Shutter Island (2010) is one of the movies I love rewatching, and sometimes I think that the character of Leo: Teddy Daniels was baited and put there as a patient, although he was not really mentally ill. He acted normally in the closing scene of the movie as well.

Can it be possible that Teddy Daniels wasn't really mentally ill?

  • 3
    People who are mentally ill often have periods of seeming lucidity
    – Valorum
    Feb 21 at 7:42

1 Answer 1


Andrew, as "Teddy", was delusional; delusional disorder was the mental illness he was suffering from. People with delusions can act within what we call normal behavior; it's just that they believe something which departs drastically from reality (e.g. the belief that they were once abducted by aliens and experimented upon.) Not all of them act "crazy".

Andrew killed his wife when he realized that she had killed their children. He felt guilty for the deaths of his children as well because he didn't get his wife help for her own mental illness. Afterwards, he became delusional, because he could not accept that his wife was not a victim of a fire; that made him "criminally insane". Towards the end of the movie, he states,

"My name is Andrew Laeddis... and I murdered my wife in the Spring of '52."

The movie was based on Dennis Lehane’ novel. From Indie Wire:

Only Teddy is not a real person but a delusion created by inmate Andrew Laeddis. The ending of “Shutter Island” reveals that DiCaprio's character is a patient himself, committed to the Shutter Island facility after murdering his wife (Michelle Williams) because she went insane and killed their children.

That he was acting at the end (when he manifests his delusion again) is evident ((?)) by "Teddy" asking his "partner",

Which would be worse, to live as a monster, or to die as a good man?

From Indie Wire:

The line is asked by Andrew/Teddy, and in doing so Scorsese and screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis leave the door somewhat open as to whether or not Andrew/Teddy is committing himself to a lobotomy in order to wash his mind from the sins of his past.

I think he wants a lobotomy, so he pretends to be Teddy again. Others may believe differently. But it's pretty clear from where he is and what he's done that he's insane throughout most of the movie.

I once evaluated a man (for involuntary commitment to a psychiatric facility) who thought he was Elijah the Prophet. All he wore was a sheet, a rope and sandals. He was honestly one of the nicest people ever I met at work. He was soft spoken, thoughtful, kind, intelligent, and humble. He was not a danger to himself or others so long as he agreed to protect himself from the elements. He's one of only two people to whom I gave money from my own pocket while at work.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .