Analysis of the Movie 'The Kid'

The main character of Russ Duritz who is a successful image consultant. His life is unexpectedly turned upside down when he magically comes across with Rusty Russ himself as an 8-year-old kid.

Jan 7, 2024 - 00:38
Jan 7, 2024 - 14:38
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Analysis of the Movie 'The Kid'
'The Kid'

Rusty is a sweet, but little bit geeky,  weird little kid who painfully reminds Russ of everything he hated about himself the time when he was a child-a fat, little cry-baby who was the daily bullied of the school bullies-an image Russ has worked hard to overcome and consciously forget. On the other hand, he overreacts madly when someone shows their child side and cannot stand at that situation. These reactions come from ‘criticizing parenting’.

Him and his girlfriend, Amy, generally argue about the time Russ changes suddenly and Amy mentions like that “whenever I think about his form (his natural child side comes out) you ruin everything before I even feel the joy of it (criticizing parenting reactions). Additionally, he uses critical, parental language when speaking with Miss Janet, his secretary. These are typically child-generated attitudes that are critical of their parents. for the most part, he is immature and irrationally angry. He ends the call with Miss Janet each time. He expresses his wishes, asks impulsive questions that come to mind, gets his suspicions confirmed, and then abruptly ends the call.

Other than his clients, Russell doesn't interact with many people on a daily basis. He makes it difficult for anyone to approach him. When her father unexpectedly visits her office, he questions Miss Amy about why he allowed her to enter without telling her. Even his closest relatives are inside his boundaries, but he cannot accept that. The anger he feels towards his father is very fresh, even though he hasn't seen him for years. Russell is upset with his father for a number of reasons, including the fact that he blames himself for his mother's passing, that as a child he ignored his own anxieties and vented his rage on her, that he fails to provide for her in trying times, that he treats her more like a critical parent than a loving one, and that he withholds his love, warmth, and attention. He believes he can escape everything that makes him think of his early years by staying away from family get-togethers. Furthermore, the majority of his early recollections have been lost. The only feelings still present from those memories are theirs.

Russell intends to face his past when he chooses to spend a week with Russ from the past. Naturally, things happen one after the other. He can see the exact moment his eye started to twitch when he travels back in time. His father shakes and angrily informs his son that his mother is seriously ill and will pass away shortly. If Russ doesn't stop upsetting her, they will lose him much sooner. Russ twitches an eye trying to figure out what this is all about. Russell notices the surprise and tears in his first eye twitch. "Is my mother going to die because of me?" Russ questioned. He answers the question in a compassionate voice, explaining that his father actually reacted this way because he took responsibility for Russ and could not handle it on his own. Maybe that's when he forgives his father for the first time. As an adult, he understands why his father reacted the way he did. Russell's attitude also changes when he goes back to his past. He gives natural child reactions. She has fun with Russ, time passes together, and her natural reactions from the past reemerge. He begins to respond to the same stimuli in the same way as Russ. Tics and patterned behaviours emerge. While he is an image maker, he thinks it is pointless to try to change people and put them into certain molds. Russ makes the first criticism on this issue. He says you advise people to lie.

Adler states in his theory that there is huge importance of social interest, lifestyle, sense of inferiority - striving for superiority, superiority complex, life tasks, family influence and early recollections in our lives. For social interest, when the main character who is Russ observed, he is quite weak in terms of relationship with people around. There is no close friend around him, and he is pretty distant to people. For instance, when his father tries to be close to him, he cannot close to his father and just help him materially. In addition to this, the people he communicates with most frequently are his secretary Janet and his assistant Amy. He is also in business-oriented meetings with them. Furthermore, Russ reacts to the communication that others want to initiate. As a matter of fact, it is possible to see this reaction in his communication with Deirdre, the lady sitting next to him during the plane journey. When Deidre tries to communicate with him, Russ says “What will I earn from this?” According to these, we can inference from these that Russ has no idea about having and building relationships, he just sees the material side of relationships and there is no beyond that. But after facing with his past self, he starts to realize situations which make weak her social interests. The last parts of the movie, the relationship with people, Rusty, Amy, Janet, Deidre and his dad, become stronger.

