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|LARS AND THE REAL GIRL (DVD, 2008) - RYAN GOSLING - STRANGE & FUNNY COMEDY!|
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Average review score based on 43 user reviews
of customers recommend this product
How exactly do you pitch a film like “Lars and the Real Girl?” “Picture this: a painfully shy young man orders a sex doll on the Internet and takes it with him everywhere he goes.”
I’m sure studios were lining up with their wallets out. Well, if they weren’t, they should have been. “Lars and the Real Girl” is an incontestable delight (and not even remotely the risqué film some might assume it to be).
Lars Lindstrom (Ryan Gosling) is not simply socially awkward, he’s socially inept. Unable to stand the touch of another human being, he prefers to sit alone in the dark, wrapped in the small blanket his mother knitted when he was born. Lars lives in the garage apartment behind his brother Gus (Paul Schneider) and pregnant sister-in-law, Karin’s (Emily Mortimer) house. Karin has made it her mission in life to extract the damaged but gentle Lars from his shell, constantly inviting him over for dinner despite his pitiful excuses as to why he is always unavailable.
One night Lars unexpectedly shows up on their doorstep with an announcement. He has a girlfriend. Is it Lars’ perky coworker, Margo (Kelli Garner) who is always watching him from the church choir loft? Overjoyed at the news, Gus and Karin are stunned when Lars reveals a life-sized love doll whom he calls Bianca. He’s even invented a back story: Bianca is a half-Brazilian, half-Danish paraplegic missionary raised by nuns who has come to the States for furlough after meeting Lars online. She’s “very religious,” of course, and would need to stay in Gus and Karin’s guest room.
Is Lars putting on an act? It doesn’t appear that way. He treats Bianca the same in private as he does in public. Gus is appalled and considers having his brother committed, while Karin sees some glimmer of hope in Lars’ actions, however absurd they may be. When Dr. Dagmar (Patricia Clarkson, who brings a deeply compassionate intelligence to the role) recommends playing along until they can determine what part of Lars desperately needs Bianca to exist, the whole town gets into the act.
While Lars drags Bianca everywhere, even to church, the small Wisconsin town in which he lives welcomes her as if she were every bit as real as Lars believes her to be. For them, Lars — eccentricities and all — is worth the compassion and even the benefit of the doubt.
“Lars and the Real Girl” is directed by Craig Gillespie (who incongruously enough also directed this summer’s critically and commercially panned “Mr. Woodcock”) and written by Nancy Oliver (“Six Feet Under”). If the plot sounds like the perfect set-up for a raunchy comedy, think again. Bianca may have been manufactured for sex, but Lars’ relationship with her is completely chaste. Indeed, the film blessedly never once indulges in even a hint of smut, even though there were so many opportunities where it could have.
This is not to say that a grown man lugging around an anatomically correct sex doll doesn’t have inherently funny scenes. But “Lars’” genuine humor erupts from the quiet, unexpected moments, not the widely telegraphed ones to which a lesser film would succumbed.
Gosling is one of the best actors we have. His performance is a study in serenity, control and tone — too little and we’d never buy his delusion; too much and we’d be looking for a straitjacket with Gus. But Gosling plays Lars with pinpoint control and quirky believability, delivering a performance that is never creepy and always endearing.
'Lars and the Real Girl' is one of the best independent films that I have seen. It is a journey of exploration in the life of the protagonist, Lars. Scarred emotionally by the early death of his mother, his father's withdrawal from his sons and the abandonment of his older brother, Lars lives a reclusive existence in his brother's garage. Although he is functional in society's terms and has no trouble in maintaining a job successfully, he has become almost pathologically shy, despite all attempts by his sister-in-law to draw him into the family circle. He has retreated emotionally to the point where a simple touch burns him.
Lars comes to a realisation that his lifestyle is hurting the people he loves and therefore takes dramatic and unconventional measures by purchasing a 'girlfriend' in the form of a sex doll over the internet. He introduces Bianca as his girlfriend to his family and the community and through his own behaviour towards her, transforms her into a 'real girl'. With fantastic irony, Bianca in time comes to represent the very best in human nature. Lars himself declares that she was put on this earth 'to help people'. From the start, he requests that she be allowed to stay in the guest room in the house, thereby making it clear that she is NOT to be viewed or treated as a sexual object.
By accompanying Bianca into every type of social situation from volunteer work at the local hospital to parties, he is able to gain social confidence and to develop close relationships with his family and the community.
Lars' initial refusal to commit himself to relationships with other human beings was based on an equation of love with death due to the death of his own mother in childbirth. As he grows ever closer to all the people who embrace Bianca unconditionally because of their love for HIM, he ultimately finds the courage to sacrifice Bianca for the sake of a possible future relationship with a co-worker. His own obvious grief and that of the community as a whole when confronted with the 'death' of Bianca make it clear, however, that she was as much a 'real girl' as his co-worker Margo.
Although the premise of the film is rich in humour, the underlying philosophical and psychological currents make 'Lars and the Real Gir' an amazingly profound study of humanity and the very nature of reality.
This movie has a strange concept but is interesting, funny at times, & ultimately uplifting. Lars, 27, keeps an emotional distance from everyone. He is functional in society in that he has a job, drives a car, and attends church, but he has no social skills, especially with women. We learn his mother died in childbirth and his father was very withdrawn. Lars is aware that he is not like others, but can't or won't change, until one day he orders a realistic life-size doll on the internet. He tells his brother and sister-in-law that he has a girlfriend. They are ecstatic until they see that Bianca is made of plastic. They consult a doctor, who says that Lars is delusional, but since he is harming no one, the best thing to do is play along. Soon the whole town begins to accept Bianca as real. By accompanying Bianca to parties, Lars learns social skills. Eventually it dawns on Lars that he is not alone; he has a whole town full of people who care about him. When Lars finds the courage to give up Bianca in favor of interacting with live humans, his friends find that they miss Bianca, too. The film is appropriate for family viewing (Lars does NOT have sex with Bianca; they even sleep in separate bedrooms). The themes of love and loss, taking risks in order to connect with people, and accepting others' eccentricities are explored in a gently humorous way. A story that starts out as ridiculous becomes genuinely heartwarming.
I saw this movie a few months ago and it left a lasting imprint on me. Altough I wouldn't call this exactly a "romantic comedy", it does have it's fair share of comical moments and unconventional romance. Some people who usually enjoy slightly more mainstream movies might not exactly get what's meant in this movie, although I'd recommend it to anyone. Lars, played by an amazing Ryan Gosling, really shows a sincere caring for "Bianca", his fake plastic love.
With this movie, you can peer into the mind of a man who finds love and acceptance in a lifesize plastic doll. Whats also amazing and touching is how the townspeople in the neighborhood Lars lives respond to his odd behavior, which is with love and understanding.
This movie is a sleeper. Another case of one that the cover doesn't scream to rent, but the viewer is in for a RIDE. When asked to recommend, it isn't quite easy without revealing too much. The story was sweet, strange, kooky, tender, and quite a shock. Ryan Gosling's work is brilliant and I really felt that there is a true message in this film. I think it makes one have an open mind after you watch it.