Shrink Information

Shrink is a 2009 American independent film about a psychologist who treats members of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, California. It stars an ensemble cast headed by Kevin Spacey as Dr. Henry Carter. Filming took place in Los Angeles under the direction of Jonas Pate using a script written by Thomas Moffett. The film premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. The film also includes music by Jackson Browne.

Plot summary

The story takes place in Hollywood, and revolves around Dr. Henry Carter (Kevin Spacey). Most of Carter's patients are luminaries in the film industry, each undergoing their own life crisis. Carter lives in a large, luxurious house overlooking the Hollywood Hills, and has published a hugely successful self-help book. However, Carter is disheveled, and he is frequently seen alone in his large house. He smokes marijuana at home, in his car, and behind his office when not seeing patients. Carter routinely drinks himself to sleep around his house, waking up in his clothes. He never enters his bedroom.

Despite his own problems, Carter continues psychotherapy with his patients, maintaining his incisiveness, compassion, and strong doctor-patient relationships.

Much of the ensemble cast comprises Carter's patients. Patrick (Dallas Roberts) is a high-powered talent agent who is both narcissistic and anxiety- ridden, with a germ phobia. Seamus (Jack Huston) is an actor addicted to various drugs and alcohol, and one of Patrick's biggest clients; Seamus is not one of Carter's patients, but they share a drug-dealer named Jesus (Jesse Plemons). Jack (Robin Williams) is another popular celebrity with a drinking problem, about which he is in denial. He continues therapy, however, because he believes that he has a sex addiction. Kate (Saffron Burrows) is an actress in her thirties, who is intelligent, compassionate, and poised, but is facing fewer career opportunities because of Patrick's notion that her age is a limitation. Her rock-star husband, who she says "wasn't always like this," is self-centered and cheating on her.

Carter's newest patient is Jemma (Keke Palmer), a troubled high-school student, required to see a therapist by her school after cutting her hand by punching a mirror. Jemma has been referred to Carter by his father as a pro bono case, because like Carter's wife, Jemma's mother committed suicide. Jemma is an avid moviegoer, who aspires to become a filmmaker.

Carter has few friends. He spends time with Jesus, his quirky pot dealer. Carter also socializes with Jeremy (Mark Webber). Jeremy and Carter are loosely related through Carter's deceased wife, whose mother was Jeremy's godmother. Jeremy is a struggling young screenwriter. He finds romantic interest in Patrick's assistant Daisy (Pell James). Jeremy also derives creative inspiration from Jemma.

Jeremy secretly steals Jemma's private file from Carter's office. He pursues a platonic interest in Jemma. He writes his breakthrough screenplay about Jemma, and with Daisy's help, Jeremy succeeds in gaining Patrick's interest in the screenplay.

Jemma discovers the screenplay, and feels betrayed by Jeremy, and Carter angrily attacks Jeremy for his deception. However, Carter accepts his own professional responsibility in the situation, which he unknowingly allowed. Carter suffers a breakdown on a live television talk show, alarming the host (Gore Vidal) and the viewers when he states publicly for the first time that his wife committed suicide. He denounces his book as "bullshit" and himself as a fraud, and storms off of the set. Jemma, Daisy, and Jeremy are seen reacting to Carter's on-air outburst.

Carter decides to stop treating Jemma, though he had just begun helping Jemma finally come to terms with her mother's suicide. Later, Carter and Jeremy are mysteriously invited to a meeting at Patrick's office. Patrick seats them in a conference room, where Jemma is already waiting. To their surprise, Jemma now approves of Jeremy's screenplay. Patrick announces that he will be representing Jemma and making Jeremy's screenplay into a movie.

Carter, having disposed of his drug supply, approaches Kate at home. He tells her he doesn't want to see her anymore "...professionally," implying his interest in seeing her romantically. She smiles.

Later, at night, Carter enters his bedroom, wearing pajamas. He momentarily regards his (former) marital bed, before climbing into it and turning off the light, as the movie fades to black.


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