Thursday, April 17, 2008

Lars and the Real Girl

You know all the crazy people? What if instead of classifying them as "crazy" or "mentally ill" we just admitted that none of us make a whole lot of sense? What if instead of trying to "normalize" people who have delusions or hallucinations, we went along with it?

I saw the movie Lars and the Real Girl last night (warning, spoilers ahead!). Lars is a young man who has a delusion that a life-sized doll named Bianca is a real person--his girlfriend. And his entire community (of Canadians; I've always suspected Canadians were innately superior) understands that he's decompensating for something. They understand that his relationship with Bianca is a thing that needs to play out, so that Lars can work through some deep and tough crap he's got buried inside him. The town rallies around Bianca. They take her on outings. They get her volunteering at the hospital. They elect her to the school board. They pretend Bianca is real and they let Lars be crazy.

Yeah, I know this isn't a realistic approach to mental illness in our society. Lars doesn't hurt himself or other people, and that's not the case with all mentally ill people. Lars has a loving brother and sister-in-law to keep an eye on him, and not all people do. Lars is functional in his life-- he eats, bathes, goes to work, is productive, and not all people are. BUT. It was such a relief for two hours to watch Lars' community simply let Lars be. I have always hated the concept of "normal." It gets into your head and you start beating yourself up for not living up to the standard. Wouldn't it be awesome if there were just a little more compassion in our society for strangeness? A little bit less expectation that we all turn out a certain way? A recognizition that we all have monsters inside? GO LARS!

Anyway, that's my simplistic blathering for today. I just added my current foreign publishers to my Contacts and Credits page-- check it out if you're curious. I'll update the list as new deals occur. :)

2 comments:

All That I Read said...

I feel the same way about many people who are labeled autistic or as having Asperger Syndrome.

Clearly, some folks with those conditions are profoundly disabled. But *maybe* some of them are just ... different.

But they are normal for themselves.

kristin cashore said...

Yes, exactly.

I wish we were a society less focused on "normalizing!"