“You don’t know how hard it is for me to make friends.”
Nick Eliot (Cary Elwes) gets a new writing job and finds a new place to live. The location is too good to be true until Nick meets the landlords’ fourteen year-old daughter, Adrian (Alicia Silverstone). At first, Adrian’s attention seems like a regular school-girl crush, but the intensity of her feelings becomes dangerous.
I feel a little bad for her, honestly. She gets ignored by her parents and only has one friend, despite all her social activities. Plus, she has a crush on Cary Elwes and who could blame her?! He’s so cute!!!
The sympathy is short-lived when Adrian’s actions prove to be the work of someone very manipulative. But does she have a personality disorder? We are reminded of Adrian’s age (14 years old) throughout the film, so personally, I do not think it’s appropriate to diagnose her with a personality disorder. Brain development ceases at age 26, so my concern with early diagnoses of personality disorders is that treating a child’s brain development as though it is the halted development of an adult’s brain might cause problems with regard to medications, electroconvulsive therapy, or other treatments.
Instead, Adrian has a problem called Conduct Disorder. Symptoms vary, but all of them point to a disregard for the law or rules. Many symptoms of Conduct Disorder hint heavily at the later development of a personality disorder.
Still with me? Let’s take a quick peek.
Adrian is snarky to a lot of girls; her friend, Cheyenne (Amber Benson) and Nick’s coworker, Amy (Jennifer Rubin) get the brunt of Adrian’s petty girl talk. She gets aggressive in other ways, too, such as making multiple phone calls in a row to Nick and writing him letters all the time. The behaviors could be characterized as a normal crush, but her fervor is disconcerting.
Her parents don’t pay enough attention to Adrian to realize that she is a habitual liar. She is comfortable lying even for Nick, displaying cool-as-a-cucumber poise when she tells her father which book Nick borrowed to hide that Nick was engaging in voyeur escapades in Adrian’s closet.
- Serious Violations of Rules
This is when things stop being so cute. Adrian defaces Nick’s property, sneaks into his room, and lies about sexual assault. As a child, her behaviors can be addressed, but as an adult, her actions would land her in jail.
Nick doesn’t exactly dissuade Adrian when she plants one on him at the lighthouse. Nick could easily move into a new apartment, but he sticks around for awhile – you know, until someone gets thrown off a horse and seriously injured. Is he just an oblivious guy, or is he…into her? I don’t want to throw out the term pedophilia lightly for the obvious fact that it’s not a light term, but Nick has some explaining to do.
The part of The Crush that is the most squirmy to me is when Nick hides in Adrian’s closet and catches a glimpse of the teen undressed – a part that makes it into the movie. Although a body double was used to prevent the actual-teen Alicia Silverstone from showing her body, the notion that Nick doesn’t close his eyes, doesn’t push Adrian away, and the sexualization of Adrian in his head is disturbing. Even the video clip^ is shot in such a way that we are looking up her skirt while she is on the swing, turning the viewer into a creep along with Nick. He is attracted to her, and that’s the part where Nick is conflicted. Where Nick (maybe) gets a pass is that Adrian looks and acts much older than she is; however, he knows her age, so Nick’s situation is his own fault in A LOT of ways. He gets out of it, but not completely unscathed, and maybe that is of his own doing.