For those who are unaware, gaslighting is one of the most insidious forms of emotional abuse, often seen in dysfunctional relationships. It’s the act of deliberately manipulating a person in such a way that they question their own thoughts, memories, and the events occurring in their lives. It can even extend to the point where the person thinks they’re going insane. Some movies over the years have depicted it pretty accurately, such as these.
This 1944 black and white psychological thriller is actually one of the ways in which the term first originated. The film stars Ingrid Bergman as a woman whose husband slowly manipulates her into believing that she is going insane, starting with the simple moving of objects and dimming of lamps.
2. The Girl on the Train
Based on Paula Hawkins’ 2015 novel of the same name, this 2021 film released on Netflix and stars Parineeti Chopra as an alcoholic and amnesia-riddled ex-lawyer who longs to return to her old married life.
3. The Invisible Man
This 2020 film stars the immensely talented Elisabeth Moss as a harrowed woman whose brilliant but evil ex-boyfriend faked his own death, made himself invisible, and now stalks her in a bid to destroy her mind.
4. Rosemary’s Baby
This terrifying 1968 horror film has become a cult classic over the years, and it’s a prime example of gaslighting, wherein the titular character knows that things are wrong and questions everything, but she’s told by her husband and everyone else around her that everything is fine. Meanwhile, Satan’s like, ‘Oh yeah, it’s all coming together’.
5. What Lies Beneath
This supernatural horror thriller stars Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer as a couple living in a haunted house, but the wife’s problems are made worse by her husband’s efforts to make her question her own mind in a bid to hide his evil.
It’s hard to describe this film in a succinct way, considering all the chaos that’s portrayed. However, an undeniable aspect is how Jennifer Lawrence’s character is gaslighted by everyone around her, from her husband to the strangers who enter and wreak havoc in her home.
7. Sleeping with the Enemy
Julia Roberts stars in this 1991 movie about couple that seems like the perfect pair on the outside, but has a toxic inner layer. That’s because her character’s husband manipulates her in a variety of ways, making her believe she’s a cheater and the cause of his anger.
There’s few things better than Kurt Russell in a wicked role. In this 1997 film, he and his wife are driving cross-country when their car breaks down, following which she disappears. As he searches for her however, more details about their toxic relationship come to light.
This 2018 psychological horror film directed by Steven Soderbergh is about a woman who is committed to a mental care institution against her will, and how everyone there tries to convince her she’s lost her mind.
This 2008 film directed by Clint Eastwood stars Angelina Jolie as a woman whose only son goes missing. The LAPD find a boy fitting the description, but she’s sure that child isn’t her son. Despite this, the cops dismiss her claims as hysterical lies. The film is based on real events.
Hopefully, these films will also bring more attention to the very real and present problem of gaslighting.