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New Movie Reprises Controversial 'Split' Character With Multiple Personalities, 'Unbreakable' Character With Disability

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Editor's Note

The following post includes spoilers about the movies “Unbreakable,” “Split” and “Glass.”

A new movie from M. Night Shyamalan will reprise the controversial character of Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) from “Split,” who has dissociative identity disorder, along with disabled character Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) from “Unbreakable.” The thriller, “Glass,” which takes place in psychiatric ward, serves as the third and final installment in the film franchise.

“Glass” is a continuation of the stories from “Split” and “Unbreakable,” which starred Jackson (Elijah Price) and Bruce Willis (David Dunn). According to the trailer for “Glass,” the movie seems to start with Crumb, Price and Dunn in a psychiatric hospital. Price conspires to escape by forcing Crumb’s “The Beast” personality to come forth. Dunn — an able-bodied character without a mental illness or disability — has to stop them.

“Split” premiered in 2017 and brought in over $40 million in the box office. Though the movie was successful, some viewers took issue with the premise of the film. In “Split,” Crumb has 23 personalities and kidnaps three teen girls. Eventually, a 24th personality appears called “The Beast,” which is evil and has superhuman capabilities.

In “Unbreakable,” which was released in 2000, Price uses a wheelchair because he has osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease. Price is convinced that there has to be a person who is “unbreakable” because he is the opposite of that, despite his crime-causing powers. After causing a large train crash, Price finds passenger Dunn escapes without any injuries.

Price reaches out to Dunn and eventually convinces Dunn of his superhuman capabilities that prevent him from getting killed. Dunn also realizes he’s able to sense when someone will commit a crime. It’s this ability that reveals Price has caused the deaths of hundreds, including those on the train. After this, Price ends up in a psychiatric hospital at the end of “Unbreakable,” which is where Crumb ends up at the conclusion of “Split” as well.

Criticisms that were raised when “Split” originally came out have been revived with news of the new movie. Dissociative identity disorder (DID), which Crumb is depicted as having in “Split” and now “Glass,” is a rare condition. Most who are diagnosed have experienced severe abuse.

A person with DID has two or more identities, and each identity has its own sense of self. An alternate identity will show marked changes in behavior, memory and knowledge, according to Psychology Today. The other identities or personalities may also differ from the main identity in age, gender and mood state.

DID is heavily stigmatized outside and within the mental health profession. Some do not believe it exists or that symptoms are induced by a mental health professional either purposely or inadvertently. Given the stigma, people who criticized “Split” initially said it only adds to the stigma and perpetuates the myth that those with DID are violent.

“The character is a villain because of his DID,” Chris Alter, contributor for The Mighty, wrote about Crumb. “People with DID are survivors of unspeakable childhood trauma — to then be tarred with the same brush as this kind of predator is truly insulting and disrespectful.”

Some have also criticized “Unbreakable” and the revival of Price because it connects disability to villainy. His disability is the reason Price is driven to cause disasters in order to find someone “unbreakable.” In addition, like McAvoy, Jackson does not live with the disability he portrays in the film.

“Glass” premieres Jan. 18 across the U.S. It’s predicted to bring in anywhere from $50 million to $75 million over the weekend leading to Martin Luther King Jr. Day. If the movie does as well as predicted, it’ll stand with the most successful movies from past years that premiered during the same long weekend.

Photo via Twitter

Originally published: December 28, 2018
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