The character of Lars seems to be a fantastical person who couldn’t really exist in real life. Truth is, there are many people like him who struggle to have relationships with others due to mental illness. Lars is able to find a way to channel his insecurities of personal relationships onto Bianca, whom is a realistic looking sex doll. Ironically, Lars never has sex with Bianca, he treats her as a real human being and forces his community to accept Bianca in ways he never imagined. This acceptance from the community turns out to effect how Lars views Bianca over time, and they unknowingly help Lars grow to have feelings for a real girl named Margot. Community is a very important part of Lars’ healing process. As described in the article A Therapeutic Community, the subject needs to have supporting individuals around so they may express themselves openly. Lars’ Doctor realized this from the beginning and told his Lars Brother that he will have to accept this no matter how hard it is to play along.
It is important for Lars to express himself openly with no harsh judgment. This will allow repressed feelings to surface, which is the greatest therapy used in psychoanalysis. We can see this process taking effect when Lars takes Bianca for her weekly checkups, which is really therapy for Lars. We learn how his mother Died giving birth to him, and he fears for his brothers wife because she will soon be delivering a child. This is an example of a repressed fear that has taken long term unconscious effects on his relationships with others, especially women. Because Lars was left in the care of his father, whom is described as a weak broken hearted man, and his brother left him as soon as possible, Lars missed out on crusial parts of his development into a normal person. A child needs to go through the Oedipus complex in order to become a socially acceptable person. Lars was never able to establish a connection with his mother, or mother-like figure, thus also not having the father figure interrupt the mother-child relation to allow the child to go find its own woman (or man) to love.
Lars becomes stuck in child-like state of mind. What this means is that Lars uses toys and play-time to express his feelings, much like a child. Bianca is used to uncover his true thoughts, and he speaks for himself and her, which in return helps him to grow. Most children grow past their stages of playing with dolls as they enter puberty. Unfortunately people like Lars have a hard time adapting to the way everyone else is able to. The community therapy allows Lars to work through his difficulties is a 6 phase process as described A Therapeutic Community. These steps are awareness, resistance impasse, recall, abreactive, reconstruction, and integration. In the awareness phase, the client becomes aware of counter-productiveness of his neurotic defense. We can see this in the movie at the moment when he starts to feel that Bianca is leaving him and is too busy to be with him when he wants too.
He begins to get feelings of anger towards her for being so infused with the community. But he still continues to keep the relationship going even though they begin to get into harsh arguments all of the time. This is the resistance phase at work. He ignores his awareness to continue his fantastical idea of how he thinks a relationship should be. As the fights progress, we can see Lars letting out more repressed feelings in his therapy sessions. We learn about his feelings of his mother dieing and how badly it has scared him. This is the recall phase at work. Lars remembers childhood fears that have been repressed for so long which lead to his problems in the first place.
There does not seem to be any signs in the film of the abreactive phase, for this is when the patient the client acts out and re-experiences a traumatic event through transference or confronting the person associated with the experience. Perhaps this phase was represented when Lars is in the doctors office and he feels nausea due to the conversation of Bianca not being able to have children. His actions in this scene suggest a horrific trauma going through his mind, which makes him so anxious. Eventually, Lars decides on his own that Bianca needs to die.
In his mind, he believes that she is actually dying. This is known as the reconstruction phase. Lars is realizing his behavior is destructive towards himself and he must change in order to heal himself fully. This can be viewed as a child going through puberty. He has grown away from his toy and can know proceed to use what he has learned of relationships for Margot. The final stage of integration comes at the funeral of Bianca. Lars finally can move into a real relationship with another person and integrate himself into the real society without fantastical relations for the unreal.
Courtney from Study Moose
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