“The Aviator” and OCD

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This movie is a biographical look at the life of Howard Hughes. It gives fairly accurate look at this man’s life from the 1920’s through the 1940’s. During this time Hughes was involved in directing movies, and piloting test planes produced by his own aviation company, Hughes Aircraft. This movie shows a harsh reality to Hughes’ overwhelming affliction with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and how he coped with the disease. Hughes was an orphan by the age of 17. Hughes father was an inventor who left him a majority of a tool company when he died. After college Hughes moved to Los Angeles to be a movie producer. He jump started the career of actors like Jean Harlow in his movie “Hell’s Angels.” Shortly after his try with Hollywood, Hughes started into the career of aviation.

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A point that by today’s standard would have gotten him inpatient care in order to try and correct his OCD. He avoids contact with everyone and everything that could be contaminated during this severe episode. You see the compulsive repetition of words almost as if there is no way for him to stop. With the knowledge of his disease, those that knew about it used it to there advantage. The senator purposefully dirtied his glass during a meeting, and served fish just to make Hughes uneasy. The whole plan of the senator holding a hearing to try and prove Hughes guilty of wasting the government’s money was aimed at his weakness. It was common knowledge that Hughes disliked crowds. Pan-Am and the senator knew that Hughes would be very uncomfortable in a court room full of people, and germs. They thought this would be an advantage to them, making Hughes easily removed from the equation.

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His OCD had got the best of him and he died mostly of starvation, and his windows and doors were sealed with masking tape. I think that most would agree with the Roger Ebert, “”What a sad man. What brief glory. What an enthralling film, 166 minutes, and it races past.” Even though this disorder is common this movie shows how bad it can get. Hughes overcame a great handicap to succeed even when others tried to exploit his weakness. The Aviator (2004). Director Martin Scorsese. Roger Ebert & the Movies.

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