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01.20.2017by: Alex Maidy

Top 10 Big Screen Split Personalities

M. Night Shyamalan's latest film, SPLIT, opens today. James McAvoy plays a man with numerous personalities which leads a group of kidnapped women to deal with a horrific and torturous experience. Multiple personalities on film have a long and storied history that goes back to classics like DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE as well as THE THREE FACES OF EVE. Over the years, there have been tons of movies that have stood the test of time. Here is our ranking of the ten best films featuring characters with split personalities. If you think we missed one, let us know in the talk backs below.

#10 - ENEMY

Denis Villeneuve directed this psychological thriller that shares a lot in common with the works or Franz Kafka. Through the film, we have two physically identical Jake Gyllenhaals but no one ever sees them together except for the viewer. Are they actually doppelgangers or is one the subconscious of the other? And, if they are the same, who is the original and who is the figment?

#9 - THE MACHINIST

A cult classic, THE MACHINIST is most notable for Christian Bale's dramatic weight loss. His character is stuck in a nightmare that involves the viewer not knowing if what they are seeing is real or not. But, the end of the film reveals that characters we thought were alive were nothing more than figments of Trevor Reznik's hellish dream.

#8 - PRIMAL FEAR

While Richard Gere was the star of this film, Edward Norton's stunning feature film debut as an altar boy accused of murder. The shocking twist ending revealed that Norton's Aaron Stampler was faking his personality the whole time. Back and forth, we soon learn that the multiple personalities could have been real or fake or a combination, but the damage is already done and a vicious killer is set free.

#7 - THE HULK

While we wait for a new solo film starring Mark Ruffalo in the title role, we have two HULK films of varying success. But, both characters are influenced by the classic Jekyll/Hyde dynamic of two very disparate personalities that clash. One is a violent monster, literally, and the other is a mild-mannered scientist. Together, they form a great superhero but it is the journey to balance between the two that makes for the most entertainment.

#6 - ME, MYSELF & IRENE

The Farrelly Brothers have been pretty hit or miss since their streak of hits including DUMB AND DUMBER, KINGPIN, and THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY. Their second collaboration with Jim Carrey is the brightest spot in their later films as he plays a Rhode Island State Trooper whose mild-mannered personality cracks and leads his subconscious, named Hank, to take control when necessary. Hijinks ensure and Carrey's rubber body makes both versions of his character come alive in very different ways.

#5 - SYBIL

The most famous film that deals with split personalities, SYBIL was a mini-series that starred Sally Field in the title role. Based on a book of the same name about the real woman,Shirley Ardell Mason, Shirley Ardell Mason, whose case has been one of the most widely criticized medical diagnoses of all time. Sally Field is a dramatic powerhouse in this melodramatic film that tries to show a realistic portrayal of dissociative disorder.

#4 - RAISING CAIN

I love Brian De Palma's films and while DRESSED TO KILL may be the better movie about split personalities, RAISING CAIN has John Lithgow playing so many disparate personalities that it just had to make this ranking. Lithgow is awesome and his output in the 1990s are some of the best villains of all time. In RAISING CAIN, not only does he play the best range of personalities outside of James McAvoy in SPLIT, but he also plays his character's father. It is batshit and crazy and a fun movie if you have never seen it.

#3 - PSYCHO

The granddaddy of them all, Alfred Hitchcock's classic film is one of the most enduring movies about a character with split personalities. Heck, you mentioned the syndrome and this is likely the first thing that pops into your mind. The film has stood the test of time and even resulted in the excellent reboot TV series Bates Motel. Definitely one of the best movies of all time and deserving of a spot on this chart.

#2 - BLACK SWAN

Darren Aronofsky's BLACK SWAN may not be his best film but it is still a damn good one. Natalie Portman earned his Oscar as the broken ballerina whose desire to succeed leads to a rift in her psyche that gives audiences a look at what can happen if we push ourselves too far. For viewers, we get to enjoy the best lesbian scene in a major Hollywood film in a long time as well as some truly intense dance sequences.

#1 - FIGHT CLUB

One of the most influential movies of the last twenty years, FIGHT CLUB popularized the writings of Chuck Palahniuk and gave us the most unique interpretation of The Great Gatsby ever made (Google it). We learn in the end that Tyler and Jack are one and the same but it leaves it up to our interpretation to decide who drove the actions that take place in the film. If you haven't checked out the graphic novel sequel, you are missing out, but on it's own this movie represents the most enduring split personality film of all time.

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