Analyze This (1999)

What could possibly happen to a mob boss that would make him unable to torture his enemies and lead his family of mobster? Well, let us analyze this using modern psychology and see. The movie Analyze This contains some subtle points that I would like to analyze myself. The first is two similarities between the two characters portrayed by Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro. Then we will look at how the role of fatherhood forms two distinct parts of the movie. Finally we will see with what conclusion the movie ends.

Notable similarities

One of two very interesting comparisons between Paul Vitti and Dr. Ben Sobel is that they both have/had fathers in whose respective professions they followed in. Sobel seems overshadowed by his own father’s success as a psychiatrist and Vitti is determined not to die the same way his father did. Another similarity is that both have hit a dead end in their professions. While Vitti can no longer function as a ruthless mob boss because of underlying issues with his father, Sobel is sick and tired of treating boring patients with insignificant problems.

Unresolved father issues

Vitti’s father was a mob boss who was murdered before his son’s eyes. During the movie, there seems to be some hints of Sobel replacing Vitti as a father figure. Vitti has a dream that he as a father wakes up to a crying baby and gives him milk—only to realize that the milk is black. Sobel also has a dream where he and Vitti stop to buy fruit in Italy (a re-enacted scene from The Godfather). Sobel is shot and killed in the street by rival mobsters and Vitti is left crying, “Papa! Papa!”

Career improvements

At the end of the movie, Vitti decides that he doesn’t want to pass on a criminal legacy to his own son, and therefore gets out of his life of crime. Sobel also stops giving his patients textbook advice, and instead opts for a more unorthodox approach of telling them what they need to hear rather than what they want to hear.

Once their issues have been resolved, Vitti and Sobel remain friends due to the strange bond they have formed. Sobel no longer feels undermined by his father because he too is on his way to becoming a huge success. His new client, Vitti, will push up his reputation to new heights as a psychiatrist. Vitti in turn has also resolved his issues with his dead father, and although in prison for 18 months, continues to search for mental wellbeing through therapy.

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