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Lars and the Real Girl Review

Published October 11, 2007 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of MGM.
Lars and the Real Girl Poster Lars and the Real Girl
This movie is either a cautionary tale or my potential future biography. I'm just kidding, I'll never be able to afford one of those dolls. Lars and the Real Girl explores such a concept like only an indie film can – with sensitivity and without judgment.

Review: Lars and the Real Girl


Lars (Ryan Gosling) is a shy small town boy. His brother and sister-in-law want to help him get social and townies want to fix him up, but he just keeps to himself. One day he orders a real sex doll and introduces her to the family as his girlfriend. The town shrink suggests that everyone play along to work out his delusion, and hilarity ensues.

Gosling immediately shakes his leading man image with a weird moustache, awkward smile, some jitters and a little puffiness in the face. You believe he could perpetrate this extended delusion even though you don't quite see the point where he snaps.

He rationalizes everything that could convince himself that it's an inanimate object. She needs a wheelchair, thus explaining why she doesn't walk. He eats her food for her and I guess just doesn't factor in the double daily calorie dose. If someone flat out denies her existence, he just doesn't acknowledge it. He takes it to extremes right away, asking his sister-in-law to lend "Bianca" some of her clothes because the airline lost her luggage.



Now it's not like there were no prospects. There was a real cutie who was interested in him, and there was no reason he didn't respond. It wasn't because they worked together, he just never acknowledged her interest. But that's part of the wonders of mental states, or dare I say chemical imbalances.

The film never derives humor at Lars's expense. Of course people think he's nuts and want to commit him or help him. But that is handled as a normal reaction. Humor comes from real life observations, like an inappropriately loud computer voice or the extent to which townies indulge the fantasy.

It's never about sex. Some people ask about it but you never see Lars do it with the doll and I would suspect he never did. Aside from the utter waste of money that suggests (you can get a non-anatomically correct doll much cheaper), it fits the character.

When the film delves into Lars's psychology, it is fascinating. The film follows his delusion through its psychological conclusion. It is not unrealistic either. You can justify how many resources the town devotes to him because it's so small, it's not taking away from anyone else in need.

So women out there, take this film to heart. If you keep ignoring the advances of sincere men, or insisting on "friendship first" when there's really nowhere else to go, they will just cut you out and handle things themselves. Pretty soon everyone will just be f***ing their own dolls, and then where will you be, huh?

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of MGM.
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