Emotional investments in our constantly shifting internal landscape can secure much needed fuel in our various psychological wellness reserves.

Some experiences and behaviors bring soothing relief, hope and a reservoir of strength when you need it while others can be extremely volatile, depleting and ultimately self-destructive.

Two films that speak to substantial emotional investments in soaring and sinking markets, both initially laden with volatility are the films with gender neutral names; Morgan and Princess Syd.

Speaking about gender neutral, without the Princess tag, could you really tell if the feature character is male or female?

Morgan is a 2016 American science fiction horror film directed by Luke Scott in his directorial debut and written by Seth Owen. The film features an ensemble cast, including Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, Toby Jones, Rose Leslie, Boyd Holbrook, Michelle Yeoh, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Paul Giamatti.

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It is hard to believe this intense horror thriller was smashed at the box office by the comparably mind boggling and seemingly cliché ridden film Don’t Breathe which presents the ridiculous notion that three people should rob a blind guy who just happens to be an Ex-Military Vet with incredible killing abilities without having a clue as to where the stash of money is in his booby trapped massive unlit home.

Oh by the way. They need to get in and out quick, which of course they don’t.

Who came up with that brilliant idea?

Give them green credit.

According to boxofficemojo.com, foreign and domestic sales of Don’t Breathe blew in with gale force financial winds of $157,100,845 while the well written and seemingly well thought out Morgan breathed as though it had a severe case of asthma at $3,915,250 on 2020 screens.

Now that is true horror.

Go figure?

Still, since we are speaking of emotional currency, Morgan tells a tale of a group of cocooned professional people who are clearly way too emotionally invested in the Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) dream child of their making named Morgan.

The question becomes why?

Well written plots can imitate real life, perhaps providing beneficial life lessons learned while poorly written ones designed to titillate can do extremely well at the box office but are bankrupt at the What’s it all About Alfie emotional ATM.

In this short life we are here to learn, at least for now, right? 

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In the opening scene when Lee Weathers (Kate Mara), the Company Risk Manager is intensely driving towards Morgan’s facility in the woods, you know there is more at stake than a claims investigation and why shouldn’t there be since Morgan went off script and violently stabbed a staff member in the eye.

Or is she actually on script?

Ms. Weathers is met by Ted, the Production Manager and invited into Morgan’s world which is a very high tech but cloistered one.

The scientific team has tried several times before to create the right A.I. Human L9 Series Product but failed so you can imagine their joy and growing emotional investment when Morgan, at least initially evolves into their dream asset.

Therein is the problem.

The team is way too emotionally invested and in watching the first part of the film which is brilliantly written and acted, you can’t help but ask yourself why?

The conclusion we came to was that none of the team, as far as we can tell, have children of their own.

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Real ones that cry, eat, poop and make us as parents spend a lot of time talking in baby goo goo goo speak.

Not only that, they don’t seem to have any real life at all except the one they have in the large moss covered Victorian where they live deep in the woods and the state of the art underground apartment (cage) with see through class in which they monitor and keep track of Morgan.

We previously published an 8,400 word article on rejection and how to effectively face up to it and move forward.


What is consistent in this article and the other one is the human emotional investment involved.

It is not balanced.

In both cases the reason why the people involved excessively mourn the loss of their desired life story is that they have not developed a real one elsewhere which would compartmentalize and minimize the part of their life where they have been rejected or temporarily experienced failure, giving them something important to emotionally fall back on.

Here in Morgan’s film, not only do they not have families, but they don’t seem to have real hobbies or previous substantial ventures and future alternative career possibilities.

In terms of their life story, this is it right here and when the “it” is gone……..

There’s nothing left. 

One of them even commits suicide.

I think you could say the person was all in.

Are you ready to sing Morgan’s National Anthem?

The staff there sure knows it well. When you sing please cover your eyes with your hands (Morgan might stab them out like she did Kathy).

Morgen” is a popular German song (1959), originally performed (in German) by Ivo Robić and The Song-Masters. The song became a hit in Germany, and later on the US charts in 1959 where it peaked at #13.

