November 1, 2012
The Good Son
After watching The Good Son, it seems that Henry has symptoms similar to the DSM-IV-TR standards for conduct disorder (American Psychiatric Association., 2000, p. 68-69). We see that Henry bullies and threatens his cousin, Mark. He also provokes a physical fight with Mark (Page & Ruben 1993). He uses dangerous weapons and uses them to inflict physical cruelty to animals (American Psychiatric Association., 2000, p. 68-69). We see this as Henry comes out with his “new invention.” It is similar to a crossbow. He uses his “invention” to kill a dog (Page & Ruben, 1993). He deliberately destroys others’ property as seen in the scene where ...view middle of the document...
He seems excited about the idea of having a friend stay at his house (Page & Ruben, 1993).
The movie does a great job of gradually building the abnormality of Henry’s behavior. We are struck in the first interaction as thinking something may be off about Henry, but we are unable to put our finger on it. Then comes the dinner scene where the family is eating lobster. We see that Henry kicks Mark under the table for no apparent reason. But when Mark retaliates, we don’t think twice about it. A few seconds later, however, Henry is taking a lot of aggression out on the lobster trying to crack the shell. Moving forward a few minutes, we are at the tree house scene. Henry intimidates Mark into climbing up by asking “You’re not afraid of heights are you?” (Page & Ruben, 1993). While climbing up, Mark breaks a branch and is holding on by Henry’s hand. Henry has this half smirk on his face and says “If I let you go, do you think you could fly?” very nonchalantly (Page & Ruben, 1993). It only elevates from there. He continues to cause harm to animals, as well as his sister.
Henry’s affect is extremely flat. He seems calm during all situations not fazed by any consequence of his behavior. His voice does not rise and stays at a consistent tempo. He also makes eye contact and keeps it to the point of uncomfort. However, when looking at him, he looks like any other twelve year old boy. He dresses in appropriate clothing and has a playful energy about his movements like when he is running.
My DSM diagnosis for Henry is severe conduct disorder. Henry has a repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in which the basic rights of others are violated (American Psychiatric Association., 2000, p. 68-69). The DSM states that this disorder is manifested by three (or more) of the criterion in one year and one criterion in the past six months (American Psychiatric Association., 2000, p. 68-69). In the course of the movie, Henry manifests seven. Henry often bullies, threatens and intimidates others. He initiates physical fights. He has used a weapon that can cause serious physical harm to others. He has been physically cruel to people and animals. He has deliberately destroyed others’ property. He often lies to avoid obligations. He has stolen items of nontrivial value without confronting a victim.
Henry never mentions having a disorder throughout the movie. However, after dropping Mr. Highway over an overpass, causing a multi-car accident, Henry says: “I feel sorry for you, Mark. You just don’t know how to have fun. It’s because you are scared all the time. I know. I used to be scared too. That was before I found out. That once you realize you can do anything, you’re free. You could fly. Nobody can touch you. Nobody.” (Page & Ruben, 1993). I felt that this quote best explains Henry’s lack of regard for consequences.
Common comorbidities with conduct disorder are ADHD and depression (Cromer, 2010, p. 559-560). ADHD is said to precede and cause...