Desperately Seeking Susan : Did Roberta Have Mental Problems?

Did Roberta Have Mental Problems?

Was Roberta mentally disturbed or ill? Descriptions of the movie describe her as a board housewife looking for adventure. Even if we assume these are euphenisms for a "horny" woman looking for sex, does it indicate a mental disturbance that she got her thrills my tracking Susan and Jimmy, and then finally seeing them together? Would it have been healthier if she were trying to do something on her own (putting aside that she was married) than to get her thrills watching others? Was she simply into voyerism? If that was the case, was there a certain symmetry to having Dez peek at her while she got dressed?

Re: Did Roberta Have Mental Problems?

No no no no noyou're looking for things that aren't there.

Bored Roberta finds Susan and Jim in the newspaper regularly, "desperately" trying to find each other. It becomes like a soap opera to Roberta as she keeps tabs on where they've been (based on their ads to each other in the paper). So her interest is not very different from the rest of us who might watch a tv show regularly and keep up with the characters.

Roberta tells Leslie "Now they're here in New Yorkdesperate. God, I love that word!"

So, she goes to have a peek at the 'stars' of her newspaper soap opera. She never intends to get involved in their lives. That happens by accident when Nolan mistakes her for Susan.

Roberta is not "horny" (I mean sex is not her motivator), nor is she mentally disturbed. She truly is just bored!

Remember at Battery Park, the first woman she looks at is a very middle-class looking woman (who is then greeted by her husband and child)? Roberta's frame of reference is so limited, that to her, THAT plain, normal woman might be the wild Susanbut it fits so much better when we see the *striking* image of Susan striking a match on her heel, dressed in a more rock-star manner.

Susan looks so interesting that Roberta follows her, only to vicariously live a non-boring day in Susan's shoes (without ever intending to have real contact with Susan.)She buys Susan's jacket and that is ALMOST enough to take her into another world, until Gary demeans the (to him) strange purchase.

Roberta throws the jacket over a chair, ALMOST throwing out her soap opera fantasy, when the magic key falls from its pocket.

The key brings Roberta into Susan's non-boring world! Thus, we have a story!



"Have a Romy & Michelle day!"

Re: Did Roberta Have Mental Problems?

Well said, Hinda. I agree 100%.


"I'd say this cloud is Cumulo Nimbus."
"Didn't he discover America?"
"Penfold, shush."

Re: Did Roberta Have Mental Problems?

Why, thanks everso!!

"Have a Romy & Michelle day!"

Re: Did Roberta Have Mental Problems?

Haven't you ever heard of people watching?! Everyone does it! Say you're in the mall and get tired and rest. If you're not super into texting or checking out your stuff you bought, I guarantee you're looking around at the people. What Roberta was practically doing was people watching.

Re: Did Roberta Have Mental Problems?

These days it's called social media.

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Re: Did Roberta Have Mental Problems?

That wasn't the case, but i can see why you might think so. The way she was observing Jim and Susan making out did strike me as slightly voyeuristic. Throughout the whole film, Roberta could have been trying to vicariously access her life, i.e, having wild adventures while being appreciated by a devoted man, something the housewife was deprived of.
I think Susan might be more likely to have a problem, maybe a personality disorder.

Re: Did Roberta Have Mental Problems?

That wasn't the case, but i can see why you might think so. The way she was observing Jim and Susan making out did strike me as slightly voyeuristic. Throughout the whole film, Roberta could have been trying to vicariously access her life, i.e, having wild adventures while being appreciated by a devoted man, something the housewife was deprived of.
I think Susan might be more likely to have a problem, maybe a personality disorder.
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