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Analyse how visual language features highlighted an important idea.

Connecting with others through the power of community can help and heal the ones most impacted by loneliness. Throughout the film, “Lars and the Real Girl”, the director Craig Gilespie uses visual language features in various scenes to highlight how this is an important idea and the positive impact it can have on broken individuals. Lars’ journey in the film from a social reject who purchases a doll in order to accept human connection, to someone who is truly part of the community, is Gillespie’s message to the viewer about the power that the people hold.

The opening scene of the film and the visual language features that Gillespie uses, highlight the negative impacts that the absence of a caring community in Lars’ life does to him and set up the starting point of Lars’ journey to being included in society. Lars is introduced to the viewer, standing by the window of the garage in which he lives, on a cold morning. A close-up shot of Lars looking through the window focuses on the baby blanket which Lars uses to cover his face like a scarf. The baby blanket is a symbol of Lars’ need to shield his face from the outside world, highlighting his rejection of human connection. Gillespie uses this close-up shot to capture the isolation that Lars has from the rest of the people; the window frame acts as a barrier from the rest of the community. This reveals to the viewer the feeling of coldness from Lars’ rejection of human connection. Karin’s dialogue further proves this point, where she says, “we haven’t seen you for so long.” This dialogue lets the audience understand that Lars shuts himself off from his family, and in turn only feels the lack of connection that Karin is trying to give to him.

Another scene that contains visual language features that highlight the importance of connecting with others through the power of community is the party at Cindy’s house. This scene shows how connecting with others positively impacted Lars and how he was starting to become braver and more sociable. Lars arrives with Bianca, the anatomically-correct doll he calls his girlfriend, at Cindy’s party. This is the first gathering which Lars has ever attended, with previous invitations being ignored by Lars. This scene was a pivotal step in Lars’ journey to want to try to be accepted into the community, instead of being an awkward social outcast. The warm lighting and lively atmosphere of the party highlighted the change from cold isolation into the warmth of human connection that Lars was newly experiencing. An over-the-shoulder shot of the party-goers focuses on Lars and Bianca amidst a crowd of people. This shot highlights to the viewer that Lars is not alone, and is instead comfortable being around his female co-workers and being included as part of the conversation. In previous scenes, Lars is afraid of human interaction, such as the church scene where he sits in the back, and the first dinner scene, where Lars struggles to talk with his family. But in the party scene, Lars is no longer creating invisible barriers between himself and other people, as shown with the over-the-shoulder shot. When a couple insults Lars and Bianca, Margo is quick to defend them saying, “It’s a disorder…”. Margo defending Lars with this dialogue highlights that the community members who care about Lars and his healing process would support him. Showing that even though there were judgemental people towards Lars, the majority of the community was welcoming, thus highlighting the power that the community has on those who need help. Gillespie’s purpose in portraying Margo as the hero to Lars in this scene invokes a response in the viewer that Lars is again, not alone.

The funeral scene of the film displays language features that highlight the idea of the importance of connecting with others through the power of community to heal lonely individuals. After Bianca dies, Lars is comforted by the entire town present at her funeral to celebrate her life, not her death. Multiple medium close up shots of the funeral attendees reveals to the viewer the filled pews of the church. Though the camera focuses on the recognisable characters of the film, such as Mrs Gruner, Kurt, Gus, and Karin, Gillespie purposefully includes the other townspeople in the frame to highlight the large number of people who came to support Lars. This conveys a message to the viewer that the strength of a supportive community in a time of grief and loss can make a person feel better. Even though Bianca wasn’t actually alive, the community members still cared about Lars and went to attend the funeral for him. In this film, Lars wasn’t the only individual who was impacted with emotional isolation, his brother Gus was too. A two-shot of Dagmar and Gus in the cemetery following the funeral ceremony highlighted how Dagmar, a popular member of the community due to her job as a family doctor, was present to also help Gus. Gus was uncomfortable around funerals due to the death of his parents, and by the end of the movie still had trouble with expressing his feelings considering his family to others. The two-shot reveals to the viewer Dagmar’s comforting hand on Gus’ back to show that she is there to support him as well. This highlights Gillespie’s purpose and the important idea of how connection through the power of community can heal someone, as it shows that Gus, who is in his own battle with grief, needed the presence of a caring community to help him heal.

The power of a caring community in ‘Lars and the Real Girl’ had a positive impact on Lars’ journey to finally experiencing the warmth of human connection because he wanted to. From the opening scene, which first set the scene of his isolation, to the party scene where Lars took his first step into a new life, Gillespie’s purpose was highlighted through the visual language features he used throughout the film. The community did not only help Lars but also Gus too, which shows the viewer that the power of community can change lives for the better.

Kiā ora
You set the argument up in the introduction well, establishing the theme and talking about techniques. Well chosen techniques and discussion. To strengthen the essay you need to think a little deeper - linking and integrating comments abut the human conditon and wider society etc, . Think about why Lars shuts himself off- what this says about the way humans deal with difference, - loneliness - the results of this on people - why do we need connection - and so on. It is in the integration of these comments that stronger results lie.
Hope that helps.