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Lars and the Real Girl has been on my personal queue for nearly two years but every time it came up to near the top I had some other movie that I decided to watch instead. The main reason I kept pushing off the movie is due to my gut feeling that the movie would end up being an indie version of Weekend at Bernie’s. While the movie was still very campy and strange, the characters and acting are really endearing.
Lars (played perfectly by Ryan Gosling, Remember the Titans and The Notebook) is a 27-year old living in a small town somewhere in either northern US or Canada. He lives in his brother’s garage and works in a typical office with little to no prospects for excitement. Due to loosing his mother when born and being raised in a conservative family, Lars never really learned who he was or how to socialize with people. Now an adult, people are concerned that he doesn’t have any friends or someone special in his life. With a niece or nephew on the way and a new female employee who likes him at his office, Lars reacts to the stress in his life by dating a sex doll.
While the movie could have been about the relationship between Lars and the doll (Bianca), it becomes secondary to the relationship the surrounding community has with Bianca in an attempt to help Lars through his problems. Through some cleaver plans by Lars’ Brother and Sister-in-Law (played really well by Paul Schneider of George Washington and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and Emily Mortimer of Paris, Je T’Aime and Notting Hill) and the town, Lars is forced to deal with Bianca as a real person and the complications of a relationship. With each scene, Bianca becomes more and more human and as a result Lars becomes more and more socially accepting of people and his place in the world.
The ending was predictable and sappy but the acting, and the originality of the script was more than enough to make the movie worth watching. The PG-13 rating seemed a little harsh and I would say that in general the movie was rather wholesome and family safe. Ryan Gosling and Emily Mortimer really gave heartfelt performances and the supporting cast (especially Kelli Garner who I expect to become a well know character actress very soon) really make the movie into something special. I highly recommend it as a movie that shows how entertaining a movie with no explosions can really be.
Other movies that I thought of while watching: