Psychoanalysis Perspective of Liar Liar
In Lois Tyson’s book Critical Theory Today: A User Friendly Guide, Tyson explains psychoanalytical concepts in her second chapter titled “Psychoanalytic Criticism.” Influenced by Sigmund Freud, psychoanalytic criticism is an approach to criticism or a critical technique that applies the principles, theories, and practices of psychoanalysis to literature (books, plays, films, etc.) in both the analysis of the author and the work itself (Tyson 11-12). The film “Liar Liar” directed by Tom Shadyac will be analyzed by using the psychoanalytical film theory. What exactly is the psychoanalytical film theory? It is focusing on and getting to the root of all phenomenon’s of a cinema in general, and figuring out the elements of specific films in particular, and in which are both shaped by the unconscious. “Whose unconscious?” you may ask. That storehouse of all of those painful experiences and emotions, wounds, fears, guilty desires, and unresolved conflicts we choose not to deal with because we become overwhelmed by them (Tyson 12). The unconscious can be recognized in four different categories: the filmmaker, the characters of a film, the film's audience, and the discourse of a given film. In this movie, the main character Fletcher Reede will be psychoanalyzed. - Habitual Lying -
Jim Carrey, playing the role of Fletcher Reede, is a very successful lawyer due to the fact that he is a habitual liar and has built his career upon that foundation. A habitual liar, (otherwise known as a pathological or compulsive liar) is defined as somebody who is constantly lying out of habit. Lying is their normal and reflexive way of responding to questions. Everything, large or small is bent way out of proportion and lying eventually becomes as easy as breathing. In Fletcher Reede’s case, that happens to be very true. I feel as if this disorder could be a reflection of Fletcher’s relationship with his father. Possibly have being a workaholic, and not ever being the best role model or best friend that a young boy should have, therefore that is all he knows. Lying on the job is a big part of Fletcher’s everyday life. For example, throughout the entire movie Fletcher is defending a woman in a divorce case who claims to be innocent after being accused of cheating on her husband on seven different occasions, each time with a different man. Obviously, some lies are going to be told to get her off of the hook. But unfortunately, the lying doesn’t stop when he leaves the court room. Fletcher has a horrible habit of lying to and letting down his four year old son, Max. Ironically the opening scene of the movie consists of the children in Max’s kindergarten class sharing what it is that their parent’s do for a living. Max’s response was “My dad is a liar”. Meaning to say “My dad is a lawyer”, not knowing that what he was saying happened to be the truth. Having to deal with divorced parents, Max lives with his mother and relies on Fletcher coming to visit him every now and then. Looking forward to it and getting so excited each and every time, Max is always let down in such a heartbreaking manner, due to his lying father continuously not showing up with endless excuses. The next scene, already, shows signs of his compulsive lying by Max sitting on the porch waiting for Fletcher to show up. Gasping at every car that drives by, being let down every time, Fletcher finally arrives with of course excuse after excuse. Then being mislead once again, by being told he was “going to wrestling” and “playing baseball in the yard” with his dad, he got tired of being fooled for the last time. This is the turning point in the film where Max decides he would like to prevent it from happening one more time. Max soon then has his fifth birthday party, which Fletcher once again failed to show up to, and the boy blew out his candles wishing that for one day, his father couldn’t tell a lie. Illogically, the wish he had made, came true....
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