lars1.jpgRealness is easy to take for granted. One thinks it’s just common sense, but what really makes something “real.” Does it have to be tangible? Do you have to see it to believe it; to believe in it? The thing I love the most in this whole wide world is my Cabbage Patch Kid doll, Fifi. I don’t talk about her much, but she’s quietly sat on my bed for my entire life. I love her like I love nothing else. She’s the first thing I reach for when I have a bad day, and the last thing I kiss before I got so sleep. I don’t know what compels my fondness for her, and I don’t expect anyone to understand. She may not have “life,” but she’s in my life. So even though she’s not real to you, it doesn’t matter. She’s real to me, and that is what makes something real.

Lars And The Real Girl creatively explores this same concept of love for an inanimate object. A grown man, Lars is an obliviously awkward recluse, yet he is sweet, thoughtful, and kind. He diligently goes to work each morning, and devotedly attends service every Sunday. He is refreshingly naive but has the depth of a thousand year old man. Completely incapable of handling the most simple human interaction, Lars orders an anatomically correct, life-size doll, Bianca; not for sex, but for companionship (both are waiting for marriage). All of sudden, Lars is a new person. He attends parties, makes new friends, and he’s the happiest he’s ever been. This is what every healthy relationship should do to a person . . . except his girlfriend’s a doll.

“How is this movie even watchable?” you ask. Well, obviously Lars is delusional, but that’s about all that’s wrong with his character. And its heartwarming to see a town that loves Lars so much that its people go out of its way to humor him. Through the duration of the film, Bianca is never shown in the nude, and she is never cast aside like a “thing” that was born from a box. She’s treated with respect and decency; just like a person. Because of Lars’ love for Bianca, and the town’s love for Lars, the rigid, silicone Bianca is full of life and personality. The dry, situational humor makes the pathos of this film bearable, and Ryan Gosling’s exceptional acting compels empathy from an audience that may balk at the idea of making room in its heart for loony Lars and his doll.

This movie sends an interesting message about the things we need to do to work out our feelings, and it has so much optimism about people and their ability to embrace and understand the differences in others. This is a good movie. Don’t judge it before you see it.

The Upside: Explores a serious subject through comical means.

The Downside: Nothing really . . . It’s pretty damn good.

On the Side: Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams broke up. Bummer. I wonder if it was because of Bianca?

Grade: A

Lars and the Real Girl Poster Release Date: October 12, 2007 (limited)
Rated: PG-13 for some sex-related content.
Running Time: 106 min.
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, Paul Schneider, Patricia Clarkson
Director: Craig Gillespie
Screenplay: Nancy Oliver
Studio: MGM
Official Website: Click Here

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