It’s no secret that Sex/Life is one of the most popular Netflix original series of all time, and the similar success of productions like 365 Days, Lady Voyeur, or Fifty Shades only serves to further demonstrate how fascinated viewers are with this genre. Netflix has undoubtedly accustomed us to these series that have some overlap with love and eros. Obsession, which debuted on Netflix in 2023, attracts a larger audience since it combines an intense thriller plot with an erotic element. Charlie Murphy portrays Anna Barton, the main character. Let’s go through her character as she has a backstory and psychology that call for explanation.
You can watch the official trailer for Netflix’s Obsession below:
Obsession on Netflix: Anna Barton character explained
Anna Barton is undoubtedly a troubled individual. We quickly learn from the plot of Obsession that she had a difficult upbringing, which largely accounted for her current behavior. Her elder brother, Aston, sexually molested her for a significant portion of her life. While she was growing up, she managed to react to his obsession with her and refuse to let it continue. Aston will commit suicide on that day, unable to handle the rejection of the one and only person he has ever loved.
What psychological effects does this terrible tale have on Anna Barton in Obsession? As an adult, Anna frequently finds herself in sticky situations, particularly when it comes to romantic relationships. She is divided into two distinct parts as a result of the traumatic events in her childhood: on the one hand, she is aware of the type of healthy, romantic relationship she desires, which is what makes her fall in love with Jay, a good guy who genuinely cares about her; on the other hand, she finds erotic games that suggest control and submission over another person to be fascinating.
These two aspects of her are a reflection of the two ways she dealt with the concept of love throughout her life: on the one hand, violence resulting from childhood trauma, and on the other, romance as a natural yearning for a woman who never felt secure in a committed relationship.
The way Anna Barton is able to manage the two relationships she has going on at once is another example of her psychology’s ideal split. Her relationship with Jay is sincere; she loves him and feels secure in his company. He represents “her normality,” and as you could expect, after growing up with the horrible experience of those atrocities, a normal love connection is the first demand she has. This is the aspect of her personality that is intrigued by the irrepressible passion, which manifests itself as the sexy games of submission we see in the series. At the same time, no difficulties seem to arise within her regarding the affair she develops with Jay’s father, William.
It’s important to note, though, that Anna is not a person who prioritizes passion over all else in her life. She needs to feel in control of that aspect of her life and has rigorous restrictions. She isn’t giving herself over to that fervor as a power that can conquer any other dimension. No, she doesn’t require that. She wants control over love, but she has to experience it in the context of immorality, obedience, and possibly guilt. Obsession’s out-of-control figure is actually William, who struggles to strike a healthy balance between his life and his desires. This is how the series explains William’s actions.
Anna Barton has needs that are incompatible with a typical life, but she doesn’t want those wants to be her only motivator. As a safety net for the normality she also craves, she provides them with a secure haven in her life, governed by a system of unbreakable laws. She makes every effort to prevent conflict from ever arising. In fact, after Jay dies, she becomes numb and flees when she is unable to conceal the effects of her dual personality. She just can’t handle the truth and closes her eyes to what happened when life shows her that a disagreement like that cannot be managed in a safe manner.
She is honest about her guilt, though. Unlike William, she never loses sight of the fact that what she was doing was gravely wrong. She actually refuses to give in to William’s offer to put the past behind them and try to reunite. She can’t allow that part of herself to take control and determine her destiny; she can’t forgive herself for the results of her actions and the suffering she caused others. She strongly advises William to stop looking for her as a result. She will continue to struggle to survive despite her internal strife. She, however, is not going to let that conflict rule her daily activities.
The psychology of Anna Barton is made crystal evident at the conclusion of Obsession: her conflicted personality will likely never be resolved, and there will undoubtedly be additional issues in her future. Now that she is aware that her mother permitted the abuse to occur, she will feel even more alone in the world and less protected from all the horrible things that can occur. But who knows, perhaps that will make her need more order and control. When the therapist brings up regulations in the final scene, she appears taken off guard. Are rules the only thing that can save her?