When George Bailey Looks In the Mirror, Does He See Patrick Bateman?

Every Christmas, we all turn on the television to watch the beloved classic about a man.

A man who, face to face with the ruinous cruelty of capitalism, loses his own sense of self before a good angel reassures him of his essential innocence. 

I’m speaking, of course, of American Psycho

And, sure, of It’s a Wonderful Life too. The two films are both set partially at Christmas, but otherwise, they seem like they have little in common. 

The 1946 Frank Capra movie is a warm, sincere celebration of small-town Americana. Marry Harron’s American Psycho, from 2000, is a vicious satirical sneer at the corporate rat race. 

They’re mirror images. Except that both of them are about the mirror self who isn’t there, and the emptiness under the skin suit of the successful man.