Lifestyle shaped from five to eight years old. The first experiences from child, relationship with family, birth order and other factors affect the lifestyle. Adler states four different types which are ruling, leaning, avoiding and socially useful ones. According to these, we can observe two of them in the movie which are ruling and socially useful. The main character of movie who is Russ has ruling type, Amy and Deidre has socially useful type. When the lifestyle attitudes stated by Adler as character typology are examined, it can be said that Russ is first included in the "dominant type". In the first scene of the movie, Russ cannot stand waiting for the customer before him while paying the bill at the cash register, so he pays the customer's fee and displays a rude, domineering attitude towards him. The customer perceives this as a kind gesture and thanks him. Russ then said, "I didn't do it for you, check your luggage next time." He once again shows his rude and domineering attitude with his statement. Russ becomes more of a "socially useful type" toward the end of the movie, even though he is still the "ruling type" for the majority of it. Russ confronts the bad memories of his childhood in his conversation with Rusty to face the scene where he breaks up with Deirdre. He also does this in his subsequent phone conversation with his secretary Janet when he surprises her by taking off. The sequences where he buys her the ticket and tells her that his father will help her move the house. Additionally, we can see the change of his lifestyle from Russ’ sentence, his tone of voice and body language since it becomes softer, and he started to ask kindly rather than command sentences and calmer tone voice rather than angry tone.

Inferiority and superiority are the terms which overlap each other. In his childhood, since he is bullied and beaten in the school, Russ asks for help from boxer to teach him defend himself. Russty's beating by his friends makes him feel inadequate compared to his peers. It can be said that this situation caused him to feel inferior, and that he tried to overcome this in a healthy way by learning boxing (since it is a defense sport) and that he "strived for superiority". On the other hand, Russ choose a job where he can be superior and being image consultant contributes to him to forget past himself. When he takes his child self to Amy and child version of him watches television, scratch his belly, and blend his nose, Russ directly ashamed himself. These scenes directly show both sense of inferiority and striving for superiority terms. Russ develops superiority complex to overcome with him inferiority feeling. We can observe Russ when he has cynical type of communication and easily criticize people.

Family influences has a role in the movie and there are some parts which inform us about the relationship between Russ and his father. His mother passed away when Russ was 9 years old for that reason there is not many scenes about him and his mother. In his childhood and adult life, there is an influence because of his dad. Since Russ’ dad is authoritarian and punisher, Russ develops anger towards him. On the other hand, he takes his dad a role model and adopt similar communication style. It can be seen the scenes where Ross command and yell at people.

Life tasks in the movie can be seen in the first place like that Russ has a job and really successful in it. But still Russ does not feel successful since he cannot be pilot which is his childhood dream. Even though Russ fulfils his life task, he cannot carry out his childhood dream and cannot fulfil completely and feel unsuccessful about that.

About early recollections, in the movie it can be observed that Russ forgets his memories about his childhood. He asks help from Rusty to remember. The first thing he remembered that they moved on 12 times, and he fell apart from their roof. These memories strongly affect and traumatized him. After talking his child version and remember what he went through, it can be seen that Russ repress the situations that affect him and forget them.  

If you decide to watch ‘The Kid’, you can find some things in this movie and think about yourselves as well. After all, we continue to carry with us the traces of things that everyone knows, things we don't know or have forgotten, like baggage.


Derin, S., & Yıldız, E. Ç. (2018). An Adlerian analysis of “The Kid” movie. Eğitim Ve Bilim, 43(193).

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Ela Gönder Ben Ela, Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi Kuzey Kıbrıs Kampusu Psikolojik Danışmanlık ve Rehberlik 4.sınıf öğrencisiyim. Sayedra Psikoloji’de blog yazarı olarak yer alıyorum.