Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
Lars and the Real Girl (2007) DVD / Blu-ray

By: Katy Kleinginna (Three Beers) –
How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

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“I’m a real boy!”…er, girl, actually.

The title character, played by the “much-too-charming-to-date-a-sex-doll” Ryan Gosling, slips farther away from reality with each passing scene. As Lars falls deeper in love with “Bianca”, his small, tidy world opens up to the wonders of the real world he seems to wish he could live in.  As the film progresses, you are left wondering how far is too far when the delusion of one quiet loner becomes the reality of everyone else.  When the real world starts rearing it’s ugly, adult ways, the character is left to fend for himself when the compassionate intentions of the supporting characters are lost in Lars’ unyielding self pity party.

A Toast

This film has heart.  I know what you’re all thinking.  When a review says a movie “has heart”, that’s the equivalent of saying a girl “has a great personality” or is “so fun to be with.” On the surface the film is another indie nod to the lives of the every day fellow, but it hits home for those of us just trying to make it through the day with the ones we love.  Lars is just like the rest of us, even those of us who don’t tote around life-sized sex dolls and claim them as significant others.  He wants love and affection, even though he compares the feeling of a hug to that of the effects of frost bite wearing off.  Whether you fall in love with Lars as a character or not, it’s easy to fall prey to Gosling’s charm and see past the character’s tangible awkwardness.

lars

Take a drink because Gosling looks like a kind, awkward Mr. Rogers.

Beer Two

Gosling has enough charm and passion to bring Lars to life, but any other actor would tread very thin ice playing this role.  Lars speaks quickly with each sentence ending in a generic “hands in pockets” and a brisk shuffle away from any interaction that could end in time spent with other living beings.  Gosling’s career is mostly filled with sexy characters who only know the love of equally sexy women.  (i.e- The Notebook, Gangster Squad, everything Gosling has ever acted in.)

This film allowed Gosling to break free of his typecast and breathe life into a new role, but at a very strange cost.  The suspension of disbelief required for this film is  unprecedented in any of Gosling’s other films. The audience is expected to believe that a man of Gosling’s physical caliber would be left scanning the internet for a potential life mate.  Though attractive men are not always social butterflies, it is hard to believe that a man on the charts in the “sexiest man alive” class would be left alone to fend for himself.  It’s a sweet film and an even sweeter character, but let’s not fool ourselves too much.

thegoose

If THIS can’t swing a gal pal, what should the rest of us expect?!

Beer Three

Everyone else in the film that isn’t Gosling requires a beer.  The supporting actors each serve their own purpose, whether it’s the overbearing old woman at church who just wants Lars to “settle down and have kids” or if it’s the overly curious sister-in-law (resembled much too carefully by the beautiful, petite Emily Mortimer playing the role of Karin Lindstrom.)

Mortimer’s character is important because she serves as the origin of the public outcry that serves as the backbone of the film.  Without this character, the film would be stuck in the odd, hermit-esque life of Lars. Karin Lindstrom is the maternal figure who just wants the best for her sweet, adult baby Lars.  Not that her kind words and loving touch detract from the film, but the character is a little hard to stomach based on her inability to see past the childish needs of Lars into his repressed, borderline psychotic persona.  Lindstrom’s character takes a while to grow up, but in a quick, shrill scene of personal despair she decides the charade is over and that Lars should face his own future. Tears, chaos, and a personality for Lars are quickly established after the first snap Karin goes through.

Verdict

threebeers

The film is sweet, kind, and a good watch, however it is easily comparable to a “social justice” pop song.  There’s an easily accessible message and quality, but there is no driving force behind the message of the film.  Those searching for meaning in the film will leave with tears in their eyes and a heavy heart, but those looking for a feel good flick are better left to the catchy tunes on the radio that plead for a second chance, but can’t break free of the mindless top 40 charts.  At the very least, Lars and the Real Girl will spark a conversation among friends, but may not yet find mainstream attention.

Drinking Game:

Take a Drink: when Karin stares quizzically at Lars and her husband gets annoyed

Take a Drink: when Bianca’s entrance is met with either a “shocked, open mouth gaze” or a stifled chuckle

Do a Shot: when Lars looks so uncomfortable he just might pee himself

Do a Shot: when Mortimer’s voice reaches over into ear drum shattering, screech territory

Take a Drink: when word of Lars dating a sex doll spreads like wildfire and every townsmen has some quirky quip or sex advice

About Katy Kleinginna

College kid. Film enthusiast. Root beer fanatic.

2 comments

  1. I just rewatched this a bit ago, and was impressed all over again at Gosling’s acting chops- very different from any other role I’ve seen him in. Perhaps you’re right and there isn’t a ton of substance lurking beneath the surface of this one, but I have to applaud the fact that the film was so successful in portraying such a genuinely and supportive group of folks like it did- definitely a rarity on the big screen these days.

  2. I have to agree. My girlfriend and I just finished watching this movie. She said 3 beers is right on. Goslings acting was great but what about that community? As for myself, I couldn’t shake the thought that there is no way there are communities that would put up with this. The whole Bianca working at a retail store, volunteering at a hospital, and getting elected to the school board – it was more than I could accept.

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