I didn’t particularly have an interest in Lars and the Real Girl. I ended up watching it because my friends wanted to, but I have no regrets about it. When faced with the concept of the movie, I didn’t really know what to expect. A guy starts dating a sex doll…would this movie be crude? I really had no idea.
But this movie was full of innocence and simplicity. That’s what made it special for me. I was in it for the story and the characters, not the artistic value associated with the film. For those unfamiliar with the plot, it follows Lars (Ryan Gosling), a troubled, introverted youth who starts dating a sex doll named Bianca. The entire town supports him through this process, as he searches for himself through his love for Bianca.
Gosling does a really good job with the role. Lars is genuine in his delusion; he is genuine in his love for Bianca and the audience gets swooped away by it, as does his entire town.
I really liked the characters of Karin (Emily Mortimer), Lars’ sister in law, Dr. Dagmar (Patricia Clarkson), and Mrs. Gruner (Nancy Beatty). These characters were the first to reach out and accept Bianca, and they were the major proponents to help get the community to help Lars by doing the same. In my mind, they were the biggest pillars of compassion in that community. (And Mrs. Gruner had some of the funniest lines in the movie–the scene when Lars argues with Bianca because she is going to the banquet.)
Gus (Paul Schneider) was also an interesting character in the movie. Most of the characters besides Lars were static characters, except Gus. Throughout his experience with Lars and Biana, he grew fully into manhood. Gus learned to accept his younger brother for who he is, and he also learned to acknowledge his past mistakes (leaving home, and leaving his brother behind). Gus’ ability to finally come to terms with all of this, allowed him to actually speak with Lars, in a way he never had before, and this in turn allow Lars to better understand himself and to no longer depend upon Bianca as much.
Lars, the title figure, is a troubled boy; he lost his mother when she was birthing him, an experience which has left him terrified of childbirth. After his mother’s death, he lived with his depressed and reclusive father, which also detrimentally affected him; Lars never really learned how to interact with people, and he internalized everything. He loves but does not know how to show it; he feels lonely but can’t assimilate without the crutch of Bianca. The movie shows his psychological progress until he’s grown comfortable enough to communicate with people, and to associate with a Real Girl (Margo, played by Kelli Garner).
It was a one time movie for me, but I did enjoy it. For a sentimentalist like me, it hit the spot and conveyed a message about the power of love, empathy, and compassion. The community’s support for one man’s life and struggle made me feel good, in all of the cliche ways.