The film "Let the Right One In" leaves a lot for me to ponder. Who exactly is Eli's "caretaker"? Is Eli female or male? Just how long has Eli been twelve? These questions can be answered simply by reading the novel, however I have not, so I would like to discuss these questions that have recently plagued my thoughts.
In the film, the main character, Oskar, meets Eli in the communal yard of the apartment complex. Eli tells Oskar that they can’t be friends because “that’s just how it is”. Even from the very beginning, Eli is an outsider, not because Oskar rejects her, but because she chooses to remain that way because she is a vampire and presumably doesn’t want to hurt or get close to Oskar.
In the film, Eli refers to the man she lives with as her father in the scene where she visits him in the hospital. Although that’s what she called him, I still found it rather difficult to believe that he was her father. First, why would Eli be a vampire and not her father? Secondly, their relationship was a little too odd for me to be comfortable with the idea that he was her father. After researching a bit of Eli’s history, I found that there are numerous adaptations of the “father” Hakan, each with a different relationship to Eli . In the Swedish film we watched, it appears Hakan was merely Eli’s caretaker who brought her blood to sustain her. Their relationship remained a bit mysterious to me up until Eli kills Hakan in the middle of the film.
One of the biggest questions I had about the film was regarding Eli’s gender. There are numerous instances where Eli is speaking to Oskar and mentions that she’s not a girl. At the time, it simply seems as if Eli is attempting to hint that she’s not a girl but a vampire. There is one brief scene, however, where Oskar spies on Eli changing and he notices a scar where her genitalia ought to have been. This scene is never explained within the film, but upon reading more about the character Eli, I have learned that her lack of genitalia comes from her background. The gruesome details about her scar is that the initial vampire that turned her, or rather him, castrated him and ate his genitalia, thus leaving Eli “sexless” . Although this isn’t directly addressed in the film, it appears as if this doesn’t really bother Oskar, thus further proving the film to be more of a romance.
Another small question I had regarding the film was just how old is Eli exactly? In the film, Oskar asks Eli how old he/she is, and she says that she’s 12, but that she’s been 12 for a very long time. This is yet another question that was never answered in the film that I again felt the need to research to put my mind at ease. Eli is a bit over 200 years old, according to the book . After learning this and thinking back to the film, it’s easy to see that she’s a bit more mature than a normal 12-year-old. Her intelligence also seems to be extensive in the film as well.
Even after all the research I’ve conducted regarding the mysterious character, Eli, I still find him/her to be interesting. I would love to read the novel to learn more of the backstory of this amazing character and to perhaps quell my burning desire to have the story explained a bit further. Until then, I shall be satisfied with the answers I’ve found on the internet.
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