"You Can't Change Him" (formerly "Deranged Suitors") merges narrative storytelling with educational content to illustrate how dark quintet traits lead to abusive and toxic relationships. Thirty women and girls from various walks of life share the trajectory of their abusive relationships via interviews, photographs, and sometimes videos, which are then juxtaposed against professional animations and statistical charts.
Each woman and girl has been selected because their abusive and toxic ex-partner or ex-husband demonstrated one or more of the dark quintet character disorder traits: Machiavellianism, narcissism, sadism, psychopathy, and sociopathy. Far beyond personality disorders, people with such mindsets lack character, lack empathy, lack integrity, and lack the resolve to take responsibility for their actions and choices in life. All of these women and girls are united by their desire to "fix" and "save" a broken "man," only to realise he cannot be saved. Abuse arises from sociocultural norms, principles, and beliefs that are toxic instead of healthy: deeply ingrained misogynistic and sexist views are usually modeled by watching how their father or father figure behaves. Almost always, abusers have a father figure of the controlling 'macho man' variety who have contempt for women, especially their wife, and run the household with an iron fist based on fear instead of respect. This is true across caste lines, class lines, and race lines. No amount of effort in therapy or love from a good person can save men or boys who are they way they are due to their toxic masculinity cultural upbringing exacerbated by their exposure to violent pornography.
The film weaves elements of Misha developing the Domestic Violence Register, which is the world's first comprehensive and fully international domestic violence registry of male on female violence, and collaborating with domestic violence advocates Rihanna and Amber Heard. Overall, the goal remains to provide women and girls of all ages a clear, visual, graphical, and personal understanding of how character disturbed men are raised and behave. Footage and interviews from 'graduates' of the Duluth Model Batterer Intervention Program, from Dr. Paul Ekman's facial microexpressions course, and from Dr. Anna Salter's interviews with repeat sex offenders are interspersed throughout the film, showing how such types never really improve or change even with intensive interventions from social workers, therapists, and psychiatrists. Their character is the issue and sadly, their character is set in stone. We endeavour to address the full spectrum of personality types as per Lundy Bancroft's book "Why Does He Do That?" and Dr. Anna Salter's book "Predators." The objective is to show how bad men think and behave so women can find and value the exact opposite: men of good character. Side objectives are encouraging girls to be careful about protecting themselves from predators and encouraging parents to spot potential predators before it is too late. Many women and girls raised by wonderful Dads who are superhero-level exemplars of integrity, virtue, and character assume all men in the world are of the same ilk and have to learn the hard way that many men outside of their family were not raised in the same way with the same good values and principles. Girls with highly charismatic, serially cheating Dads are generally good judges of character; it's the girls from good families with nice, loving Dads in safe environments who are most in need of this film.
Though the documentary short version of "Deranged Suitors" addressed dowry abuse issues in traditional South Asian families and was admitted into multiple film festivals, the feature aims higher for cross-cultural impact and dialogue. Battering happens across caste lines and class lines: it is a global problem, and thus a film that addresses a global audience will achieve more. This new, feature-length version addresses honour-related abuse and dowry abuse amongst Indian and NRI women alongside a host of other universal women's issues.
Director: Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Producer: Misha Kaura
PR and Social Media: DDA Group
Tentative Screen Time: 3 hours