Film, or simply called as a “moving talking pictures” (Soles, 2009: 41) has always been captivating human by its sound, characters, colour, motion, setting, and the special effects. Film usually reflects some issues that happen in the society, including family, because through film, the issues which contain some messages, insights, or educations can be conveyed easier to the audiences – as well as entertaining them. Animation, in particular, is easier to be understood and digested by children, though it is not limited only for children – adults can enjoy it too as well.
One of the issues that commonly happens in the society is the issue about affection in family. It is a very important issue because affection within family is one of the basic of human needs. As stated by Lauer (2000: 30), family is a group united by marriage, blood, and/or adoption in order to satisfy needs and/or bear and socialize children. If the need, such as love and affection, is not satisfied in the family since childhood, then it can affect human’s behavior in the adulthood. Feist (2006: 164) also added that early childhood experiences plays a leading role in shaping human’s personality and behavior.
This issue will be analyzed further by relating it to the animated film, Despicable Me. This animated film is chosen as the object of analysisbecause it gives a clear example about affection in family. The writer finds this animated film is
interesting and touching because it also has a deep phenomena regarding the importance of affection in the family, especially the mother, in shaping children’s behavior and development.
Despicable Me is a computer-animated 3D comedy film which is released on July 9, 2010 and distributed by Universal Pictures in the United States. As the first animated film produced by Illumination Entertainment, this film has got positive reviews from the film critics and successfully gained profit for about $ 543 million worldwide against the budget of $ 69 million (www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=despicableme.htm, retrieved September 20, 2012). Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud based on an original story by Sergio Pablos, this movie has got an award in Kids Choice Awards as a Favorite Animated Movie and being nominated in 22 other prestigious film competitions (www.imdb.com/title/tt1323594, retrieved September 20, 2012). By that large amount of audience, positive responses, and awards, it is believed that this movie has a great influence of its content related to the issue of family to the audience as the members of society.
Despicable Me represents a villain named Gru. He has a vision to be the greatest villain in the world by stealing the moon after The Great Pyramid of Giza is stolen by a mysterious villain. He wants to steal the moon to prove his power and to impress his mother because he is always neglected since he was a child. His misbehavior is not merely caused by his own decision, but his mother’s treatments to him lead him to the destructive behavior. His mother never appreciates whatever he has done and always ignores him, therefore he takes the initiative to steal the moon so his mother will feel proud of him for the first time of his life.
Gru makes some great efforts in order to realize his dream, even he adopts three orphaned children to help him defeat the mysterious villain. At the first time when the children come to his house, he really hates them and treats them haphazardly because when his plan has already fulfilled, he wants to return the children to the orphanage. But as the time goes by, the presence of the three children makes Gru’s life turns upside down. Through them Gru can learn about the meaning of love in the family and realize his fatherly side. He then realizes that all of his evil deeds are useless and worthless compared with the love he gets from the three children.
The research about Despicable Me has been done by Wilson (2010) in her analysis entitled Feminist Film Analysis 101: A Case Study of “Despicable Me”. Her research focuses on family and parenthood which suggest that parenting need not to be gendered, that both women and men can raise children well. The topic of this thesis is meant to complete the film analysis study from a different point of view, which is seen from the view of psychoanalysis.
The problem formulations of the study are:
How does the treatment received by the main character affect his adulthood behavior?
How does the main character cope with his overwhelming anxieties?
Scope and Limitations
This study is focused on the animated film entitled Despicable Me. The limitations concern with the main character, Gru, his mother, the theme, and defense mechanisms used by Gru (repression and denial).
Goals and Functions
The goals of this study are to find out the treatments received by the main character that affect his adulthood behavior and the defense mechanisms used by him in order to cope with his overwhelming anxieties. Besides the main goals above, this study is expected to motivate and give an alternative study for readers on applying psychoanalysis in film. Furthermore, this study is also expected to be an alternative model of film analysis.
This research is conducted by applying qualitative research method. Qualitative research method is applied because this research is concerned with understanding human’s behavior which is searching for meaning and interpretation, so it is subjective and does not have to involve statistics.
The primary data of this research is an animated film entitled Despicable Me, while the secondary data are literature books and articles from the internet which supporting the interpretation process in answering the problem formulations in this research.
To compose this research, critical watching several times is done in order to observe the characters and the problems appeared. The problems are analyzed based on the theory of psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud. After analyzing, the conclusion is made in order to answer the problem formulations.