Sweet November : Altruistic or Sadisitc? A psychological analysis of the movie: Sweet November

Essay by swmirzaA+, April 2005

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"A work-obsessed man gets picked up by a life-obsessed woman, who wants to help him get more out of his existence on earth. Within a day, she asks him to move in with her, so that she could begin her "therapy" on him. The man resists at first, but ultimately falls for the woman's endearing persistence. Over time, the two begin to like each other more and then, well....aaaaaah."

Above was my opinion of Sweet November after the first time I watched it, and not much had changed when I watched it a second time before writing this paper, except that I found Charlize Theron's (Sara) character even more absurd than before. She's exuberant, optimistic, energetic and incredibly happy. The obvious question then is what makes her strange, and the answer is exactly those attributes.

Challenged by Nelson's outward impenetrability and broken inner spirit, Sara leads this dedicated businessman on a journey of self-discovery during the month of November, after which they plan to go their separate ways.

Part of her process is that she doesn't spell everything out for Nelson but wants to open the door and eventually let him continue the journey himself above all full of happiness. Believing that Nelson is not able to extract all of life's pleasures, Sara makes Nelson her next 'project' and offers him her life and home for the next month.

Is there a deeper meaning to her character or does Sara desperately need to share her apartment rent with someone? One would be inclined to pick the latter, but Sara's behavior leads us to think whether her altruism is truly genuine or if there is an ulterior motive behind her acts of benevolence to Nelson and the many other monthly 'patients'.

Two possibilities can be considered when analyzing Sara's intentions, altruism...