Psychological Disorder in the Movie
The psychological disorder portrayed in the movie Lars and the Real Girl is known as a delusion. A delusion is a fixed false belief that someone holds even though there is evidence to the contrary. In this movie, Lars has a delusion that he has a girlfriend whom he talks and interacts with regularly (Gillespie 2016, 2:03:39). In reality, she does not exist; she is simply an imaginary figure in his mind.
Movie’s Brief Summary
Lars and the Real Girl is a 2007 American black comedy film directed by Craig Gillespie. It stars Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, Paul Schneider, Kelli Garner, Ben Siegert, Patricia Clarkson, and Johanna Nyström. The film tells the story of Lars Lindstrom (Gosling), a man with delusion disorder who develops a romantic relationship with Bianca, an anatomically correct sex doll he orders online. Lars Lindstrom is a shy, introverted young man who lives in a small town. His only friends are his older brother and sister-in-law. One day, Lars orders a life-sized doll online and tells everyone that she is his girlfriend, Bianca. At first, his family and friends are sceptical, but they eventually come to accept Bianca as part of the family.
Lars is happy for the first time in his life since he has someone to talk to and share his thoughts and feelings with comfortably. Lars takes Bianca everywhere with him, including to church and the grocery store. He introduces Bianca to her to his friends and co-workers (Gillespie 2016, 1:27:20). However, some people in the town start talking about Lars and Bianca behind their backs, which makes him uncomfortable. Lars’ behavior starts to worry those closest to him, but they soon realize that Bianca is helping Lars open up and connect with people in a way that he never has before.
Similarities and Differences in the Movie and Scholarly Sources
Delusion disorder is characterized by false beliefs that the person holds onto despite evidence to the contrary. People with this disorder often act differently compared to other people. They may be quieter and more withdrawn but emotionally attached to their belief or become angry and aggressive (Wong 2020, 348). The similarity between the article and the movie is the fact that Lars formed a deep emotional connection with Bianca (Gillespie 2016, 2:03:45). Conversely, there is a similarity in that individuals with delusion disorder may find their beliefs to be distressingly real and may experience great anxiety or even hallucinate in an attempt to support their delusions. The distressing part is portrayed when Lars feel stressed and insecure because the doll is hugged by everybody.
On the other hand, the difference is that Lars is taking part in several events. Unlike the article outlines that individuals who suffer from delusions like excluding themselves from the crowd, being unfriendly, and even things they loved before (Katsoulis et al. 2020, 555). In the movie, Lars is with his friends laughing and cheering the game, and when his turn comes, he plays jovially, like he does not have delusion disorder (Gillespie 2016, 1:55:22). Delusion disorder mostly makes the victims quiet and unfriendly to their surroundings.
Changes that Would Make the Movie More Accurate
For the movie to portray the delusion disorder better, the director would have started the movie by showing Lars’s early life, how he loved his friends and the games he passionately played. During this moment, the doll (Bianca) was not to feature anywhere in the movie. In the middle of the movie, the director was to introduce the doll and how the growing attachment between Bianca and Lars affected Lars’s social interaction. In the end, it would be necessary to clearly show how Lars is greatly affected by the doll as a result of delusion disorder by being quiet and lonely (Lemonde et al. 2021, 219). Similarly, the movie could also have a commentator who narrates every stage of Lars’s life in the movie to help viewers understand delusion disorder.
Gillespie, Craig. 2016. Lars and The Real Girl 2007. Video. Web.
Katsoulis, Katerina, Kyle J. Rutledge, and Mohammad Jafferany. 2020. “Delusional infestation: a prototype of psychodermatological disease.” International Journal of Dermatology: 551-560. Web.
Lemonde, Ann-Catherine, Ridha Joober, Ashok Malla, Srividya N. Iyer, Martin Lepage, Patricia Boksa, and Jai L. Shah. 2021. “Delusional content at initial presentation to a catchment-based early intervention service for psychosis.” The British Journal of Psychiatry 218: 217-223. Web.
Wong, Gloria Hoi-Yan. 2020. “Social anxiety within a network of mild delusional ideations, negative symptoms and insight in outpatients with early psychosis: A psychopathological path analysis.” Anxiety, Stress, & Coping: 342-354. Web.