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TOP 23 Movies About Gaslighting And Abusive Relationships | TwiftNews

23 Movies About Gaslighting

All of us, at some point in life, have faced moral abuse. That might have been a personal experience, a piece of news you’ve seen on the Internet or in movies. In any case – the notion is familiar. We’ve assembled a list of top 23 movies about gaslighting, but first let’s run through some basics.

What Is Gaslighting?

Gaslighting, in its turn, is a type of a psychological manipulation aimed at making a targeted person suffer and question the adequacy of their perception of the surroundings, decisions and the world in general. Mainly gaslighting is achieved through devaluing jokes, accusations and intimidation. People fallen for it may often require the assistance of a qualified psychologist.

Classic Films Featuring Gaslighting

The history of the term goes back around 80 years, while the very idea of such an abusive scenario is much older. Statistically women are being targeted more often than men. And the problem is that a victim is often unaware of the situation until it’s too late.

Gaslighting was first superficially described in a theatrical play in 1938 called “Angel Street” and its two film adaptations in 1940 and 1944. Since then, many gaslighting movies tried to publicize that form of abuse.

Gaslight, 1944

Gaslighting: how a harrowing Ingrid Bergman film inspired the psychology  buzzword | The Independent

One of the most famous examples of gaslighting in movies is of course the second adaptation of the play mentioned above. The cast was absolutely splendid at the time, and the plot was fresh and bewitching. The movie shows us a gradual descent into insanity of a young wife who is being tormented by her husband. Despite being almost 80 years old and a shady atmosphere, you should give the film a try.

Sleep, My Love, 1948

Sleep, My Love streaming: where to watch online?

A noir psychological thriller based on a Leo Rosten’s novel starts with a woman waking up on a train, not knowing how she got there. After coming back home she finds herself drawn into a series of acquaintances and strange events, in the result of which her sanity comes into question. The script for the movies was written by the author of the original novel, so there is a work of artist on hand.

Strait Jacket, 1964

Strait Jacket

Another fascinating movie gaslighting experience – an American psychological thriller by Alfred Hitchcock. A woman is released from a psychiatric hospital, in which she spent twenty years for a double homicide of her husband and his mistress. The main character then moves to her brother’s farm, after which a series of strange ax-related killings erupts. A good one for a dull rainy night, don’t you think?

Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte, 1964

Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte -Film Review. Bette Davis cult psychodrama

The plot of this thriller describes the troubled woman by the name of Charlotte, who has witnessed a murder of her boyfriend in her youth. Almost forty years later, being a rich old maid, she finds out that her family manor is about to get demolished due to the construction of a new highway. Charlotte turns to her cousin Miriam for help, but when she arrives strange things start happening in the house.

Rosemary’s Baby, 1968

El Bebé de Rosemary', 50 años de satanismo con el sello de Polanski

Rosemary Woodhouse is a pregnant young woman who lives with her husband in an apartment building in Manhattan. As the time goes by, she becomes suspicious of their old-aged neighbors, assuming they belong to a Satan cult. The film touches on such topics as paranoia, Christianity, and occultism. This psychological horror movie will surely make you a little twitchy. 

Stepford Wives, 1975

The Stepford Wives (1975) — Horror Film History

A young passionate photographer, Joanna, moves to a small town in Connecticut with her husband. The town and people living in it are absolutely nice. The only thing that disturbs her is the fact that all women in the town are irrelevant to everything except for housekeeping and all men periodically visit the so-called “Men’s Club”. When Joanna’s best friend, a skilled tennis player, turns into an obedient housewife, she starts raising some eyebrows. 

The Shining, 1980

How The Shining went from box-office flop to one of cinema's immortal  horrors | The Independent | The Independent

Well, this one is a legend. A magnificent roleplay of Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall under a tight supervision of Stanley Kubrick did the trick. The plot is based on a famous Stephen King’s novel “The Shining”. The main character, Jack, takes a job as a hotel caretaker for a winter’s period and moves there with his wife and a son. The catch here is that the hotel is empty, haunted and full of wicked history. While his family slowly goes insane, Jack tends not to pay attention to what is going on… until he himself is being dragged into darkness.

Movies About Gaslighting on Netflix

The Call, 2020

The Call (2020) - IMDb

A young woman moves to her mother’s house, in which she spent her entire childhood. Her father died in a fire long ago and her mother has been saddened ever since. Among the old stuff she finds an old-fashioned cordless phone and through it reaches a woman who lives in the same house in 1999. She realizes that the phone lets her talk to somebody back in time and she uses this opportunity to save her father from death. But when her reality changes, horrific things come into a picture.

Run, 2020

Run' Review: A Wheelchair-Using Teen Tries to Escape Her Sadistic Mom -  Variety

One of the best movies about gaslighting on Netflix. The American psychological thriller depicts a physically ill 17-year-old girl whose life is completely controlled by her overprotective mother. She stays at home all the time, takes pills that the mother gives her and never talks to other people. After another “prescription” she starts raising doubts and suspects that her mother keeps a dark secret.

mother!, 2017

Mother! (2017) - IMDb

The overall number of strange unconnected events in addition to complete absence of names in the movie adds some sort of a breathtaking confusion. Now “mother!” may not be the best film for some people, but it is definitely worth a try. The plot revolves around a couple whose names are Mother and Him. They live in a nice house and have a, what seems, a perfect family. However, after the arrival of an unknown couple (Man and Woman) the events take a drastically unexpected turn.

