#320: Link watched Kimi (2022) and wanted to talk about the portrayal of the main character’s agoraphobia and anxious behaviors. Josué and Lara discuss how context impacts our ability to overcome anxiety, and how other media tries to represent the experience.
Josué Cardona 0:11
Welcome to GT radio on the Geek Therapy network. here at Geek Therapy We believe that the best way to understand each other and ourselves through the media we care about, my name is Josué Cardona. And I’m joined by Lara Taylor.
Lara Taylor 0:21
Josué Cardona 0:24
and Link and a baby.
Link Keller 0:26
Josué Cardona 0:30
Link, It’s your turn. What are we talking about This week?
Link Keller 0:33
we are talking about a film that came out recently on on HBO Max called Kimi
Josué Cardona 0:41
starring Zoë Kravitz as Kimi.
Josué Cardona 0:44
Starring Zoë Kravitz as Angela Childs.
Josué Cardona 0:49
Link Keller 0:49
Kimi is the name of this world’s Siri, Alexa, the Smart Voice machine that is in it inside of everybody’s houses and is always recording. And Angela works as a moderator functionally, she, she gets the audio pieces from when Kimi is marked as like making a mistake. And she goes in and she’s training Kimi to be to be better. That’s that is a real job that people do. She
Josué Cardona 1:30
so in the movie, they make it sound like nobody else does that. And, and what sets Kimi apart from the other ones, right. And they call them out by name. But like we’re special, because we have someone who’s like we have real people fixing, you know, and working in the background.
Link Keller 1:51
Josué Cardona 1:52
But is that is that true?
Link Keller 1:55
I don’t know. I I have always assumed that real people are hands on in training AI to do things because its necessary
Lara Taylor 2:11
otherwise you get random things. Yeah.
Josué Cardona 2:13
Yeah. But to what extent though, right?
Link Keller 2:16
I hope not to the extent that is shown in Kimi,
Josué Cardona 2:20
that’s what I’m thinking. Right? Because the idea is like, machine learning is using tons of other references to learn so because that would be faster. And then in the movie, what they’re saying is, we are special because we still have that human element and like, like AI isn’t there yet. And so we have people doing this. And and yeah, I don’t I don’t know that I would call it moderation, right? I mean, exactly. But she
Lara Taylor 2:52
Josué Cardona 2:53
I mean, it’s definitely like a QA role, for sure. It is definitely a training a training model, right. Like she is writing, like syntax. She’s like, this thing that a person says, Is this and she’s writing it in a way for the system to understand it in the future, because it didn’t understand it this time, but she does make the the comment at one point that she was a Facebook moderator. And, and kinda the Some similarities in just the the horrible things that she’s that she’s seen. Yeah. Yeah. But I thought that was really interesting to, to think of like to see someone in that role. Because like, we know that there are moderators out there. and we’ve talked about it in the past. I don’t remember if it was on this show, or on. I know we definitely talked about on PsychTech at some point.
Lara Taylor 3:52
I think we talked about it on this show.
Josué Cardona 3:55
Lara Taylor 3:55
Because we’ve I’ve talked about it with you.
Josué Cardona 3:57
Lara Taylor 3:58
Like yeah, the it was about video games and watching. Like, the artists and designers needing to watch violent material over and over and over again.
Josué Cardona 4:09
Yeah, that was a that was that. Was that a Headshots discussion, too?
Lara Taylor 4:14
We it might have been I mean, we did do some crossover.
Josué Cardona 4:17
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And and I remember
Link Keller 4:20
Yeah, I think it’s been on all all of them.
Josué Cardona 4:22
Yeah. Yeah. We haven’t talked about in a long time. And I don’t remember ever seeing this represented in a story. I’m sure you know, this. I’m sure there’s at least one law and order episode. Where we see someone in this role, but to see like a fictional dramatic, you know, version of this when you I mean, it’s gotta be like, you can’t even make a comedy show out of that because it’s too depressing. Like you can make a sitcom out of you know, people who are moderating social media.
Lara Taylor 4:58
You can try,
Link Keller 4:59
Josué Cardona 5:00
But it would be it would it would just feel you’d be glossing over all of the real terrible things.
Link Keller 5:07
I imagine it would feel similar to Brooklyn nine nine’s final season in. It’s like, this is weird. This is not landing.
Josué Cardona 5:15
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And I mean, and this movie. It does, it reminds me, you know, I mean, we haven’t even gotten to like, the anxiety stuff. But like, just this piece of it reminds me of part of our discussion about the Mitchell versus the machines. Right? It’s like, sure, that technology, we can talk about that technology, but also, like, let’s not ignore all of the terrible parts of this. I mean, and it is, you know, it is it is leaning into the big bad Corporation type of type of thing or people within the corporation with nefarious intent. But it doesn’t, it feels grounded, in a way. Because it is, you know, it is a device that we we there devices that we have at home that we don’t think about. I don’t think that I mean, some people do think about them this way. But But I think most people don’t.
Link Keller 6:18
I mean, a big part of what goes into designing these, this technology is to make it as unobtrusive as possible. And so there’s very much a encouragement from the user interfaces to be like, don’t don’t think about it. Like you don’t need to think about don’t even worry, don’t fret, your little minds, just, you know, it’s there. And you use it when you need to, and otherwise ignore its existence.
Josué Cardona 6:48
Link Keller 6:50
Which is not great. But from a design perspective, like if that’s the intention, they nailed it. Yeah, okay. So basic plot of Kimi is that it takes place in the modern era, post, concurrently, COVID time, and Angela has agoraphobia. And so she works from home, and she does not leave her house. She’s very uncomfortable leaving her house. She has a lot of behaviors that she does that are built into to keep her safe and contained within her home. Which, you know, the agoraphobia aspect is always very interesting. Mental health stuff, but it fits in so nicely with the idea of like, Nah, dog, the whole world is supposed to be inside, like, many people are working from home and have to deal with like, Okay, can I get the things that I need from outside to come to where I am inside. So she’s, she’s working from home. And she gets a message to she’s listening to the audio recordings from Kimi speakers. And she’s going through and she’s fixing, you know, Kimi, teaching Kimi like, you know, that’s a slang term. And this is, you know, like a different pronunciation of something and all that stuff. And she overhears a recording, that sounds like a violent altercation between people. And she immediately tries to report this to people above her. And then, because it’s a thriller, movie, exciting things happen. And it’s
Josué Cardona 9:04
exciting things happen. Exciting things exciting.
Link Keller 9:06
It’s exciting. It’s is a cool movie. I enjoyed it. It had a fun ending. But mostly, I just wanted to talk about how anxiety is like portrayed in movies that we watch and how it gets worked into this COVID stuff, I think is really important that we are seeing that reflected in our media currently, because one still happening and to it like it’s important. It’s an experience a lot of people had to deal with. If you were already an anxious person dealing with the pandemic ratcheted that anxiety up to the max. I remember. Early on in the pandemic, we had a conversation about COVID And I remember expressing that In some ways, I felt less anxious because it felt like other people were finally getting to my level of just normal working anxiety. And there was a sort of relief to that, where it’s like, oh, I finally finally people are sort of understanding, like, the anxiety of existing. But yeah, anyways, I think that this movie is really cool. And I think they did a really good job of showing Angela’s anxiety and her fear of of leaving the house, which was due to her own assault that she experienced. And that was the thing she was coping with. And there’s a scene where she talks on the phone with her her psychiatrist, which I enjoyed, or therapist, I don’t remember if it clarifies which one. And then her talking with her mom. Just seeing the way people are trying to support her. But also recognizing like, it’s is still COVID, like, it’s probably good for you that you don’t go out is like, Oh, how do I reconcile that?
Josué Cardona 11:18
Okay, we haven’t done this in a while where we kind of like pick apart the quality of the representation. So I am sad to report that it’s not a good therapist. She she calls in
Lara Taylor 11:33
we always have hope Josué. We always have hope and then
Josué Cardona 11:36
I know. I know.
Lara Taylor 11:37
And then they take it from us,
Josué Cardona 11:40
I know. So she so she calls Angela. And just goes, Hey, we had a session started 20 minutes ago, they were like, What are you doing? And it wasn’t like a playful Hey, how ya doin’ like. What, what do you do? First of all, what therapists is gonna call their, their, their client 20 minutes later?
Lara Taylor 12:01
Josué Cardona 12:02
that’s no show
Lara Taylor 12:03
no show after 15 minutes
Josué Cardona 12:03
Lara Taylor 12:04
It’s I got a call I have my company calls five minutes after.
Josué Cardona 12:08
Lara Taylor 12:08
And if they don’t show up by the 15th.
Josué Cardona 12:11
You got to break it. And it costs you and you got to pay for that for our time. So no, unrealistic also. Like, just like,
Lara Taylor 12:21
hey, you’re late
Josué Cardona 12:22
scolding her? Yeah, really ever being 20 minutes late.
Lara Taylor 12:25
Like, I will have a conversation like, Hey, what’s up, like?
Josué Cardona 12:31
She was being rude. But, like, here’s your therapist, like, you’re not even checking up on her. You’re just like, You’re being rude.
Link Keller 12:40
And then also, like, immediately shifted into like, Hey, I think that you should just tell the story of what happened to you like, the traumatic thing that’s affecting your life. Like you should just like say it right now is like, whoa, we did not warm up. You came in hot and kind of rude yourself. Like, this is not conducive to the therapeutic relationship
Lara Taylor 13:02
usually build up to that you have a few sessions of like, okay, we’re going to talk about what happens. Sometimes you don’t even have to talk about what happened for trauma work, but if you’re gonna do that, like have a session before Hey, we’re going to talk about your trauma. Let’s like get comfy what are the things that are gonna make you feel safe around you especially with that at home therapy right now with the with the telehealth, this is not this is not sound good to me.
Josué Cardona 13:29
So yeah no, this therapist, EH but bonus points for how bad the video quality was on the call. Doesn’t have to be that way.
Lara Taylor 13:41
I will have you know that my video quality is good.
Josué Cardona 13:45
My quality is good. Your Yeah. Yeah. I mean, look,
Lara Taylor 13:49
I had a colleague asked me what my mic I use because they want a better setup.
Josué Cardona 13:54
Of course. Yeah. Yeah. I’m convinced you know that, that the quality that we’re at my camera, like it’s just distracting in meetings. Even if they don’t bring it up, they’re like, why it’s happening. Why? Why doesn’t this look blurry and terrible?
Lara Taylor 14:13
why do you look like a real person?
Josué Cardona 14:15
What are you like, Why do you sound clear? Why is your back anyway? I mean, that’s
Link Keller 14:19
I’m sorry, what were you saying? You’re just so handsome and in high definition, and I can’t what? I missed it. Oh.
Josué Cardona 14:28
Just so bonus points for the for the blurry therapist. Yeah, not good. And then, so the agoraphobia. i i so this is this is my opinion. I’ve worked with with clients where with agoraphobia, and but just like all anxiety, I mean, it can look so many different ways. But what I appreciated about the way that they showed it and they don’t call it out specifically, right, they don’t they don’t say that she has agoraphobia
Link Keller 14:55
they don’t say that she has agoraphobia in the movie. They do say it in The little
Lara Taylor 15:02
Josué Cardona 15:03
okay, okay, okay, okay, then then Yep. Then we then we then we will address it as,
Lara Taylor 15:08
Josué Cardona 15:08
as if they’re intending to show agoraphobia. So what? What I appreciated about it was that she seems cool. She’s like flirting with neighbors, she’s texting, she’s so she’s good at her job, she’s got equipment, blah, blah, blah. And she wants to go outside. And she tries. And that’s when you see it. It’s like, it’s just like its. That door, it’s just it is an insurmountable obstacle, and she feels defeated. And you see the struggle, of that experience of going of passing that threshold out. So I appreciated that
Lara Taylor 15:51
very different from the experience of like, it’s COVID, I just want to stay inside and do nothing, right? Or live my life inside. This is this is someone who genuinely it’s, I guess, you would say, like, impairing her functioning, she wants to go out, she wants a life out there. And it’s not and the door is, like, essentially, in her mind barred and locked with 25 different locks, and there’s a big dog in front of it, and it’s on fire.
Josué Cardona 16:22
Yeah. But I think I think that part was, you know, like, I appreciated the way that they showed that. It’s like, it’s, it’s that piece of it, right? Like, she’s, she feel safe at home and she’s comfortable. Like, she’s, she’s productive, you know, she’s productive. She has, she has a job she has, you know, a social life. Like she’s connected, all these things are fine. You know, or seem healthy. She seemed, you know, capable. And then boom, like, that is that’s the clinically significant component. It’s not like, Oh, she’s agoraphobic. Look, you know, and then they represented her as like, you know, something like, like, super nervous all the time inside the house or something different. You know, it was like, No, this is this is what’s happening. And when they in there was a moment where they address someone, she’s talking to a doctor, I believe was a dentist, maybe not, maybe not that it was some sort of
Link Keller 16:22
it was her dentist,
Josué Cardona 17:01
it was a dentist, right? Yeah. And he said, You I thought you were getting better at about this meaning, you know, the fear of the anxiety or the fear of leaving the house. And as you said, I was, but then COVID happened, you know, like, like, imagine how many people right like
Lara Taylor 17:38
went through that?
Josué Cardona 17:39
Oh, my God, I Yeah. Deeply related to that part. Because I have not been to a dentist in a really long time. And I know I need to go. I don’t have a lot of like dentist specific anxieties, but just setting up appointments and and like finding a place to go and going and doing the whole intake and I know they’ll need to do X rays. And I know I have a cavity that so I’ll have to do a second appointment for the cavity filling as like that.
Lara Taylor 18:11
And it’s the one appointment where you can’t wear a mask. The one appointment
Link Keller 18:16
Yeah. I’ve gotten so used to having my lower face covered in the public. And now it’s like, I have to go reveal myself This is worse than gynecology like, damn, oh, you’re gonna stick your hands in my mouth, ugh.
Josué Cardona 18:34
So it had been years and so I went to the dentist and and I also waited until until just recently to go. And I do have dentist anxiety. I hate it. And the moment they like, prep me, my throat just closed up. And every day I was like I need to, and I had to stop and I had to like breathe and drink some water and then get back into it. Also had been so long since I went to the dentist that they couldn’t even do the whole cleaning in one shot. It was like to come twice just
Lara Taylor 19:08
my so I didn’t go to the dentist for the first 24 years of my life.
Link Keller 19:13
Josué Cardona 19:13
why is this a thing that we have in common, this is not we should edit this out.
Lara Taylor 19:19
But I had to have a cleaning like four quad they did it all for Jelle. Yeah, I had to be numbed up for each one. And I was impressed with how little damage I had done to my mouth in those 24 years.
Josué Cardona 19:32
Because your teeth hadn’t seen the light of day in 20 years.
Link Keller 19:37
I mean, it’s funny if you’re if you’re going from birth to 24 You did swap out a pair of teeth in there. So yeah. I mean, you had a soft restart.
Lara Taylor 19:48
I hate to be my last baby tooth came out when I was like 13 So
Link Keller 19:53
it’s pretty impressive. Yeah. Really, really held in.
Lara Taylor 19:57
Yeah, but it’s that thing. Like,
Josué Cardona 20:00
couldn’t get past all that plaque and stuff that
Lara Taylor 20:05
never went to the dentist, but it my teeth are okay.
Josué Cardona 20:10
They weren’t a chrysalis.
Lara Taylor 20:11
They weren’t a chrysalis. They were a Pokemon. They’re butterfrees. Um, but I think yeah, COVID I haven’t been since COVID. Because of that, like, I don’t want to go somewhere where I don’t have to wear a mask. Like, I haven’t even gotten my eyes checked because I’m worried about putting my face up against that face thing.
