Lars and the Real Girl, written by the ultra-talented former Six Feet Under scribe Nancy Oliver and directed by Craig Gillespie, is as sweet and heartfelt as Ryan Gosling (Lars) is cute. I was instantly drawn into the small Northern town in which the film takes place and was giggling from beginning to end.
I would place Lars in the vain of Charlie Kauffman’s Being John Malkovich, as the plot is completely off the wall and would not be one bit believable were it not for the excellent acting and superb writing.
A successful psychological comedy, which is a rare breed indeed, Lars tells the story of a delusional recluse who falls in love with a life-size doll he orders on the Internet. When Lars’ brother and sister-in-law tell the local psychologist, played by Patricia Clarkson (Six Feet Under), she tells them and the rest of the town to go along with the delusion and pretend that the doll (Bianca) is a real woman.
The story transforms into one man’s search for fulfillment through an inanimate object. The comedy arises in the other characters’ reactions to Bianca the doll. The use of straight-faced humor will have audiences smiling all the way to the end, as this film is sure to reach families, the elderly and quirky college students alike.
The only issue I had with the film is that I knew exactly how it was going to end after the first twenty minutes of watching. However, Lars is so sweet and innocent that it is worth watching in its entirety anyway.
The use of symbolism and evocative visual imagery in this film is abundant, and there are many memorable lines and characters. I truly hope this film doesn’t get overlooked because of its offbeat content.
Lars and the Real Girl opens Thursday, Oct. 25, at Regal Green Hills.