This movie is a look into the life of a French boy who has known nothing but rejection his entire life. Being abandoned by his mother in his infancy was the first harsh blow he received and may have quite possibly been the most detrimental to his development. Antoine seemed to me to be very much like the average troublemaker, except for the fact that children didn’t behave in that manner in France during that time period. Children were expected to behave properly, with little deviation from this norm, and according to the movie he was incorrigible and lacked respect for all authority. It seemed that he had been on the road to trouble for a long time. I really sympathized with Antoine and his problems. Even though I had a good and stable home life, I often found myself misbehaving or in some form of trouble. However, my family taught me right from wrong, and I was never unsure about the love of my parents. It is scary to think that had I been in a family situation such as his, I could have ended up like him, or because of our often violent society, even worse.
In the very first scene of 400 Blows Antoine was already in trouble. He wasn’t allowed to attend recess for punishment. This sets the basic theme for this movie which is the general delinquency of a boy and his friend. This pattern of defiant, disobedient behavior could be a result of Oppositional Defiant Disorder. His family situation could have resulted in such a disorder. He was abandoned by his mother at birth only to be bounced around between orphanages, foster homes, and his grandmother’s home. This would have resulted in his lack of strong attachment that is often a characteristic of his disorder. Theft and deceit, both of which Antoine practiced on a regular basis, are common in abandoned youth. Later in his youth Antoine discovered that his mother had the intention of aborting him. This along with her constant belittling and general unkindness caused the boy to most certainly feel rejected.
The psychodynamic model for explaining abnormal behavior would attribute his ODD to a number of different things. Because he was abandoned at birth, it is possible that he was fixated in the oral stage, resulting in oral aggressive behavior with his friends and teacher. However, he also seems to be fixated in the anal stage, displaying the symptoms of an anal expulsive personality. He doesn’t accept authority well and seems to have issues surrounding control. He seems to be using the defense mechanism of acting out. He deals with his emotions and inner turmoil by defying his parents and teachers and even breaking the law. It is likely that his personality structures are not balanced, and his Superego appears to be underdeveloped, while his Id is not controlled. Psychodynamic theory would argue that his disorder developed because of his turbulent childhood and the abandonment and even cruelty of his mother