Here goes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wO_WiecQpk

Or this version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeTC2O0ifaA

This one too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoVlWMj0mEU

Sorry. We can’t hear you. Comrade can you sing a little louder please?

Please don’t make Morgan angry.

In our own lives, both articles speak to a cautionary tale about putting all of our emotional eggs in one basket.

It’s not wise.

Artistically speaking Morgan fell into the trap of trying to appeal to two audiences.

The first part of the film is a true think piece building up to an unpredictable showdown but the second part becomes the typical showdown of Frankenstein is loose and let’s kill him before he gets to town.

A number of films have fallen into this pitfall. In 1980 it was American Gigolo, during 1993 The Crush with Alicia Silverstone and in 2002 Swim Fan also fit the bill.

Initially they start in unique and intriguing ways, which appeals to one audience and then in the second part instead of staying the brilliant risk taking artistic course they first traversed, in part two they play it safe and fall back upon tried and true predictable formulas and the film goes downhill.

When that occurs, hopefully they didn’t have too much emotionally invested.

As an audience we did.


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The next film Princess Syd speaks more to life in balance.

Here is the storyline.

After a childhood tragedy, eager to escape life with her depressive single father, 16-year-old athlete Cyd Loughlin visits her widely admired novelist aunt in Chicago over the summer.

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While there, she falls in love with another teenager in the neighborhood, which leads her to gently challenge her aunt about her sexuality or the lack thereof and her aunt responds in an intriguing way.

Often in films when the now divorced or never married professional woman focuses and develops a more balanced life beyond sexual escapades, when the younger person extols them to lighten up and go on a date, they think about it and convince themselves that the teen is right, they should live a little and they begin to date again which is often a mistake.

Here the adult is patient with the teen’s sometimes invasive suggestions until they finally have it out in the kitchen after an intellectual community party.

The adult here is the beautiful, classy and often understated actress Rebecca Spence (Miranda) who performed in Public Enemies, Contagion and is the sexy shapely woman with the gorgeous soccer mom look in the Liberty Mutual commercial.

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She is perfect for the role.

In a mature way she is incredibly sexy with curves and feminine softness.

The bathing suit scene on the lawn is priceless.

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Her friends are college professors and the like who are very emotionally supportive of each other.

Though not perfect, their lives seem to speak to balance with children, families, finance and a variety of interests.

They are not overly emotionally tied to just one aspect of their lives.

So when Miranda has the discussion with the teen Cyd, she makes it clear that first of all, Cyd doesn’t really know the balance of her life which includes going to church, apart from religion, her spirituality and her great professional life of being wise enough to do what she loves for a living and while she appreciates Cyd’s motives, it’s really not her place to express to her how she should live her life, especially in terms of her sex life.

Bravo. Well done. The adult actually acts and responds like one.

Extremely rare.

Princess Cyd received very positive responses from film critics.

Calum Marsh of The Village Voice called it “an endearing, full-hearted comedy of self-discovery and mentorship and love.”

When watching the film what we loved the most was that even if it was in the comedy genre, it was not an Indie cliché full of quirky moments trying to be funny but failing.

It was like being invited to be a fly on the wall and on their shoulders as we visited the lives of real people who were not speaking from a script.

We would love to be a friend in their circle.

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Princess Cyd was also praised by Jude Dry of IndieWire, who observed, “In his latest film, Princess Cyd, the Chicago-based writer-director renders his deeply human characters so precisely, it’s as if they stepped right off the screen and into your living room. The two central women are equal parts charming, awkward, yearning and lost. In short, they’re real. Their complexity is all the more impressive coming from a male filmmaker — Cone proves it’s possible for men to write sexually liberated, empowered, autonomous women.”

That is high praise indeed and a powerful life lesson is finding balance in your life.

Perhaps if we develop a well-balanced life that includes spirituality, satisfying work, financial reserves, important family relationships and deep friendships, when the disappointment of the big emotional moment occurs, we still have something to fall back on.

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