Josué Cardona 20:35
Lara Taylor 20:36
so makes and match. She’s on the on the phone, or on a call with her dentist, because dentistry is one of the ones you can’t really get much accomplished through telehealth
Josué Cardona 20:46
So So Okay, okay, so a few things, right. First of all, I think her the idea that she was in treatment, you know, already or making progress. And then that happens. So many people just not even necessarily in treatment, just like, you’re you’re trying to improve your life. It could have just been like, oh, I started going to the gym, you know, and I was healthy. And all of a sudden, like, you don’t have access to that right? the, the stalling of that of that progress. They kind of address that. Now with the dentist thing. She’s like, just like staring Ah, he’s like, Yeah, we open a little more and trying to see like through a webcam
Lara Taylor 21:29
to do that horrible quality webcam.
Josué Cardona 21:31
Yep. Yep. And, but, I mean, the movie doesn’t address this, specifically, but I mean, in last few years, there’s so many things that we say you can’t do that, you know, you can’t do that remotely. And a lot of things you could do that remotely. You know, yes, you can’t do a root canal. You can’t get an x ray. Yeah, she was like, look like I don’t, I’m not gonna go in, can I, if you can tell that it’s infected, can I get some antibiotics, and he doesn’t want to, but eventually, he does give her antibiotics, because he was gonna give it to her anyway. And then recommend that she did a root canal, but she was able to get treatment. You know? And I mean, I typically like that’s medicine also. Yeah, we’re
Lara Taylor 22:19
kind of meeting her where she’s at?
Link Keller 22:20
Yeah, well, you know, the, the line of like, I thought you were getting better shows to me that he was, you know, apprised of her situation and an understanding of the kind of care that she required. And I thought that that was really nice, touching, respectful, that he was, like, look, like, there are things that I could take my equipment and come to you, but this is not the case. Like I can’t do a root canal without my actual equipment. And her being like, look, just just give me the antibiotics. Like, that’s, that is where I’m at, that is what I can do. And him being like, okay, it’s like, that feels very responsible as, as a person who is providing health care to somebody who, you know, is not able to do all of the things that a regular patient might be able to do, you know, like, come into the office. And so I think that was, that was a nice little touch that. Yeah, you know, she’s not hiding that that aspect her agoraphobia. She’s not hiding that from other people. She is upfront about like, look, I don’t, I’m not gonna I’m not going out. I’m not
Josué Cardona 23:40
even this is this is the type of when we talk about accommodations, like you don’t need a disability or disorder to be accommodated. Like, it’s just easier for me, you know, like, I’d rather not. Can we do it, I’ll pay for it. This reminds me with my psychiatrist. When the, for a while I was like no, you can just send my medication through the mail. And I remember the first response was, actually my psychiatrist had no problem the nurse practitioner was like, no, like, we can’t send that kind of medication through the mail. I was like, you can because I’ve been receiving it for like three months already through the mail. So it’s definitely possible. She’s like, Oh, well, I’ll try. And sure enough, I I get I get my medication through the mail. Do I have to three pharmacies within walking distance? Yes. That’s not That’s not the point. It’s you can send it it. Why not? Thank you, and thank you for it’s easier that way. No, Um, but also, so there was a dentist, there was that if there was sort of
Link Keller 25:06
circling back, she is in a relationship with a neighbor across the street that she can see into his window. And he comes over and have sex and the whole, like, in the, you know, opening scene, She’s flirting with him. And she’s like, Hey, meet me down at the, at the food truck on the, you know, down on the street in between us, I’ll meet you for breakfast. And that’s the whole scene of her getting ready. And trying to leave and then not being able to, I thought that was so neat, because they showed all these little details that I felt really reflected what it is, like, when you have high level anxiety of you have all these little steps that you take to make things as easy as possible, she has, you know, her coat on the hook right next to the door, the key bowl with the key on top, right next to the door, she puts her purse on and then realizes it’s not it’s facing the wrong way. So she takes it back off and puts it on so that the zipper is in the front, it’s easy to reach into to get her hand sanitizer, which she uses the hand sanitizer the same way every time, which I thought was a fun little detail of where you have these, these behaviors that you do that help relieve that anxiety just a little bit. And so you do it every time and it becomes this pattern of behavior to just try and get to the point where she can leave, she gets all ready to go shoes, jacket, keys, she gets the key in the door to unlock her deadbolt. And that’s it. That was she couldn’t do it. And so she backed out she undressed, put it back down and was just like I can’t, I can’t.
Link Keller 25:09
There were there was a combination of like, the the ritual piece that you’re talking about. And then there were some of the things that seemed to be more look like OCD in the sense of because there’s, there’s two different, they may look similar. But one is like, Oh, if I do this, you know, like I’m, I’m, I’m more ready to, okay, this is the order that I do things now I’m ready, right? It’s like I’m prepared. And I you know, have some of those. And, or maybe just like, oh, I need I need all this stuff. Like I’m not going to leave until I have all this stuff, right? Because maybe it’s just like reassuring,
Lara Taylor 27:25
makes you feel comforted
Josué Cardona 27:26
comforted or even more confident? Yeah, save all that. But then there’s other things that are more like OCD, so or like OCD symptoms where the person like the neighbor, like he comes over, but he didn’t follow the steps, right? And it’s like, it has to like you, we have to complete this circle. You know, otherwise, it’s, it’s just, it’s going to be like, we cannot move forward until this circle is completed. And that’s different. Right. And so I think she has she has both of those are represented and, and, um, in those moments. Yeah,
Link Keller 28:04
I definitely think people with OCD will definitely relate to that seen as being representative of the steps you have to take to get to where you’re trying to go. And how many, like little tiny things like have to happen, and they maybe have to happen in order. Otherwise, the whole thing is off the table.
