Craig Gillespie’s Lars and the Real Girl is a comedic drama that follows Lars, a sweet, yet socially inept young man, whose childhood has deeply affected his personality and ability to engage in social relationships. In an attempt to feel belonging and experience loving relationships, he purchases Bianca, a life-sized doll online. Lars journeys through dependence on Bianca for a sense of belonging and warm relationships, to engaging in ‘real-life’ relationships. The film illustrates Lars’ personality using Abraham Maslow’s humanistic conception of personality and Hans Eysenck’s trait conception.
Humanistic conceptions of personality focus on our own natural progression towards achieving one’s full potential, having a holistic approach. Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) believes that growth and behaviour is motivated by a number of needs ranging from basic to psychological needs. He uses a hierarchy, commonly depicted as a five-tier pyramid in which the bottom 4 levels represent our deficit needs, shown in figure 1 below. Once the individual’s physiological needs are met, they may move to the next and so on. After all deficit needs have been met, an individual is capable of achieving self-actualisation. According to Maslow, fulfilling this need means reaching one’s highest potential and truly understanding one’s self.
Figure 1 shows Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
Maslow believes childhood experiences play an important role in personality development. Childhood experiences, such as