Gerald’s Game, 2017

Watch Gerald's Game | Netflix Official Site

And Stephen King again, whose novel lies in the plot of this psychological horror. Jessie and Gerald, a married couple, rent a house for a weekend. While incarnating his sexual fantasies Gerald handcuffs Jessie to a bed and dies from hart-attack soon after. A young woman is now trapped in a room with a dead body and her inner demons, unable to break free.

The Girl on the Train, 2016

23 Movies About Gaslighting

If you look for gaslighting in movies – The Girl on the Train has plenty to offer. The dramatic thriller of Tate Taylor shows a woman, who suffers from alcoholism after a hard divorce. The problem with her condition is that after sobering up she cannot remember anything from the last night. During one of those blackouts her friend gets killed… and she is the main suspect.

Movies About Gaslighting on Prime Video

Changeling, 2008

Changeling (2008) — The Movie Database (TMDB)

Definitely one of the best movies about gaslighting, which tells a story of a kidnapping which initiates a series of disturbing events. When a single mother, Christine (Angelina Jolie), finds out that a boy who was returned to her by the law enforcement is not the one that was actually kidnapped she starts her own investigation. Meanwhile, the police and officials see a reputational danger in that and try to discredit her, questioning her ability of being a good mother.

Midsommar, 2019 

The first trailer for Florence Pugh folk horror Midsommar is here

Midsommar is a folk-horror movie about a young couple traveling to Europe for a summer solstice celebration. Along the way they meet members of a Scandinavian pagan cult whose customs and traditions are far more from the modern socially accepted standards.

The Invisible Man, 2020

The Invisible Man' – movie with feminist agenda is visibly flawed –  SaportaReport

Let’s talk about abusing relations now. What if your ex-boyfriend chases you, even though he is dead? This is a reality for a woman called Cecilia, who escapes a violent supervising relationship with her wealthy partner, Adrian, only to later find out that he committed suicide. The woman goes slowly insane when she starts seeing signs of Adrian being always around.

Unsane, 2018

Unsane (2018) REVIEW - Half of an Amazing Thriller - Cultured Vultures

An interesting example of a film making, shot entirely on a smartphone, and still breaking as a commercial success. A young woman is trapped in a mental institution thinking she is being followed by a stalker. The plot takes a sharp twist when she recognizes her stalker in one of the facility workers.

Some More Movies on Gaslighting

Enough, 2002

Enough (2002) - IMDb

Among all movies about abuse “Enough” seems to be the most underrated one. The story of a woman who reaches her limit while facing her violent husband and learns to fight back. The name of this one is pretty self-explanatory, don’t you think?

Sleeping With The Enemy, 1991

Sleeping With The Enemy Reboot Planned | Movies | Empire

Another film about a husband gaslighting his wife.  Laura Burney (played by Julia Roberts) seems to be living a happy married life. However, in reality her marriage is a living hell. When Laura finally manages to get away from her abusive controlling husband and starts a new life she suddenly realizes that someone is watching her.

Possession, 2008

Possession (2008) - Amazon Prime Video | Flixable

An interesting plot and a number of unexpected twists will make you watch “Possession” in one breath. The movie shows two brothers, Ryan and Roman, with very different characters, who one day get into a car collision and both fall into a coma. Roman soon wakes up and immediately starts claiming to Ryan’s wife, Jess, that he is in fact her husband and he somehow switched bodies with his brother. He is so convincing that Jess starts believing all of it to be true. But is it?

The Lodge, 2019

The Lodge (2019) | MUBI

A young woman, Grace, marries a journalist by the name of Richard and becomes a step-mother for his two kids. Both of them have traumatic past and the children seem to despise Grace. So, Richard, in order for his wife and children to bond, decides to send them to a rural lodge for a couple of days before Christmas. This is where the most mysterious and dark things start to happen.

Memento, 2000

Review: Memento (2000) — 3 Brothers Film

More of a detective story with elements of a psychological thriller. “Memento” highlights a story of a Leondard Shelby, insurance company investigator, who tries to find a murderer of his wife. The peculiarity of this movie is that all scenes are shown in a reverse chronological order to make viewers experience the world perception of a person with anterograde amnesia.

What Lies Beneath, 2000

What Lies Beneath (2000) - IMDb

Another haunted house and another couple facing their demons. Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer look very convincing on the screen. This supernatural horror thriller might really be one of the best movies about abusive relationships.

Fear, 1996

Fear | Movie fanart |

The perfect life of a wealthy family starts to crack when the younger daughter falls for a handsome but shady young man. The psychological thriller was a box office success and is a must-have to watch.

Final Thoughts

What we all need to understand here is that gaslighting is often a resource used by psychopaths and narcissists to manipulate others. Apart from being legally punishable, this form of abuse can cause irreversible consequences for a victim’s mental health. So, let’s hope for all of us to face such things only in the movies.

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