Josué Cardona 28:29
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, I did. Again, this can show up in so many different ways, but I did appreciate how, you know, she was she was you could see how agitated she was by the fact that he was not willing to follow the process and complete the, you know, in complete the loop versus just like, you know, tapping three things in order you know, like stepping over the line, you know, stuff that is that you’d usually see on on TV that doesn’t isn’t really representative of probably most people’s experience. Yeah, yeah. Cuz like for her it could be that thing, right. It’s like there’s you cannot enter the enter my place without, like, the buzzer. And then the thing that thing, right, there’s that there’s a certain order. Yeah, so a lot of this stuff is happening in the movie. It’s, it’s her character being flushed out. And I think so. I’m curious how you feel about this. Link, because we have that scene at the beginning where she, she’s flirting, right? It’s like, we’re seeing a cool, confident character. And then we have the scene where she she’s unable to leave so she doesn’t meet up with with the neighbor. And then later on in the movie, something happens. And it’s a different motivation that she has right to leave the house. So her motivation here is it’s it’s physical, it’s sexual. All right, it’s it’s it’s, um, she’s, she’s flirting with this guy. She wants to meet up with him. And later on, he’s the one that comes over and they spend the night together. She like, that’s that dynamic, and she is motivated to go out to meet him. And not even it wasn’t even for sex. Right? It was just like, go grab an egg thing at the food.
Link Keller 30:21
The ol’ breakfast burrito?
Josué Cardona 30:23
Yeah, yeah. Right. It’s like, okay, well, we’ll do that. And he, he’s there and she sees him through the window after this. You can’t go. And you know, she’s like, you can tell she’s disappointed in herself. But we see that right, like how hard it is for her to go. And her motivation to go was pretty good. It was positive, right? Later on. Her motivation is completely different. To then leave, right. So she wasn’t motivated enough to go get her abscess. Now that I think about it, right? Like they keep they put all these things in. Right? There was the the she has the infection like she will not go to the dentist.
Link Keller 31:00
She’s currently in pain. And she’s still like, that is not enough.
Josué Cardona 31:04
Yep. And she’s she’s she doesn’t even. She doesn’t even entertain the thought of leaving at that point. She’s like, Absolutely not. She at least tried to leave
Lara Taylor 31:14
with the neighbor
Josué Cardona 31:14
to go have a date. Yeah. Yeah. And, but then something happens. And she. And so So what what how do you what do you think for dramatic, I think that for dramatic effect, it was, it was an interesting way to to show her anxiety as an obstacle. And what pushed her over to do that? So how would you characterize her what motivated her to finally actually leave the house.
Link Keller 31:42
So she, she reports, the assault audio, and she is told that she needs to go in and meet with this person who’s going to help her handle it. And I think both the aspect of this being like her job. And therefore, it’s more like externalized to her versus a romantic encounter versus self care of going to the dentist. This is like this is a work thing. My job is to report this kind of stuff. And I’m going to report the stuff. But I also think that they really touch on the aspect of she thinks that she has heard a sexual assault, and that she had experienced a sexual assault, which led to her agoraphobia. And I think that that was enough of a personal connection, but also an externalized thing for her to finally be able to turn that key and unlock the door and actually leave. And the scene of her actually leaving the apartment is so stressful like she she is just a ball of anxiety, but she is pushing through. She’s gonna do it. Oh, yeah. Yeah. That is my that’s my theory on that. Yeah, it’s that if it had just been like, I heard something potentially bad. That wouldn’t have been enough. But because it was like, I think I heard a sexual assaults. This,
Josué Cardona 33:08
I think so
Link Keller 33:09
hits close to home.
Josué Cardona 33:11
I think I think so, too. So yeah, I don’t think the fact that it was just a work thing. had anything to do with it. Like this. This is again, I don’t know for sure. Right. I feel like the motivation was the person on that call with someone like me at first, and
Lara Taylor 33:29
I want to do something for them.
Josué Cardona 33:31
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So there’s like, a part of it is like, you know, I don’t nobody did this for me. I’m gonna I’m gonna help this person. Right. Like I relate to
Lara Taylor 33:41
a mastery kind of situation
Josué Cardona 33:43
Lara Taylor 33:43
to do something for someone else.
Josué Cardona 33:44
Yeah. Yeah. But this is a movie. And so it’s, it’s not just an assault at this point. Right. Like, she knows. It’s way worse than that. But then we find out more dramatic effect that when she had her assault, she was put on trial, basically, like, she’s like, they, she reported it and they flipped it on her and they blamed her right, like it was it was the worst possible scenario of this so at that point, I think she’s like, this is my chance to to make somebody pay for what they did. Right. Like, and so it’s more than just
Lara Taylor 34:25
it’s support of somebody. It’s justice. in a way
Link Keller 34:28
Josué Cardona 34:29
it felt like yeah, like justice to me. Right. And, and I don’t, I’m not sure that this is what you said. Link, but but like, it’s definitely not I don’t think from now on, she’s like, she can leave the house. Right. It’s like, it’s like this one thing was such a strong driver that it was it was enough to push her through. It’s like there’s two competing forces. And this sense of an I think Justice is probably the right word was enough. It was stronger than the anxiety. And so she was able to pass that barrier. And once she was out, it was like, oh shit, I’m outside, right? Okay, but I keep going and then and then I’m out. So I’m gonna, I’m gonna go do this thing. And, and the world sucks in the world. She like the whole situation she’s going into it’s like, just proving that you should have stayed home. At least as far as I got. Right? Like, I haven’t. I haven’t watched the end yet. But yeah, so I, I like, how they used I’m curious how other people feel about this, but I kind of like how they use her anxiety as a, as a plot device. Right? Um, I think, yeah, I kind of I kind of like that, that they showed us different versions of it. And then they’re like, Nope, you can get like, let’s give her a reason. Like another motive, another motivation to compare it to. So that it to the this exit. Feels like she’s just walking out the door. But I think they gave us enough to make that meaningful. And I think especially, we talk about mental health or mental illness being an invisible disease, right, where you can’t, you can’t see it. And I think probably most of us with anxiety, have experienced someone just telling us like, what’s the big deal just do the thing
Lara Taylor 36:42
just calm down.
