Right at the end of the movie Donnie Darko, I watched a scene where Donnie's psychiatrist called up his parents and wanted to tell them what she had found out about Donnie, sort of in an emergency way. I would have loved to hear what she had to say but sadly they did not show it, I think. Is there any indication what observations Donnie's psychiatrist had recorded?

Lilian Thurman (on phone): Rose, this is Lilian Thurman. It is extremely important that you call me as soon as you get this message. Thank you.

5 Answers 5


ref : Donnie Darko Explained

  • At therapy, Donnie goes through hypnosis. He confesses about flooding the school and burning the house down. He also says he has the ability to build a time machine. He says Frank is going to kill. He sees Frank. He says the skies will open up. The therapist says “if the skies opened up, there would be only him and Frank”. The therapist clearly sees Donnie to be schizophrenic. She’s trying to tell Donnie that what he sees as the end of the world and the skies opening up would be end of any connection with the real world. His mind will get lost within his imaginary world which will have only Frank in it. He will lose everybody else. Obviously the therapist doesn’t believe that the world is going to end. She only feels that Donnie’s world is going to end. She stops Donnie’s medication as they are only placebos. She does this to indicate that Donnie now need real medication, therapy isn’t going to work. They say their goodbyes.

Donnie's psychiatrist considers him to be schizophrenic. She feels he is going to either hurt himself or someone else. She's (most likely) calling Donnie's mother to tell her to take proper medical action before it is too late.

  • If his psychiatrist considers him schizophrenic then it would have been incredibly unethical of her to ever put him on placebos.
    – Dai
    Apr 30, 2017 at 4:22
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    She may not have considered him schizophrenic until this point. It would also have been incredibly unethical for her to medicate a teen who may just have needed help with standard teenager type angst. It's only at this point she that his psychosis may make him a danger to others, and at this point she says he needs to be medicated. Sep 6, 2019 at 8:40
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    Schizophrenia is a major diagnosis. My abnormal psych teacher taught us that once an individual is diagnosed with it, it is near impossible to undiagnose (when it is discovered that it was a misdiagnosis). One of the criteria for diagnosis is that symptoms are present for at least 6 months. It was typical in the past, not sure about now, that schizophreniform disorder would be diagnosed. It's the same as schizophrenia but with a time period of 0-6 months. After 6 months and if the symptoms remain then the patient "graduates" to schizophrenia. Sep 6, 2019 at 15:38
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    (cont) The importance of this distinction is that shizoaffective disorder (which is its own thing), major depressive disorder, and some pervasive developmental disorders exhibit a lot of the same symptoms as schizophrenia and the therapist needs to rules those out before diagnosing schizophrenia. Evidently she did that off screen. Sep 6, 2019 at 15:39

I don't believe there has been any reveal of what she intended to say. However, in the Director's Cut, about 103 minutes in, there is a scene where Dr. Thurman tells Donnie that he can stop taking his medication because they're placebo pills. It is possible that she was calling the parents to state that Donnie was off of his medications. Since I believe this was at the end of the scene where he's telling her that Frank is going to kill someone, this may have been a way to warn the parents that Donnie is a possible violence risk without breaking doctor-patient confidentiality.


When Donnie undergoes hypnosis and confesses to his therapist, she realizes that he is capable of real violence. She realized earlier, when he talked about his visions of Frank, that he was a schizophrenic, but now that he admitted to vandalizing the school and burning down the house, she knows that he is willing to follow through with everything the visions (Frank) tells him to do. When Donnie says that Frank is going to kill, she realizes that Donnie would be capable of killing for him. She called Rose Darko to alert him of his violent behavior so that they could take action before he seriously hurt someone.

  • This answer would be greatly improved if you could edit in some relevant quotes to back it up. Also the question seems to be asking for those that were recorded, do you have any evidence that these were recorded?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Sep 6, 2019 at 7:26

I think Donnie’s therapists buys into everything by the end. His compelling sessions of therapy over time make her less a critic of illusion or schizophrenia. She might even be a catalyst in support.

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    Hi, welcome to the site. You could improve by citing any specific scenes that support what you've said here, ideally with direct quotes of anything relevant that was said. Jul 19, 2021 at 6:50

she asks weird questions like have you ever made love and other weird things like that which to me and the fact that his parents didnt know he was on a placebo that the Dr. was in on it from the get go and she is more like a guide..

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    The question was asking what her recorded observations were, and what she wanted to speak to Donnie's parents about, which you haven't really addressed here. If you're going to post something in the 'Your Answer' box, please ensure that it actually answers the question. If you just want to post a related comment, you need to earn a bit more reputation to unlock the comment everywhere privilege. Please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more. Apr 12, 2022 at 23:25

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