Film Analysis Paper

Film Analysis Paper

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I chose to analyze Despicable Me, an animated film geared towards a younger audience, because I was interested in examining underlying theories and messages that this film would be relaying to its viewers. Often times, when watching animated films, children are not aware of these messages, as they are absorbed by the characters, special effects, and humor. But as we have learned throughout this semester, our brains are subconsciously primed by the various surroundings we are exposed to. Since we also studied the impacts of entertainment, such as television and video games, on children, I wanted to see how a popular children’s film might also affect them.
Throughout the film, viewers witness Gru’s self-concept drastically changing. This is very important to recognize because self-concept influences the “roles we play, social identities we form, the comparisons we make with others, and our successes and failures” (Meyers, 40). In the beginning, Gru collectively characterizes himself as a villain, and as a result, forms a social identity as an evil individual. He does not compare himself to a layperson, such as his next-door neighbor, but rather to other villains and their criminal accomplishments. His self-concept influences the role he plays in society, and hence his behavior and actions. Gru’s behavior can be described as selfish, as he is solely concerned of his own gains and benefits, and very aggressive. He shapes his behavior to emphasize his social role of a villain. For example, in the beginning of the film, when Gru sees a young boy crying because he dropped his ice cream, he makes a balloon animal for him. When the boy begins to smile, Gru then proceeds to pull out a pin and pop the balloon. When he encounters a long time...

... middle of paper ...

...ic motives with his goals. This is boldly highlighted towards the end of the film, where Gru realizes that his desire to be with his three daughters and become a good father, an intrinsically motivated goal, outweighs his desire to be recognized as the world’s greatest villain.

Works Cited

Brewer, M.B., & Gardener, W. (1996). Who is this “We”? Levels of Collective Identity and Self
Representations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Vol 71, No. 1, 83-93.
Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P.R., (2005). Attachment Security, Compassion, and Altruism.
American Psychological Society: Current Directions in Psychological Science: Vol 14,
No. 1.
Croll, W.L., & Smith, R.M. (1984). The effects of extrinsic reward timing on intrinsic
motivation. Bulletin of Psychonomic Society: 415-417.
Myers, D. G. (2010). Social psychology (10th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.

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