Lars and the Real Girl
Lars and the Real Girl is a delightful little comedy slash drama, which uses a unique approach to form a storyline about coming to grips with loss and rediscovering love, love on many levels.
Unique as it focuses on the central character Lars, a loner who avoids human contact at all costs. He lives like a hermit, but doesn’t necessarily enjoy his solitude.
We discover the reasons for his odd, seemingly mental disposition later in the movie, but not before we’re introduced to Bianca.
Bianca arrives in Lars life in a wooden box – possibly a sublime reference to death and rebirth. Bianca you see is a mail order, life-sized, anatomically correct sex doll.
It’s here that the humour really kicks in. First off Lars invites Bianca to his Brother and Sister-in-law’s house for dinner, acting as if she is a real person. Not knowing quite what to do, they play along, seeking medical advice the following day.
Following the advice of the local doctor, the whole community eventually gets behind Lars and his belief that Bianca is real, going as far as voting her onto the school board.
Plenty of laughs ensue as Bianca shows up in improbable situations, and as we quietly smile and laugh, something starts to happen in Lars. He starts to open up.
What really gives Lars and the Real Girl it’s momentum however is the montage of imagery and situations, where one could expect certain scenes from a comedy involving a life size adult doll, we discover the exact opposite, as the doll is used as a kind of emotional therapy rather that for the sexual pleasure it was intended. In fact it’s through Bianca emotional fulfilment that Lars begins to emerge from his hermitic funk.
Helping this tale emotional healing is an incredible performance by Ryan Gosling as the withdrawn Lars, whilst Paul Schneider’s facial expression adds to the humour in his role as Lars incredulous brother.
Food for thought
In First Corinthians Paul notes three main virtues in Hope, Faith and Love. Lars and the Real Girl takes these elements and uses them to bring renewed life to Lars. Bianca is the catalyst that allows Lars to receive love from other people, his faith in her kindles faith in himself, and ignites the Hope that he can fit into a society that seemed so alien to him no so long ago.
It’s also a movie that shows that when a community, a community built around the local church even, pulls together for a common goal, miracles can happen.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read.
Rating: M – Sexual references.
Duration: 106 mins.
Genre: Drama, Comedy.
Actors: Ryan Gosling, Patricia Clarkson, Emily Mortimer, Kelli Garner, Paul Schneider, Lauren Ash.
Director: Craig Gillespie.
Release Date: 10/04/2008.