Elliot is the main character of the movie entitled E.T: the Extra Terrestrial. He is a ten year old boy, a loner, shy and lacks confident. His family consists of his 16-year-old brother Michael, and a younger sister named Gertie. The three siblings live with their mother. Throughout the movie, their father’s absence is severely felt and it is the main factor affecting Elliot’s life, personality and relationships with those around him. Through various dialogues the audience learns that Elliot’s parents have divorced and his father has moved to Mexico with his girlfriend Sally. This is the main reason why Elliot changes when E.T. appears in his life, because he develops a close, almost parent-like relationship with the alien, wanting desperately to fill emotional gaps.
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Throughout the film, the audience witnesses Elliot grow and become mature after suffering alienation because of his father’s desertion. There is a blatant lack of male authority in Elliot’s life and his brother often acts as a substitute father figure. The topic is also obviously painful to discuss openly in their family, but the two brothers bond in the garage by telling each other honestly that they miss their father’s absence. When E.T. appears, Elliot no longer feels the powerful impact of his loneliness. He grows attached to E.T. and there are many connections putting E.T. and the father together in Elliot’s mind. For example, E.T. dresses up in Elliot’s father’s clothing.
Furthermore, E.T. and Elliot both share the feelings of abandonment from their families as E.T. tries to call back home to reconnect, symbolizing Elliot’s desire to reach out to his father as well. When Elliot takes care of E.T. and protects him from government authorities, they switch the parent role. When E.T. is close to getting home, Elliot gets physically sick, along with E.T., which gives a closer look at the emotional trauma both characters are experiencing at the thought of another separation. Just as a parent is able to understand a child’s feeling, E.T. and Elliot can ‘feel’ each other, making a permanent connection.
At the time of E.T.’s supposed death, Elliot breaks down emotionally and confesses his love and attachment to the alien. The dialogue is almost as if Elliot is saying the words which he would like to hear from his own father. After this scene, Elliot recovers, as if unearthing a heavy burden that has been weighing him down. For the first time he is able to confidently and eloquently share his feelings. Furthermore, by talking to the scientist, who sincerely wants to help Elliot emotionally, Elliot accepts his father’s absence by connecting to another man. It is also the first time in the movie there appears a distinct male authority in Elliot’s life. Even E.T. is able to link himself to the astronaut, who symbolizes his return home.
Afterwards, the scientist takes an interest in Elliot’s emotional state, ignoring E.T. who was his main goal. He senses that Elliot’s need of his help is more crucial than his experiments on the dead alien. Wrapped up in a blanket given by the scientist, Elliot feels physically and emotionally safe, even imagining his own father at the scene for a moment. When his father’s image disappears, Elliot’s character development is blatant as he accepts other males in his life. Moreover, the scientist emerges in casual clothes in the family kitchen, this time bonding with the mother. This event suggests that he might become a permanent part of the family, and their savior. He even accompanies the family to say goodbye to E.T., as if he were their true father. The male, head of the family, coming back to the house is the main reason why Elliot does not need E.T. anymore and happily bids him goodbye. E.T., in return, is glad to go back home as he could not survive in this strange world any longer. This further suggests that Elliot’s and E.T.’s relationship was only able to last for a short time as it was an imaginary role-play of father and child, but not a realistic one.
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