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About Duff

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  1. When it comes to liking the movie I'm Team Fred, but I can't agree with everything Jason and June were arguing. Yes, obviously, a child's imaginary friend is going to be an extension of their subconscious. But that's what an adult would say. A child *knows* their friend is imaginary but *believes* they are real, and being a children's movie (yes, it is) we're just expected to think in that way. Fred is absolutely a projection of Elizabeth's own mind - the green pills are killing him because they "neutralise that part of the brain" - but he is simultaneously a physical being capable of exerting force on the real world. As a child, I never doubted for a second that it was really Fred that soiled the carpet, sank the boat and made Elizabeth pour water on herself. Here's how I've got everything together in my head: An imaginary friend's job is to make unhappy children happy. They act like children, have a child's understanding of the world, and help kids do what they're supposed to do - laugh at farts and boogers, make messes, generally have fun being naughty. In a normal situation, the imaginary friend would be there for the child as they grew up and learned to be happy on their own, at which point they would no longer needed and would move on. By moving on, I mean they fade from the first child's memory and are re-imagined by a new child. Same personality, same bag of tricks, but born again in a new subconscious, possibly with no memory of their previous child (Fred doesn't acknowledge Elizabeth in any way, despite their emotional parting moments earlier). It's not like they're assigned by an agency. They just become part of a new child. Elizabeth's situation was not normal, though. Fred was there to help her be happy and grow into a happy adult, but her mother got in the way. By threatening to kill Fred, she forced Elizabeth to immediately begin *acting* like a grown-up, but denied her the learning and self-understanding that would have come from her growing into adulthood normally. As an adult she is emotionally stunted, and only understands happiness in the context of her abusive relationships with her mother and then husband. When Fred reappears he still acts and thinks like a child, because he is Elizabeth's childhood that was taken from her. She thinks she will only be happy if Charles takes her back. Fred thinks he can make her happy the same way he used to - be silly, make her laugh, and push back against her oppressors. His way doesn't work, but neither does hers. Together they hit rock bottom. He nearly dies, and she realises she can't leave her cheating husband. When they enter Elizabeth's subconscious, she runs to Fred for help, but while he guides and encourages her he never actually solves her problems for her. She banishes her own demons, and sets herself free. When Fred tells her he has to go, his demeanor has changed. He is speaking and acting like an adult. They both finally grew up. Together. He disappears because Elizabeth doesn't need him anymore. Natalie, living with a single dad and an oppressive nanny, needs help being happy. She imagines Fred, and they start having the same fun Elizabeth used to have. He doesn't remember or doesn't care about Elizabeth anymore because to him, that never happened. He's always been Natalie's friend and always will be. It's not perfect, but it's great. Team Fred!