Study Guide

The Incredibles Helen Parr / Elastigirl (Holly Hunter)

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Helen Parr / Elastigirl (Holly Hunter)

Helen Parr isn't the first woman forced to deal with a midlife crisis crazed hubby, and she certainly won't be the last. Of course, most of those hubbies aren't lucky enough to be married to a superheroine.

You know what they say: behind every great man is a woman with the power to stretch her body in strange and frightening ways. Er, they say that, right?

Helen the Big Dawg

Like her husband Bob, the former Mr. Incredible, Helen Parr was once a superhero: Elastigirl. Both of them were at the top of their game back then, kicking bad guy booty side-by-side and sparking a super-heroic romance. They even wed. D'aww.

Interestingly, it's Helen who has serious doubts about family life at this point. Check it out:

ELASTIGIRL: Settle down? Are you kidding? I'm at the top of my game. I'm right up there with the big dogs.

As we see in the movie, the complete opposite is true. It's Helen who successfully adapts to married life, while Bob—who previously waxed poetic about the "simple life"—crashes and burns with aplomb. What's the deal?

It all comes back to the Superhero Relocation Program, which forbids superheroes from using their powers. In a moment, Helen and Bob are literally banned from doing the thing they're best at. No wonder the transition messes with their heads.

Marital Bliss?

To be fair, it messes with Bob a lot more than it messes with Helen, leading him to go on illicit late-night superhero runs, use his powers in public, and just be an all-around cruddy father. This causes a great deal of tension in the marriage, though their fights often dodge their real feelings.

Here's a typical one:

BOB: You want to do something for Dash? Then let him actually compete. Let him go out for sports.

HELEN: I will not be made the enemy here. You know why we can't do that.

BOB: Because he'd be great.

Although they're talking about Dash, it's clear that Helen and Bob are really talking about their own relationship with their superpowers. Yeesh. Couples therapy much, guys?

These issues become amplified after Bob is hired by Syndrome to fight the Omnidroid. He straight-up lies to Helen about what he's up to, and though she buys it as first, her suspicions quickly grow. She doesn't immediately assume he's being tricked by a supervillain, though—she just assumes that he's having an affair. Given the lies, secret workout sessions, and sports car purchases, it's not a ridiculous thing to assume.

Back To Super-Basics

But then something flips. Maybe it's seeing her newly-designed Elastigirl costume. Maybe she's just fed up. Either way, Helen decides to take the situation into her own hands, tracking Bob's location and going on a clandestine rescue mission. Ride or die, ya'll. In this way, Helen returns to her superhero roots just as Bob has been doing the entire movie—and boy does it feel good.

You could even argue that Bob and Helen are only able to make peace because they're interacting like they did when they fell in love: as superheroes.

Here's an important interaction between them during the film's closing battle:

BOB: I can't lose you again. I can't. Not again. I'm not strong enough.

HELEN: If we work together, you won't have to be.

They don't need to choose between being parents and superheroes: they can be both. In fact, by bringing these two separate halves of themselves together, as they do in the final battle with Syndrome, they can be far stronger than they ever were as solo acts.


Like her husband, Helen has done the impossible: achieved personal balance between her present life as a parent and past life as a superhero. You might even call it incredible. She might not have handled this conflict with the same, uh, immaturity as her hubby, but she'll be just as grateful for the opportunity to be who she truly is.

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