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The Childhood of a Leader (2015)


Local time
Today 8:40 PM
Sep 11, 2016

If any of you watched this movie, I'm curious what do you think about the boy?

During discussion panel after film, it was concluded that the boy is psychotic and naturally evil. The panelists showed a lot of dislike for him. There were references to the present times about spoiled children who start to rule the home instead of parents. Audience commented that children should be sweet.

Nobody talked about emerging sexuality, lack of attention, imitation of parents behavior. A fatal marital relationship between them was defined as typical for that time and not at all (!) pathological. In no way panelists connected it with boy aggression.

There was also opinions that this movie is not about family but about war.

Panelists were professors of sociology (woman), philosophy (man) and two ladies were psychology doctors who actively work with children.

I felt very bad listening to these statements. In my opinion, the judgment of the twelve year old boy was devoid of any context. The next day I was talking with classmate (who didn't stay for panel) and he also claimed that the boy was psychotic.

It's quite strange because I felt strong empathy for the child. I actually still can't get why educated people uphold such brutal and unfair opinions about children. I wonder if it's just me or what.


Active Member
Local time
Today 2:40 PM
Jan 22, 2019
I have not seen the movie, but I think I agree with your point. Of course, I'm somewhat biased considering I'm 16 and therefore not yet out of my "childhood", but I do think people (nowadays?) are unfairly judgmental towards children. Apparently the book Catcher in the Rye used to be quite popular among high schoolers, but most people these days seem to despise the main character and judge him very harshly for his behavior (which stems from his brother's early death and his parents' emotional abandonment of him).

I can only speculate as to the cause of this; perhaps it makes people uncomfortable to realize that free will is only real up to a point? I.e. You are shaped by factors, especially those in childhood, that you can't control, and who you become obviously affects your behavior. And people don't want to acknowledge that, if their parents had been horrifically abusive, they probably wouldn't be as neurosis-free and "morally upstanding" as they are. They'd probably be more like the "troubled children" they condemn.

I might watch the movie (read: if I can torrent it), though; it seems interesting.


think again losers
Local time
Tomorrow 5:10 AM
Mar 17, 2011
"This chilling fable about the rise of fascism in the 20th Century tells the story of a young American boy living in France in 1918 whose father is working for the US government on the creation of the Treaty of Versailles. What he witnesses helps to mould his beliefs - and we witness the birth of a terrifying ego. Loosely inspired by the early childhood experiences of many of the great dictators of the 20th Century and infused with the same sense of dread as The Others and The Omen, The Childhood of a Leader is an ominous portrait of emerging evil. "

Having only read the wiki etc., if they thought he was naturally evil they were probably missing the point.


Well-Known Member
Local time
Today 7:40 PM
Aug 15, 2013


Local time
Today 12:40 PM
Jan 24, 2012
I'll have to watch it first. I didn't like the ending of Gulliver's Travels that much though, where he started hanging out with animals and couldn't stand being around people anymore, when he came back.

I tried the opposite, because I figured people would say "oh he's a loner/schizophrenic" then pull some Lord of the Flies or Sherlock Holmes vs James Moriarty stuff. So I tried to make it look like I like people enough, as an introvert. It doesn't always work, it isn't so cut and dry.

It's an easy statement to misinterpret or get angry over. "He doesn't like people" doesn't necessarily mean he'll be mean to them. So I see it as a parallel of that. Be careful how you convey a message, you can't always control how people will interpret it. I don't think people really like "sarcasm", nor even deep, intellectual topics or conversations, despite how they try to come off as in profiles.

If you're born a "tabula rusa" it's hard to tell just quite what it is. Cause and effect. Don't forget that people have "expectations".
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