Josué Cardona 36:44
Or just calm down? Just
Link Keller 36:45
don’t worry about it.
Josué Cardona 36:46
Just go just make the call or make the phone call.
Link Keller 36:49
just call the dentist, fuck
Josué Cardona 36:51
you don’t you don’t understand how difficult it right and it’s hard to explain it. So I like the fact that they they framed it in a positive like they they gave her these good reasons to leave and how it was still hard for her to go. And she struggled. It reminds me of of Depression Quest, right where it puts this situation where you see the options but you know that like
Lara Taylor 37:19
all the options suck
Josué Cardona 37:21
no no and Depression Quest what they do is that the that the depending on on your condition in the game
Lara Taylor 37:30
some don’t show up or they’re cropped out
Link Keller 37:31
they’re grayed out, yeah,
Josué Cardona 37:32
you see them, you can see them. But since you’re playing the role of someone who is experiencing the symptoms of depression, you even though you can see it, the options are not available to you. So so we see
Lara Taylor 37:44
like her going out on this date. it got, it’s crossed out, right?
Josué Cardona 37:48
The door is there, right and maybe maybe you know if you’re but if you if you can kind of put yourself that you’re seeing it through through her eyes where it’s like she cannot pass this this threshold
Link Keller 38:01
she’s got a multi step quest and she can do all of them. But by the time she gets to the open door to leave the game glitched and now she can’t do it. It won’t it’s not interactable. Now
Lara Taylor 38:12
you’re gonna have to start all over again.
Link Keller 38:13
I just got to reload my save.
Josué Cardona 38:16
She was missing the key to go through there or she hadn’t reached the level required to or something. I don’t know what would be a good what would be the good it’s well Oh, part of it is like oh, you you need to like complete, you know, the three pieces of the thing to get out of the dungeon. So like, I think in her mind, it’s like that, right where she’s gotta do these rituals to be able to have everything in place before before she can leave. But I feel like it’s it might be more like a game where you huh? Oh, it’s um I can’t think of a game that does this. Where you’re gonna take damage, you know, you’re gonna take damage but if you don’t have if you’re if your HP isn’t high enough, you won’t survive the the threshold. You know, I know I’ve I’ve played that experience but I can’t think of boilers right now.
Lara Taylor 39:13
I mean, there’s similar like Breath of the Wild if you don’t have enough hearts, you can’t
Link Keller 39:19
I was literally thinking Breath of the Wild. I’m like, Yeah, you gotta eat you’re like eight heart star stew before you go into that fight because he just
Josué Cardona 39:27
isn’t it? Isn’t the the Master Sword Master?
Lara Taylor 39:30
the master sword yeah
Josué Cardona 39:31
Sure. If you try to pull the Master Sword if you don’t have enough hearts, it like it.
Lara Taylor 39:34
It will kill you.
Josué Cardona 39:35
It kills you. Right? Yeah. Okay, so that’s kind of how it is. Right? So it was like, you know, like, she had to fill her hearts up enough to, to like, move past the thing. Like make a jump in a game where you’re like, I’m missing the the thing. It’s technically possible, you know, but most of the time
Lara Taylor 39:53
why you gotta bring up jumping, Josué you know, I can’t handle jumping.
Josué Cardona 39:56
Some people are
Lara Taylor 39:57
just traumatized me again
Josué Cardona 39:58
some people just can’t do jumping puzzles. Yeah.
Lara Taylor 40:04
It’s very sad.
Josué Cardona 40:06
Yeah. Okay. We’ll wait for you. You can do it. Sometimes you need to triple jump, double jump ain’t enough.
Link Keller 40:15
Lara Taylor 40:16
Yeah, yeah. Mm hmm.
Josué Cardona 40:19
I mean, so So Kimi is actually a Metroidvania where you see the legends and stuff but you you just haven’t unlocked the the gear that you need to get to explore the rest of the map. Metroid dread actually does this thing where it gives you there are enemies that you can metroid dread is actually the perfect one. So Metro dread, you defeat an enemy and then it gives you a power up that you only have for a limited time. And then you use that to beat another boss in the same area. And then that allows you but it’s a you spend it completely. And so you you lose it right there. It’s not a permanent upgrade. It’s like a temporary upgrade to that. That’s what Angela has, it’s a temporary upgrade. And then she can
Lara Taylor 41:17
that’s good that she’s got that upgraded. Because earlier when she’s got keeps trying to go out or whatever it feels like when my family got me Prince of Persia 2 for the Sega Genesis, and I could not play I could not play I literally would start the game. And like run into into some blades or something and die within 10 seconds of playing the game over and over and over. So like then that’s when she gives up and she’s like, Fine, I’m not going to the dentist or anything. I’m just I’m not gonna do it. My tooth hurts. I’m done. I give up. Throw away that cartridge
Josué Cardona 41:53
those old prince of persia games, the way he moves like his feet, right? It’s like, it’s so hard to like know, where you’re putting the animation. So we literally played
Lara Taylor 42:02
like 10 seconds of the game, probably 100 times over. And then I was like I’m done. Yeah, yeah. Good.
