I did not know what to expect with “The Talented Mr. Ripley.” All I wanted as another spy movie. Instead, I got “The Mysterious Yearning Secretive Sad Lonely Troubled Confused Loving Musical Gifted Intelligent Beautiful Tender Sensitive Haunted Passionate Talented Mr. Ripley” (full U.S. title).
(plot spoiler imminent)
A man who is very insecure about his identity succeeds in assuming the identity of his new best friend, whom he admires, loathes, resents, sexualizes (w/o having sex w/), and kills in the process (2nd degree murder).
What is fascinating about this depiction is the clarity with which we see Tom Ripley seek his own identity in Dickie Greenleaf. For him, to love is to become. When that fails, he must kill in order to become the object of his obession. He has no self, or very little stable sense of one.
Is it possible that sexual identity is just one of the more vivid/controversial/painful/awkward-to-talk-about manifestations of our whole being? A surface symptom of deeper things going on? Or is what you see what you get?