15 Best Movies About Oedipus Complex Worth Your Time

Oedipus Complex is defined as, “a child’s desire to have sexual relations with the parent of the opposite sex”. The term is often used to refer to a boy’s sexual attraction to his mother. It’s a case of repressed emotion deeply ingrained in a child’s psyche that begins to develop at the age of 4. It’s a fascinating subject to explore and numerous films have managed to touch upon the theme with many of them dealing with it in a very nuanced, subtle manner. It’s dark, complex and can, oftentimes, be disturbing in its effect. So here’s a look at the list of 15 films based on Oedipus Complex:


15. Back to the Future (1985)

Seems like a very unlikely choice but think about it. The film deals with Oedipus complex a lot more explicitly than some of the others on the list, albeit in a very sweet and funny manner. Marty is sent back in time and is utterly bewildered as he sees his parents go to college and don’t seem to recognise him at all. Coincidence brings him to his mother, a much younger and attractive girl who seems infatuated with him. Marty realises the absurdity of it all but couldn’t possibly explain it all since they are all in the past. There’s not much of thematic depth provided in the film but it’s an absolute fun-ride guaranteed to give you laughs.


14. A Short Film About Love (1988)

The reason why I added this film is because we aren’t given a concrete explanation concerning Tomek’s actions in the film. He is seen spying on his neighbour, a beautiful older woman who is seen regularly having sex with men in her apartment. Tomek stays with his grandmother and we never really know anything about his parents. Perhaps it’s the absence of a maternal figure in his life that awakened his fascination for this older woman. Tomek is way too young to understand what love means which complicates his relationship with Magda. Perhaps he’s craving for that motherly warmth and affection but in the fleeting madness of adolescence, Tomek finds himself emotionally stranded in a complex web of love, desires, obsession and lust.


13. The Graduate (1967)

‘The Graduate’ laid the foundations and set the rules for coming-of-age drama flicks in the years to come. For some, the film still manages to hold up well and continues to resonate emotionally, making it a timeless classic that spoke for a number of generations. It tells the story of Benjamin Braddock, a recent graduate who doesn’t really know what exactly to do with his life. He meets his father’s business partner’s wife who seduces him and he develops a strong infatuation with her. The sheer madness and naivety of adolescence is brilliantly captured here in a way that most people could relate to. The feeling of being infatuated with someone much older than you isn’t something a lot of people would find hard not to connect with and this is where ‘The Graduate’ manages to strike a resounding chord.


12. The Reader (2008)

‘The Reader’ is a gorgeously dark film that explores the relationship between a teenager and a 36-year-old woman. Hanna Schmitz, a tram conductor, meets a young boy, Michael, who gets off the tram because he was feeling sick. She comes in and helps him get back home. Some time later, they meet up again and Hanna seduces Michael and they make love. They begin to develop a complex relationship as Michael begins to feel emotionally attached to Hanna but her maturity keeps him at an emotional distance. The relationship results in Michael growing increasingly detached from his family. It’s one of the darkest and most intimate portrayals of a very delicate human emotion.


11. Harold and Maude (1971)

This cult classic black comedy romantic drama is one of the weirdest love stories of all time. It depicts the strange yet intimate relationship between a 20-year-old man and a woman touching her 80s. Harold is obsessed with death and stages fake deaths and is often seen at funerals. He happens to meet Maude at one of the funeral and they develop a very strange bond that has strong romantic overtones. Maude has a starkly contrasting opinion on life and death. She edifies him about how precious it is to live a life which begins to have an impact on Harold. It’s a very complex relationship that portrays a peculiar emotion one might, initially, find a bit disturbing but gets into it as the awkward tone of the film sets in.

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