Play Misty for Me

“It was funny; I was calling you from that phone booth over there and he was telling me you’d left and I was staring at your car. Isn’t that funny?” 

Dave Garver (Clint Eastwood) is a late-night radio DJ who occasionally gets a call from a seductive woman who purrs, “Play Misty for Me.” The DJ obliges the request, playing the silky smooth song, “Misty” over the radio waves. Pretty soon, Dave meets the mysterious Evelyn (Jessica Walter) in a bar and the two share a quick romp before Dave discovers that his old love, Tobie (Donna Mills) is back in town. Dave attempts to break off the fling, but Evelyn proves to be dangerously hard to shake.

Evelyn’s Problem
She’s a little clingy, this one. After she and Dave share a night of passion (and a very Hollywood kiss where they don’t disengage their mouths and just shimmy their heads a bunch, which is disconcerting), Evelyn shows up unannounced to make him dinner. Dave handles it with Dirty Harry swagger and all is forgotten – or so it seems. Evelyn continues to defy Dave, sometimes coming off as an innocent woman who isn’t very good at understanding the word no, and sometimes coming off as a psychotic person who understands the word no, but will not take it for an answer. Like our friend Annie Wilkes, Evelyn’s problem is her personality.

Borderline Personality Disorder
Sound familiar? It’s the same as Annie! These two lovebirds have the same psychiatric illness, even though it looks different sometimes. Here are some more identifying aspects of Borderline Personality Disorder:

  • Fear of Abandonment
    Yes, Evelyn has a hard time letting go of her new boo. She does not have a lot of hobbies, and she could probably use one (thousand). The poor woman is actually quite sick; she imagines a relationship so fervently that she has a difficult time understanding why her fantasy life with Dave does not translate into reality.
  • Intense Relationships
    Related to the last symptom, borderline personality can be characterized by intense relationships in which the person with the personality disorder designates their lover as either the best, or the worst person in their life. It can be an exhausting ride when someone is not seeking help for BPD.
  • Self-Injury as a Response to Rejection
    Note to Readers, self-injury is not a manipulation. Self-injury is a cry for help, always. Part of our problem culturally is that we see cutting like Evelyn’s as a manipulative technique to coerce someone to stay. That’s a little too easy; if someone is willing to physically hurt themselves to keep another person around, then they need psychiatric help. They believe they are getting what they want if that person stays, but wants and needs are not always the same.

Don’t Stand so Close to Me
One thing is movie brings to light is how naive men can be about women who follow them. Evelyn’s behavior seems slightly flattering for about one minute, but Dave quickly feels squeamish about it. While this was the 70’s, it is important to note to all Readers out there with a follower or a super fan, be very careful about your surroundings and please be careful about who you have an open-door policy with; don’t be like Dave.


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