To mark the start of my inagural â€˜Hot Man Movie Marathonâ€™ on the weekend with my squimpering kindred spirit Jenna (Squimper = squeal and whimper in one!) Ryan Gosling was our first pick of the night. Who can forget him in The Notebook? But as weâ€™d both seen it many times, and didnâ€™t want to start the night with tears, Jenna introduced me to Lars & The Real Girl, a movie Iâ€™d definitely heard all about especially with the premise involving this.
A delusional young guy strikes up an unconventional relationship with a doll he finds on the Internet.
It sounds completely bizarre, and like it would be entirely â€˜arthouseâ€™ doesnâ€™t it? After watching the film, or even throughout it I realised that whilst the premise on the surface was entirely â€˜far fetchedâ€™, Lars & The Real Girl could be one of the most touching, heart-warming films about the difference between first impressions, and truly understanding someone.
Ryan Gosling completely immerses himself in the role. From the first moments where he is introduced as Lars, the extremely shy, nervous brother-in-law of a compassionate and coaxing sister in law (played beautifully by Emily Mortimer) who just wants him to come to dinner, you forget its Ryan Gosling. You forget that he was Noah in that unforgettable role alongside Rachel McAdams in The Notebook. And that role, that film is iconic. So.. that is saying a lot!
Lars lives in the garage of his family home; where his brother Gus (played by an understatedly stoic Paul Schneider) and pregnant wife Karin live, increasingly concerned that Lars is spending too much time on his own, as heâ€™s painfully shy and avoids any sort of physical touch or human contact. Despite this, he has an admirer in Margot at the workplace.
Via another co-worker who seemingly has no trouble in sharing internet porn with Lars on any given weekday, he introduces Lars to the Real Doll website; anatomically correct life size â€˜dollsâ€™ that can be just as good as any girlfriend! (Note the sarcasm here..)
Here comes the quirky part. Lars orders a real doll, names her Bianca, and adopts her as his girlfriend. The scene where he introduces it/her to Gus & Karin is priceless. Because to Lars, she isnâ€™t a doll. Sheâ€™s a real girl. And she has a back story, a history, oh my; her luggage was stolen, she has no clothes and so forth. Patricia Clarkson, as the Dr/Psychologist is brought in to help Lars, under the guise of â€˜treatingâ€™ Bianca medically in order to understand the delusion Lars is believing and this relationship is developed so subtly and wonderfully.
Whilst this movie could have turned into some obscure, bizarre play on a premise which involved a guy in love with a â€˜dollâ€™ which in any other movie might have just been a ‘sex doll’ â€“ the warmth and beauty of the film that envelops the viewer as they’re watching is that they become as much a part of Lars & Biancaâ€™s relationship, as much as the townsfolk do- all for the love of Lars. What makes this film such a lovely surprise and why I urge anyone to see this quickly is that the ‘doll’ itself isn’t the focus. Don’t make that mistake. Don’t be so quick to judge. Quite soon what you will realise is that the film is about the mistakes that can be made from first impressions, and that no small deed goes unnoticed.
Go. Rent or buy this movie now!