I remember one of my film writing professor mentioning once how easy it would have been to mess up Lars and the Real Girl. There were many ways to do so, but I am certain that he and audiences alike were determined this would be through sex. After all, if Lars is going to have a relationship with the doll then why would the writer or director not include that scene? The answer is because they were smart. The film is handled in such a way that surprised me and when a local Blockbuster went of out business some time ago, the film became a part of my movie collection.
In many ways the surprising part of Lars and the Real Girl is how much the film makes one truly think about their loved ones. How do we treat our loved ones? Do we put as much effort into our relationships as Lars does into his relationship? There are so many questions that the film will make one think about that makes the feature even smarter at the end of the day. This is one of my reviews that will contain a bit more information scattered about from here on out, and even a spoiler, which I will make sure to announce. So if you are one of those readers who need to view the film first then go watch it! Then of course come back and see if you agree with me or not.
In terms of plot, Lars and the Real Girl is about a man by the name of Lars Lindstrom (Ryan Gosling). He is anti-social to say the least. His anti-social behavior even extends to his family. He rarely accepts invite from his brother Gus’s (Paul Schneider) wife Karin (Emily Mortimer) to have dinner in their home. Lars and his brother live in the home of their deceased father, but Lars lives in a converted garage instead of the main property. Often times when he accepts these offers, he remains quiet for the duration of the meal and appears eager to leave.
One night, he explains to the couple that he has met a beautiful girl by the name of Bianca on the internet. He even tells them she is of Brazilian and Danish decent. Upon his brother and his wife meeting Bianca, they discover she is a sex doll that Lars has ordered from an adult website. Immediately the two become worried and insist on him and Bianca going to the family doctor, Dagmar (Patricia Clarkson). Dagmar insists that Bianca has low blood pressure and that Lars must bring her in weekly to monitor her, but in reality she is monitoring his delusional behavior. As the film goes on, everyone around him begins to accept Bianca as real, due to Dagmar’s recommendation and he slowly begins to blossom and interact with others in the town.
In addition, the acting within the film is absolutely sensational. Gosling amazes me yet again with his performance of Lars. His belief in Bianca makes audiences and other characters believe in her as well. In fact, I found myself touched by the fact that everyone around Lars cares about him so much that they are willing to be a part of the charade in order to help him during what they consider to be a difficult time in his life.
What really surprised me about the film, spoiler alert ahead, is how emotional one becomes when Bianca finally passes. This is something that Lars has to do on his own, but the fact that the whole town shows up to her funeral. And that was when I found myself bawling over the fact that a sex doll had passed. After all, if one can love a fake person that much, just think of the amount of love that person will be able to give to a real live person.
Furthermore, there are other actors that deserve some praise for this film. My other favorite performances come from three amazing actresses. This is not to say that Schneider did not play his role well, but I feels the need to praise these fabulous women instead.
Emily Mortimer is brilliant. She is the perfect blend of being completely confused about the entire situation to being a rock for Lars and being able to play along and understand everything at the same time. She does this all the while she is pregnant and having issues to deal with of her. Considering she is already highly emotional and able to deal with everything else speaks volumes in my opinion.
Then there is Patricia Clarkson. She is sensational in just about everything the woman does and this film is no exception. She understand Lars probably more than anyone else in the town, but because of that she knows how to treat him and is able to make others understand as well. This is even when they might not want to understand entirely either.
Finally, I must speak of Kelli Garner who plays Margo. She is a woman that is clearly interested in Lars and he likes her as well but is never prepared to go any further than this with her. Eventually as their relationship begins to blossom, slowly but surely, Margo makes sure to try Lars in the same delicate manner that he treats her. I find this both romantic and sweet.
Finally, Lars and the Real Girl makes audiences examine their own relationships. What would you do for a friend in this situation? Would you tell the friend to grow up and start interacting in the real world? Or would you slowly ease him into it like everyone around Lars does so willing? This is a film that speaks of the human condition in many ways. Lars is constantly trying to figure out what will make him a man. He realizes this through the help of Gus and those around him. Not once does he ever appear truly discouraged.
That is the whole point to life. Life is rough and can treat you horribly, but at the end of the day what is really important is that we as people take it one day at a time. That is all we can do sometimes just to get by and that is not a bad thing. In fact, its all apart of being a human.