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Lars and the Real Girl

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The premise of Lars and the Real Girl is both amusing and intriguing; Ryan Gosling’s character falls in love with a blow-up doll. Somehow, director Craig Gillespie and writer Nancy Oliver were able to build a poignant and darkly comedic movie based off a very eccentric storyline. In a year of many lackluster films, this is definitely one of the most original and beautifully made movies of 2007.
Lars (Ryan Gosling) is a socially-awkward but gentle man. He lives in the garage-room of his brother, Gus (Paul Schneider), and sister-in-law’s, Karin (Emily Mortimer), house. Lars lived a monotonous life until his co-worker showed him a website where he could order an anatomically-correct life-sized doll. Six weeks later, the doll “Bianca” arrived via UPS, with whom Lars began to develop his first remotely normal relationship. Inevitably, Gus and Karin became concerned and took Lars to the doctor (Patricia Clarkson); they learned that he was under a delusion that Bianca was real, and everyone would just have to play along.

Bianca was embraced by just about everyone in the town, and as time went on, she became part of the community. Even Margo, (Kelli Garner) who had a crush on Gus, was able to put aside her feelings for him to help him cope. The story largely revolves around society’s acceptance of Lars’ problems in the midst of his mental torment and confusion.

The bulk of the film is based on progression over time. While Lars could not interact with human beings, he becomes increasingly sociable; simultaneously, the tone of the movie changed from outright comedic to bittersweet. The filming was made delicately, with superb pacing and a perfect balance of weirdness; the storyline was borderline outrageous, but there was just enough restraint in direction and acting to make it work.

Every actor was more than believable in a pretty ridiculous plot. However, Ryan Gosling was truly exceptional; an Oscar nomination for his performance won’t be a surprise. Emily Mortimer and Patricia Clarkson brought a realistic dimension to the outlandish story, while Kelli Garner’s character was very sweet and down-to-earth; she was a very interesting and quirky contrast to Lars’ awkwardness.

The flawless execution and the impeccable acting make this is one of the best films of the year. Both unconventional and subtle, Lars and the Real Girl will satisfy anyone who’s craving an undeniably peculiar, thought-provoking and original movie.





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