Love Object received an incognito release a few years back, and this is unfortunate as what we have here is a film that takes a very basic idea (albeit one that I've not seen used before) and crafts and inventive and somewhat frightening little film out of it. The only film really similar to this that I can think of is Lucky McKee's oddball gem 'May', which seems to be gaining more and more fans all the time; and this makes Love Object's releasing all the more unfortunate, as this is a film that could definitely win itself a dedicated cult following. The film focuses on Kenneth Winslow - he's an everyday guy with an everyday sort of job at a place that prints instruction manuals. His life takes a turn one day when his co-workers introduce him to Nikki - a lifelike doll on sale on the internet for a whopping $10,000. He decides to buy the doll, and after becoming acquainted with it - quickly falls in love. However, he's also starting to get on with his lovely female co-worker...and this 'upsets' his $10,000 plastic love object, leading to the emergence of a strange love triangle.Going into this film; I was worried that the plot might not be able to stretch the running time - but there's enough else going on to ensure that Love Object doesn't become boring. The production values are high considering that this obviously wasn't a big budget film, and the acting is also rather good. The central performance is delivered by a shy looking Desmond Harrington, and he has good chemistry with his female co-star, Melissa Sagemiller. To the cult fan, however, the most interesting performance in the movie comes from Udo Kier - and while he's not really given the opportunity to make a big mark on the film, it's always good to see him. Rip Torn also plays a part, and along with Kier; makes the movie more memorable. Director Robert Parigi gets the audience into the film because the people in it are largely very realistic; the leads aren't overly good/bad looking and they don't have unlikely jobs, so the film is easy to get on with for normal people who have never spent any time with a sex doll. The film seems like it should have a point...but if there is one, I couldn't detect it. "Don't have sex with a rubber doll" is about the best I can do on that front. However, the film is interesting throughout and ends with a good twist...so Love Object definitely comes recommended.
Some may hold that love is physical, i.e., that love is nothing but a physical response to another whom the agent feels physically attracted to. Accordingly, the action of loving encompasses a broad range of behavior including caring, listening, attending to, preferring to others, and so on. (This would be proposed by behaviorists). Others (physicalists, geneticists) reduce all examinations of love to the physical motivation of the sexual impulse-the simple sexual instinct that is shared with all complex living entities, which may, in humans, be directed consciously, sub-consciously or pre-rationally toward a potential mate or object of sexual gratification.
The ethical aspects in love involve the moral appropriateness of loving, and the forms it should or should not take. The subject area raises such questions as: is it ethically acceptable to love an object, or to love oneself? Is love to oneself or to another a duty? Should the ethically minded person aim to love all people equally? Is partial love morally acceptable or permissible (that is, not right, but excusable)? Should love only involve those with whom the agent can have a meaningful relationship? Should love aim to transcend sexual desire or physical appearances? May notions of romantic, sexual love apply to same sex couples? Some of the subject area naturally spills into the ethics of sex, which deals with the appropriateness of sexual activity, reproduction, hetero and homosexual activity, and so on.
Previously, extended absences of the object (the good breast, the mother) was experienced as persecutory, and, according to the theory of unconscious phantasy, the persecuted infant phantisizes destruction of the bad object. The good object who then arrives is not the object which did not arrive. Likewise, the infant who destroyed the bad object is not the infant who loves the good object.
In phantasy, the good internal mother can be psychically destroyed by the aggressive impulses. It is crucial that the real parental figures are around to demonstrate the continuity of their love. In this way, the child perceives that what happens to good objects in phantasy does not happen to them in reality. Psychic reality is allowed to evolve as a place separate from the literalness of the physical world.
Klein argued that people who never succeed in working through the depressive position in their childhood will, as a result, continue to struggle with this problem in adult life. For example: the cause that a person may maintain suffering from intense guilt feelings over the death of a loved one, may be found in the unworked- through depressive position. The guilt is there because of a lack of differentiation between phantasy and reality. It also functions as a defense mechanism to defend the self against unbearable feelings of sadness and sorrow, and the internal object of the loved one against the unbearable rage of the self, which, it is feared, could destroy the internal object forever.
