The successful novel written by Torcuato Luca de Tena in 1979 has reached the big screen taking the same name of the book that has managed to hook readers since it was first published. Luca de Tena, with Los renglones torcidos de Dios or God’s crooked lines, takes us into a psychological thriller in which the reader will not be able to stop reading as questions will swirl around in his mind and he would hardly be able to leave those questions unsolved for the next reading. The film, on the other hand, engages the audience with the main character’s discourse -logical and very organised, which will generate new inquiries. Flashes from the past will make us reflect on the veracity of the facts.

Synopsis of the movie

The novel, and its eponymous film, tells the story of Alice Gould, a private investigator, who is admitted to a mental asylum on behalf of a client in order to clarify the circumstances of a murder. To do so, Alice documents herself about a mental illness, paranoia, and she pretends she is suffering from that illness. Recall that in the era in which the novel is set, wives had to ask their husbands for permission on certain things, getting Alice to trick her husband into signing the application for her admission to the sanatorium.

Throughout the pages and minutes of the film, readers and audiences will be making decisions about the reliability of what at one point seemed very obvious, the sanity of the main character of this story. But for the author of the book and the director of the film, sanity and insanity are separated by a very thin line.

Comparison with reality

According to the author of the novel himself, in order to write the book he had to voluntarily commit himself for 18 days in a psychiatric institution to be able to adjust to the reality of what was really living within those walls. Finally, in the dedication included in the book, he wants to thank the entire medical community for their work and tenacity to «straighten out» those crooked lines of God, the patients. Those patients who met himself and on whom he got inspiration from.

The main interest that this novel can generate in society lies not only in a simple leisure activity, but also in the progress that psychiatry and psychology have experienced since the time in which this thrilling story is framed. The different illnesses or conditions of the patients shown in the film and the book, bring mental health closer to anyone outside the field of health, although in some cases not in the most accurate way. The reader or the audience will be able to experience the close relationship between mind and physiology, the different techniques that were used for different disorders and even how patients were treated in these institutions. Nowadays, all of it may seem abusive or unacceptable for the audience but we shouldn’t put the spotlight on that. On the contrary, we should focus on the advances that have been experienced in those fields to preserve dignity and security of patients without depriving them of the inherent freedom to the human condition.

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