Movie Diary: Lars And The Real Girl
"Lars And The Real Girl" was not quite what I expected. It features a lot of awesome indie-film talent: Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson), Paul Schneider (All The Real Girls), Emily Mortimer (Lovely And Amazing), Patricia Clarkson (The Station Agent)... that alone was enough to make me want to watch it. I was less sure about the movie's premise, something involving a socially awkward guy getting a realdoll. I wasn't sure whether they'd play it for humor, or whether it'd be more like the indie movies I know the cast from, or what. Turns out, kinda both. Lars (Gosling) is convinced, when his realdoll arrives, that she's a real person. He introduces her to his brother Gus (Schneider) and Gus's wife Karin (Mortimer) as a real person that he met on the internet. He seems to have no idea that she's a doll. Gus is mortified, and somehow feels like he's to blame for his brother going crazy. Karin calms him down and convinces him to take Lars to the doctor, which they do. The doctor (Clarkson) decides that Lars is not crazy but merely suffering from a delusion, and tells Gus and Karin they should go along with it. Not only do they do this, they manage to convince a large portion of their small town to do so as well.
The first half or so of this movie has a lot of moments that are hilarious due to sheer awkwardness, but the part of it that I found really interesting was later on, when the entire town seemed to grow used to Lars and his realdoll girlfriend. People start to talk about "Bianca" as if she's a real person, and integrate her into local life. That's when it gets really interesting--less funny and more in line with the sort of character-based slice-of-life indie film that I know the actors in this movie from. It's easy for a movie like this to go for the awkward laughs throughout, and I think the filmmakers took a real chance in trying to move beyond that, to a more sympathetic treatment of the entire issue. Now, in getting there, a few different things were depicted that strained the limits of plausibility for me, especially during the last 20 minutes or so of the film. I won't explain further in the interest of avoiding spoilers, but I will say that ultimately I was still able to suspend disbelief and enjoy the movie. It wasn't quite what I thought I was getting into when I rented it though, so if you decide to see it, keep that in mind.