Director: Daniel Petrie
Stars: Sally Field, Joanne Woodward, Brad Davis, Martine Bartlett
Dealing with women is hard enough in a one-on-one setting, so just imagine how overwhelming it’d be to confront sixteen crazy ladies all at once—that’s enough to send any playboy running straight into priesthood. Minus the dating angle, that’s the premise of Sybil, an award-winning drama about a deranged woman, the titular Sybil (a career-making performance from Sally Field), who undergoes several intense treatments for her multiple personality disorder.
What sounds like an atypically intriguing Lifetime Movie is actually a harrowing look at festering traumas that was exceptionally intense for its time, when TV in general wasn’t as open to taboo-smashing imagery as it is today. Sybil’s fractured psychosis is the result of childhood abuses at the hands of her moth (Martine Bartlett), a religious extremist who sexually violated her daughter under the ruse of religious tactics. Thinking Sybil is a sappy chick flick is like labeling The Last House On The Left as a domestic drama.
8. Sybil (1976)