Sigmund Freud developed the concept object relation to describe or emphasize that bodily drives satisfy their need through a medium, an object, on a specific focus. The central thesis in Melanie Klein's object relations theory was that objects play a decisive role in the development of a subject and can be either part-objects or whole-objects, i.e. a single organ (a mother's breast) or a whole person (a mother). Consequently, both a mother or just the mother's breast can be the focus of satisfaction for a drive. Furthermore, according to traditional psychoanalysis, there are at least two types of drives, the libido (mythical counterpart: Eros), and the death drive, mortido (mythical counterpart: Thanatos). Thus, the objects can be receivers of both love and hate, the affective effects of the libido and the death drive.
Fairbairn was impressed with the work of Klein, particularly in her emphasis on internalized objects, but he objected to the notion that internalization of external objects was based on death instinct. The death instinct is a remnant of the Freudian model that was emphasized in Klein's model, and her model assumes that human behavior is motivated by a struggle between the instinctual forces of love and hate. Klein believed that each human being was born with a inborn death instinct which motivated the child to imagine hurting their mother during the schizoid period of development. The child attempts to protect themselves from becoming overwhelmed by hate by internalizing, or taking into themselves, memories of the loving aspects of their parents to counteract the hateful components. Fairbairn's model also emphasized the internalization of external objects, but his view of internalization was not based on instinctual drive, but rather the child's normal desire to understand the world around him.
The greatest need of a child is to obtain conclusive assurance (a) that he is genuinely loved as a person by his parents, and (b) that his parents genuinely accept his love. It is only in so far as such assurance is forthcoming in a form sufficiently convincing to enable him to depend safely upon his real objects that he is able to gradually renounce infantile dependence without misgiving. In the absence of such assurance his relationship with his objects is fraught with too much anxiety over separation to enable him to renounce the attitude of infantile dependence: for such a renunciation would be equivalent in his eyes to forfeiting all hope of ever obtaining the satisfaction of his unsatisfied emotional needs. Frustration of his desire to be loved as a person and have his love accepted is the greatest trauma that a child can experience (Fairbairn, 1952:39-40).
This quote illustrates the basis of Fairbairn's model. It is completely interpersonal in that there are no biological drives of inherited instincts. The child is born with a need for love and safety, and when his interpersonal environment fails him, he stops developing psychologically and emotionally. The counterintitutive result of maternal (or paternal, if the father is the primary caregiver) failure is that the child becomes more, rather than less, dependent upon her, because by failing to meet her child's needs the child has to remain dependent in the hope that love and support will be forthcoming in the future. Over time, the failed support of the child's developmental needs leaves him further and further behind his similarly aged peers. The emotionally abandoned child must turn to his own resources for comfort, and turns to his inner world with its readily available fantasies, in an attempt to partially meet his needs for comfort, love and later, for success. Often these fantasies involve others figures who have been self-created. Fairbairn noted that the child's turn toward his inner world protected him from the harsh reality of his family environment, but turned him away from external reality. "All represent relationships with internalized objects, to which the individual is compelled to turn in default of satisfactory relationships in the outer world (Fairbairn, 1952, 40 italics in the original).
Fairbairn realized that the child's absolute dependence on the good will of his mother made him intolerant of accepting or even acknowledging that he is being abused because that would weaken his necessary attachment to his parent. The child creates a delusion that he in a lives warm cocoon of love, and any information that interferes with this delusion is forcibly expelled from his consciousness, as he cannot face the terror of rejection or abandonment at three, four or five years of age. The defense that children use to maintain their sense of security is dissociation, and they force all memories of parental failures (neglect, indifference or emotional abandonments) into their unconscious. Over time the neglected child develops an ever expanding memory bank of event after event in which he was neglected. These dissociated interpersonal events are always in pairs, a self in relationship to an object. For example, a child who is neglected dissociates a memory of himself as a frightened confused self who has been neglected by a remote and indifferent parent. If these events are repeated again and again, the child's unconscious groups the memories into a view of the self and a view of the parent, both which are too toxic and upsetting to be allow into consciousness. The paired dissociations of self and object that accrued from rejections were called the antilibidinal ego (the child's frightened self) and the rejecting object (the indifferent or absent parent). Thus, in addition to the conscious central ego, which relates to the nurturing and supportive parts of the parent (called the ideal object), the child has a second view of self and object in his unconscious: the antilibidinal ego and the rejecting object. 2b1af7f3a8