by Ken B.
Lars and the Real Girl reminded me of those stories you hear about once in a while where a person forms a romantic relationship with an inanimate object. That happens. Sure, they’re crazy, and we see that from our side of things, but what do they see? That question is irrelevant. And aren’t we crazy? We shouldn’t criticize other people for being crazy when we’re all crazy ourselves. Or something like that.
Craig Gillespie’s 106 minute movie focuses on Lars (RYAN GOSLING), a delusional man. Well, on the outside he seems normal, if not a bit lonely. This is a worry echoed by his brother Gus (PAUL SCHNEIDER), and Gus’ wife Karin (EMILY MORTIMER). One day, Lars explains he has a girlfriend, who is a wheelchair bound missionary from Brazil. And then, it’s discovered that she’s a premium life sized anatomically correct doll ordered from a shady website. And there’s no question about it, Lars is convinced that this doll (named Bianca) is indeed a real person, communicating with her and acting as a translator of sorts for any other people that happen to be in the room. I’ve always been amused when this happens in movies. You know, someone has an imaginary friend, and they explain the individual’s thoughts to everyone else without request. I guess you call that creative liberty.
I guess from here, one might think that this movie would spiral down into the lowest common denominator jokes, as such dolls are typically reserved for individuals who wish to live in a world where it’s okay to treat women like objects. But no, Lars and the Real Girl takes the high road, and as a result, the rewardingly funny one. The script has kind of a unique feel to it, and since this is a unique movie, this helps things out a lot. The lighting is warm, and the acting is brilliant. It’s probably very hard to play a crazy person and pull it off, but Ryan Gosling does exceptionally well, creating an attractively insane nutcase that’s just so easy to root for.
Lars and the Real Girl manages to take a strange premise and make it a worthwhile movie. I’ve always thought that very few premises in movies are inherently bad – it’s the execution that kills it (ha, ha). Some premises are riskier than others. Do me a favor and read the plot outline I’ve set a couple of paragraphs up. See? See how wrong that could have gone? I thought it was literally refreshing to see how well done this kind of idea was done.
This is, indeed, a very good movie. It doesn’t seem like it could be, which I think may have had something to do with why it didn’t do very good business at the box office. Lars and the Real Girl is a rewarding, fresh, and funny.