Lars Lindstrom lives in the garage next to his childhood home, now owned by his brother’s growing family. He gently evades his sister-in-law’s efforts to visit the house and prefers to keep to himself. On the rare occasion that he does accept the invitation, Lars picks at his food and conversation between family members is (at best) forced. Connecting to his family, co-workers, and churchgoers seems like an impossible task for Lars.
Commentary: I believe that we learn about Lars’ large capacity to love. After suffering the physical loss of his mother and mental detachment of his father, Lars still possesses the most beautiful quality: childlike love. He learns to redefine love as a version that doesn’t involve a transactional give and take process. Lars allows himself to give love to Bianca, without receiving love in return.
Karin, Lars’ pregnant sister-in-law, has a profound impact upon Lars’ psyche. Throughout the film, I couldn’t help but notice that Lars was particularly uncomfortable whenever Karin approached him. His demeanor seemed to exude a frightened, little boy’s persona. Lars’ eyes would drift downwards; his voice would become even more quiet and stilted. He was scared that the pregnancy was dangerous and feared for Karin’s health.
Final Thoughts: Clearly, Lars is terrified that Karin’s pregnancy will cause physical harm. During a checkup with Bianca, he tells Dagmar that pregnancy is dangerous. He shies away from truly living life and his fears take new meaning as Gus and Karin expect their first child. His brother continues to create a life from himself, while Lars is left behind, again. After living through the trauma of his mother’s death and father’s neglect, I believe that Lars fears the same will happen to his unborn niece/nephew.
Rating: ********* (9 out of 10)