Josué Cardona 42:09
Yeah. Yeah. So So actually, um, something something about the leaving, right. Like, I don’t know, I’m not sure if I said anything that I would take back in terms of motivation. Like, I know, I used the words motivation. But I don’t know if that’s the best way to say to say it, because it’s it wasn’t that she was lacking motivation before. Right, that she had. And I think and I think a positive. And I’m glad that they were both positive framings. Right. Like it wasn’t she was running away from something. Both things were things that she was she wanted to go toward, or things that she wanted to achieve. But I don’t
Lara Taylor 42:12
sometimes its not finding the right motivator.
Josué Cardona 42:22
But I don’t think I don’t think that’s I don’t think that’s, that’s fair to the experience of anxiety. Right? Like, you can be super, super motivated, right? In terms of as as a as a quantity. Right as like an energy. It’s like you, you may have a desire to do it. But it’s not. Because I also don’t want to make it sound like Oh, you didn’t want it to bad enough, right? Like, you want to justice more than you wanted to see your friend. And that’s not fair. That’s not really that’s not really accurate. But I don’t I don’t know that the movie was trying to say that. Do you think do you feel like the movie was? Like that’s what the movie said? I don’t I don’t think
Link Keller 43:34
no, I I think that the way that they’ve portrayed these experiences was like a build up, right is like we are seeing that she is already, you know, making these attempts. She has, COVID has caused like a backslide in her treatment. But she hasn’t given up. She is still making that effort. She’s got the motivation to try. It takes a very specific situation at a very specific point in time for her to actually overcome that final resistance. Yeah, that’s, that’s I think, and I think that that that is relatable in the real world where it’s like there, there are certain contexts in which the resistances that you have are more manageable. There’s even even if you don’t want it as bad as you know, you want to go see your friend or whatever. It’s unclear. We don’t get that sort of internal aspect of Angela’s character. But I think I think this the situation, the context, in the moment in time where we’ve already seen her attempt to go see the boyfriend and then hold her boundary with the dentist and then try and get something to happen with the A woman she’s reporting to she’s talking to that lady’s assistant in like, desperately trying to get ahold of her and trying to do this via phone. And, and the, you know, stars align, where she’s finally like, you know what, fuck it, I’m gonna do it this time.
Josué Cardona 45:18
So that’s, that’s the thing like the stars align piece, I think.
Link Keller 45:22
And that is not something that you can internalize on yourself, right? That is something where it’s like you need to recognize you exist within an environment. And there are going to be
Josué Cardona 45:31
Link Keller 45:32
things outside of your control, that sometimes it they line up and they work for you. And sometimes they line up to absolutely stop you from doing what you’re trying to do.
Lara Taylor 45:42
Right, the whole biopsychosocial model, like different aspects. Yeah,
Josué Cardona 45:48
we know she’s on medication, right? We know, we know. Like, she didn’t see her therapist that week. Right? She, there’s so many different things.
Lara Taylor 45:56
She’s in pain
Josué Cardona 45:57
yeah. she had sex, right? Like, like back in like that can completely change your mood. It can affect your hormones, like there are so many different things that we we often don’t realize. And then if, if, if we’re struggling with anxiety, those feed into each other. So maybe one day, you’re like, things were easier today. And you don’t think about the fact that you slept really well, the night before, and you had good things happen and your support systems in place and
Link Keller 46:26
you ate nutritiously and you had a good bowel movement, like it all adds up
Lara Taylor 46:31
you exercised, Yeah,
Josué Cardona 46:33
yep. Yep. You’re, you’re okay. And so this is something that shows up to she has these disagreement with the neighbor who’s upstairs who’s like, they’re doing construction upstairs. And so they’ve negotiated a time for them to make noise, you know, like, the, the effect that just not having your quiet, comfortable space, you know, like having all these additional things, especially, I mean, some affect you more than others. It’s like, there’s so many different pieces. That’s why I think they could be a whole bunch of like different life bars and energy bars and things like that, right. And then different combinations of them, make certain things easier to do or more difficult to do. So if you’re struggling with something, whatever it is, in her case it’s this agoraphobia, like maybe other things are in place to, you know, like, I don’t recall if she already had the, I don’t I don’t think she had already received the antibiotics to help her with the pain for the tooth. Because she, the way they they have the scene and they show a few different bottles of medication that she’s taking. And when she when she’s gonna go out the first time she grabs two of them, and then she’s like, I’m gonna grab the third one just in case. I don’t need it, but maybe I will. But right after she talks to the dentist, and he says he’s gonna center the antibiotics. They show her in the bathroom taking a pill. But But like, they didn’t show the bottle like I don’t know, I didn’t look like an item.
Link Keller 47:08
I think that was anxiety medication. That’s how that’s how I took it is that she was Yeah, was her anxiety.
