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Sex doll takes centre stage
Lars and the Real Girl (DVD)
Member Name: Ailran
Lars and the Real Girl (DVD)
Date: 18/06/09, updated on 01/02/10 (113 review reads)
Advantages: charming, funny, life affirming.. I could go on
Disadvantages: Not sure about repeat viewing
There is a young girl he works with who seems to quite like Lars but he cannot talk to her at all, ending up acting like a 12 year old around her. He likes that she talks to him but seems to have no idea of how to respond, so he ignores her or just plain runs away.
Lars is normal in most way, or he seems to be. He might be a little bit backward or maybe he just doesn't like more than basic interaction with other people. Karin, his sister in law (Emily Mortimer) tries valiantly to get him to join them for breakfast, or dinner, or in fact any meal at all ,but her the only reward for her persistence is a 'no thank you'.
Then Lars announces that he has a girlfriend, Bianca. This is a big enough surprise to his brother in itself but when he introduces her the shockwaves rumble throughout the close knit community. You see he bought Bianca off the internet. She is a life size, realistic 'doll'. To make matters worse it is readily apparent that Lars actually seems to think that she is real!
From then on Lars and The Real Girl becomes bright and breezy rom-com, just about, with some outright strange situations. It becomes the tale of a man trying to cope with life and people in the only way he can, by becoming like those around him in having a woman/partner in his life.
With Bianca he doesn't have to be scared or worry ... she understands him and he can talk to her with ease. All the things he couldn't bring himself to say to a real woman he can say to her.
L&TRG is an indie film in every way, much like the indie break through film Juno it oozes indieness from start to finish. It has that unsullied feel to it that you so rarely get these days. A film that has been left alone by Hollywood PR and hype, ignored by the studios executives who want the film smoothed out and made like every other movie.
I thought that no film would get close to Juno as the indie film of 2008, the successor to Little Miss Sunshine, but L&TRG gets very close, even surpassing it in places. In fact it joined Juno in getting a nomination for Best Screenplay at the 2008 Oscars.
What gives it such an indie feel is not only the skewed storyline but also the way it is made. It has very few locations, has a small, quality cast, has the typical offbeat soundtrack and sadly had a very limited release in the cinemas.
This is indie film making at its very best. It takes a well used and clichéd format (the romcom)and spins it 180 degrees on its head. Throwing in an idea that you would have thought would have scared off not only the big studios but all the smaller ones to... unless the Farrelly Brothers (Something About Mary, Stuck On You) were involved.
Ryan Gosling is a major star in the making. As Lars he shows once again that he is a class apart from most other young actors. He has done tortuous and heavy drama (Half Nelson), out and out thriller (Fracture) and romance (The Notebook) taking them all in his stride. He is a terrific actor who has the ability to make any film worth watching.
Here he is assisted by Emily Mortimer and Patricia Clarkson (indie woman supreme) amongst others and the characters reactions to meeting Bianca for the first time are amongst the funniest things you will ever see in a movie.
Lars is a little gem of a movie that you should try your hardest to get to see and at least due to the wonders of DVD you can do that quite easily now.
The only downside to it, as far as I can see, is that it might not be up to repeat viewing. A lot of the comedy comes from reactions, Lars' to Bianca and the townsfolk to the couple and their relationship. Whether this would work if you saw it again I am not certain. I don't think it would for me but on the other hand maybe I would notice more?
Whatever the answer to this question is Lars & the Real girl is one of the most gentle, amusing and funniest movies around.
Summary: A young man finds true love.