Sex in the mourning: Oedipal love and loss in The Door in the Floor (2004)

Full text for this resource is not available from the Research Repository.

Ivey, Gavin ORCID: 0000-0002-5537-3504 (2006) Sex in the mourning: Oedipal love and loss in The Door in the Floor (2004). The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 87 (3). pp. 871-879. ISSN 0020-7578


Psychoanalysis can never become the dominant or received perspective from which to view ourselves, precisely because the truths it presents us with are so perturbing. But it does insinuate itself into our cultural reality in various ways, exposing us to ourselves and reminding us how we continue to live and dream in the shadow of Freud. Tod Williams’s screen adaptation (2004) of the novel A widow for one year (John Irving, 1998) is a good illustration of Freud’s enduring importance, and how film can simultaneously entertain and confront us with difficult aspects of our psychic reality. In this regard the Oedipus complex, cornerstone of Freud’s personality theory, is perhaps the most unpalatable. This is hardly surprising given the unconscious desires and fears it captures. As Freud himself noted, ‘None of the findings of psycho-analytic research has provoked such embittered denials, such fierce opposition—or such amusing contortions—on the part of the critics as this indication of the childhood impulses towards incest which persist in the unconscious’. It is thus always interesting to see contemporary cinematic portrayals of oedipal themes. Despite its comic moments, Williams’s film is a dark contemplation of oedipal sexuality and loss, and the unconscious strategies employed to avoid these facts of life in the psychological crucible of family relationships.

Dimensions Badge

Altmetric Badge

Item type Article
Official URL
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1701 Psychology
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Historical > FOR Classification > 1902 Film, Television and Digital Media
Keywords ResPubID19122, psychoanalysis, cultural reality, Freud, Tod Williams, psychic reality, Oedipus complex, family relationships.
Citations in Scopus 0 - View on Scopus
Download/View statistics View download statistics for this item

Search Google Scholar

Repository staff login