Josué Cardona 48:15
I wasn’t sure. But but now I’m just thinking of it in the context of that she was in pain, maybe she took pain medicine, she feels better. You know, maybe she took some other medication. It actually eased her symptoms, you know, and maybe in the, in the morning, she hadn’t taken her anxiety medication. And it was harder. Maybe by the afternoon, gee, look, the movie doesn’t go into that much detail. Okay, now we’re doing our, you know, we’re we’re doing what nobody else will do. Right. So I mean, it’s possible that they that that is actually part of what’s happening, but the movie isn’t explicitly telling you that that’s happening, but, but it’s worth addressing, because, again, I thinking back to what I said before, I don’t want to make it sound like if you just want to enough, you know, you can overcome your anxiety and there may be some anxieties that you have some fears that that through some kind of rationalization you can get through them. There are some that I can get through that way. There’s some that I cannot at least not easily and not yet. Right?
Link Keller 49:23
or, consistently, Right? Like that’s like there can, if you’re you know, in in the right headspace. It’s like okay, I can I can logic my way around this anxiety. And then there are other situations where it’s like, nope, I know the logic is there. It doesn’t help.
Josué Cardona 49:42
Yeah. And maybe even again, just just this is possible that the like, the way she felt after the the first time that we saw right, also contributed to her ability to be able to do it the next time. I don’t want to feel that way. Or like I got close. Right? It was Yeah, it’d be her was
Link Keller 50:05
the very last step of unlocking the deadbolt on my door. I had everything ready to go. I was ready. It’s just that last thing. It’s like, Okay, this time, I’ve got just a little bit more that I can do that final step.
Josué Cardona 50:20
Yeah. And the reason why we can even have so much like such a detailed conversation about this is because it’s a the movie is at least the first hour of it is just is is intimately. Just, you know, it’s 99% You’re with Angela at home, her doing stuff, because this is actually a movie that, like sometimes I’ll step away and go to the kitchen because people are talking so I don’t need to watch every scene if I if I missed something in and when I you know, I’ll rewind it when I come back. But there were parts of nobody’s talking because you’re just seeing her alone in her house, living her life doing stuff or texting, you know, or looking at the computer. And so a lot of the story is happening in through her interaction with her environment. It’s a pretty cool movie to dissect. I think I think it was a good idea to to bring it up here. Yeah. Any anything anything else about the movie that you? You think
Link Keller 51:28
we’ve touched on this stuff that I was excited about? I think Zoë Kravitz did a fantastic job in this role. She
Josué Cardona 51:35
Link Keller 51:36
as Kimi. She’s, I felt her anxiety if it didn’t feel like a hammed up traumatic thriller version of anxiety. It felt like getting to witness somebody trying to hold shit together. When it’s really, really hard to do that.
Josué Cardona 51:57
And try to get justice and do the right thing.
Link Keller 52:00
Josué Cardona 52:00
yeah yeah yeah. And be a hero, even though Yeah,
Link Keller 52:05
fight against systemic issues.
Josué Cardona 52:08
Yeah, yeah. Any comments, Lara, closing thoughts.
Lara Taylor 52:13
Sounds like a really good portrayal of agoraphobia and anxiety. Very different from the only other one that comes to mind is Sheila on Shameless.
Josué Cardona 52:30
Lara Taylor 52:31
She’s the neighbor who
Josué Cardona 52:33
Lara Taylor 52:34
Cusak, Yeah, who can’t she like tries so hard at one point to get outside because she’s in love with Frank Gallagher and can’t manage to get past her doorstep. There’s a whole episode about her trying to get out the door. I think there’s a few episodes where they Yeah, trail that. Yeah, very different. Shameless is very much not a thriller. Yeah.
Josué Cardona 52:58
Also, they had Joan Cusack do it. Yeah. You know that there was they? There was a particular portrayal.
Lara Taylor 53:07
They went over the top.
Link Keller 53:08
Lara Taylor 53:09
I mean, they go over the top on that show.
Link Keller 53:11
I’ve seen several horror movies like to utilize agoraphobia as a as a plot device. and it. I have never seen it and portrayed this compassionately.
Josué Cardona 53:26
Link Keller 53:29
yeah. Okay. Yeah, it’s cool movie. It’s worth checking out over. At least the first hour hah!. No,
Josué Cardona 53:38
the first hour
Link Keller 53:38
listeners, the last 30 minutes are worth it.
Josué Cardona 53:42
Yep. I did not have enough time to finish watching it. So that’s why
Lara Taylor 53:48
we only talked about the first hour.
Josué Cardona 53:49
Nobody. Yep. Nobody’s spoiled anything for me. Thank you.
Link Keller 53:53
I did my best.
Josué Cardona 53:55
I will finish. Thank you. Thank you. Yeah. So let us know what you think of, of Kimi. And the stuff that we talked about agree, disagree. Share your opinion with us on social media, email us. Join us on the GT forum. Links to all that stuff is in the show notes. Thank you so much for listening. Remember to geek out and do good. We’ll be back next week.
Link Keller 54:24
Josué Cardona 54:27
Geek Therapy is a 501 C three nonprofit organization dedicated to making the world a better place to geek culture. To learn more about our mission and become a supporter, visit geek therapy.org
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Characters / Media
- Kimi (2022)
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine
- The Mitchells vs. The Machines (2021)
- Depression Quest
- Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- Metroid Dread
- Prince of Persia 2
- Shiela Jackson / Shameless
Themes / Topics
* Difficult emotions
* Mental Health Services
* Sexual Assault
* Standing up for others
* Health (Physical)
* Other: Dentist
Links / Social Media
Check out the GT Network: network.geektherapy.com
GT Forum: forum.geektherapy.org
GT Discord: geektherapy.com/discord
GT Facebook Group: facebook.com/groups/geektherapy
Join the Conversation!
What are some other examples of agoraphobia portrayals in media?