. To get away from the divorce process, Mort retreats to the cabin at Lake Tashmore in upstate New York along with his dog Chico, where he meets a disturbing stranger, John Shooter.

Shooter, who is also a writer, accused Rainey of plagiarizing his story at the first encounter. Claiming untrue information, Mort proceeds to argue with the man pointlessly convincing that his story was written several years before Shooter’s. Despite numerous evidence, a strange man does not believe the main character, until he says that there is a copy of a magazine article that confirms the date when the story was written. Thus, the required journal that may convince the man of his wrongfulness is at Mort’s ex-wife’s house. Still requiring proof, John Shooter gives Rainey three days to recover the magazine; if not, he threatened to hurt everyone Mort loves. To investigate Shooter’s identity, Mort hires a private detective Ken Karsh, who feels that the man is somehow connected to Rainey’s past. Over the course of the next several days, John Shooters severely stalks Mort until one morning; the main character finds his beloved dog Chico dead. Peculiar events continue to happen as more people begin to die, and the divorce starts to acquire a conflicting nature. Shooter’s violent actions begin to significantly affect Mort’s life until he completely loses the connection with reality.

A thorough analysis of Mort Rainey’s character has led to the conclusion that he has undiagnosed paranoid schizophrenia. According to the Mayo Clinic (2020), schizophrenic people tend to uncommonly perceive reality, which is carried along with hallucinations, delusions, chaotic train of thoughts, and abnormal behavior. Individuals diagnosed with such disease require lifelong treatment; however, early treatment is likely to take the symptoms under control without severe complications. The progressive condition often triggers specific delusions or episodes, which a patient cannot distinguish, and their intensity can vary according to the status of schizophrenia (American Psychiatric Association, 2017). In certain fragments of the movie, Rainey displays unusual hallucinations, which can be assumed as visible symptoms of schizophrenia. Among other signs that apply to the main film, characters are disinterest in daily life, withdrawal from society, and loss of motivation (National Institute of Mental Health, 2019). Prominent evidence of such symptoms Mort displayed, when he isolated himself in a cabin after finding out about his wife’s unfaithfulness.

Moreover, displaying a particular manifestation of paranoid schizophrenia started showing in Mort’s behavior from the beginning of the movie. In the film’s opening, Rainey was sitting by the motel and kept hearing unusual voices inside of his head that repeatedly told him not to go back to the room. Ignoring the voices, Rainey impulsively stole the keys and went up to the door, where he shockingly found his wife with another man. Mort runs away, shouting with a psychotic face, which is the first sign that makes the audience doubt his mental state. Similar behavior repeats, when the main character drives by his ex-wife’s house, where they once lived together. The voices start reappearing in Mort’s head, viciously telling that none of it is his anymore, not the house or the wife.

Among other apparent symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia displayed by Mort Rainey is indifference to social life. Isolation in a cabin with no people around is an odd response to stress for a healthy person; however, Mort finds peace being entirely on his own. Remoteness from socialization caused Rainey to neglect self-care; therefore, making his appearance coarse with a lack of personal hygiene. An unappealing presentation is accompanied by disturbing behavior, where Rainey is continuously in a paranoid state of mind, which commonly triggers delusions and voices in his head. All signs and symptoms combined allow us to presume and diagnose Mort Rainey with paranoid schizophrenia.

To conclude, schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder displayed in various forms of hallucinations and abnormal paranoid behavior. After thoroughly analyzing the film and medical literature, it was discovered that Mort Rainey, the main character of the movie Secret Window, demonstrates numerous symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia. Multiple scenes in the film hint at Rainey’s unstable mental state, from which it is possible to make a diagnosis of vivid schizophrenia.

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American Psychiatric Association. (2017). What is schizophrenia? Psychiatry.Org. Web.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020). Schizophrenia – symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. Web.

National Institute of Mental Health. (2019).Schizophrenia. National Institute of Mental Health. Web.

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