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Lars and the Real Girl

A movie directed by Craig Gillespie

< read all 8 reviews

Bianca's in town for a reason.

  • Nov 4, 2009
  • by
Pros: Good story, acting, and a surprising delight

Cons: May be too slow or different for some

The Bottom Line: A heartwarming story in a small town where people work together to help one man. Yay.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot.

I don't remember if the trailer billed this movie as a comedy or not.  If they did, well, it's not.

That's not to say that it doesn't have some parts that will make you smile and snicker, but it will also have some parts that might, surprisingly, make you cry.

Lars is a young man who has problems with being social.  He has a job, he has family, he interacts with people, but on a limited need-to basis and he has trouble forming real, solid attachments.  Of course when he brings in a life-like sex doll, his brother and sister-in-law are quite concerned.  Apparently Lars has created a delusion of real-life Bianca, a woman he met on the internet, and who will be staying with him for a while.  What can everyone else do but play along?  And will Lars be in his delusion the rest of his life?

Initially I was quite worried that I'd see a movie in which poor Lars is ridiculed by the people around him, laughed at for acting as though Bianca were real.  But instead I saw an entire community come together to help Lars - and Bianca - be comfortable and welcome.  Even though this was a movie, it was nice to see a little town band together for the sake of one person.  I mean, it really was.

This is a character based movie, so if you get annoyed at its slow pace, that's why.  Character based movies focus on the person, not the plot.  But I liked the pace; I felt it was just right for this sort of movie.  Limited music and even limited dialogue at times suited the situation.  You can really see how things progress throughout the movie, how people - not just Lars - change, and how Lars's delusion alters from day to day to suit his needs as well as to adjust from the interactions people have with both him and Bianca.

I also liked how the creators of this movie used the seasons to help reflect Lars's life.  Actually, I don't have proof of that at all, but that's what it seemed like.  Throughout the movie the outdoors is cold, barren, and occasionally snowy.  But near the end it seems like winter might actually be over and the sun will come out.  Just something I noticed that really worked for me.

Ryan Gosling plays the role of Lars, and though I know his name and face, I personally can't remember seeing him act in other movies I've viewed.  I know he was in The Notebook, but I've not seen that movie either.  But despite all that, he does an extremely good job here and you really want Lars to get well and just be happy.  Paul Schneider plays Gus, Lars's brother, who has his own issues to wrestle with in relation to Lars, and Emily Mortimer is Karin, Gus's wife.  Both are integral parts to Lars's life, and they provide solid acting to the movie with reactions you'd likely get out of real people.

It's a quiet, touching movie that might get some surprising reactions out of you.  Honestly, I didn't think I'd react the way I did at the end, and actually sort of laughed at myself when it happened from sheer disbelief.

So on a mellow night, watch it, and see if it doesn't do something to you.


This review, by the way, is Lean-N-Mean!


Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening

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More Lars and the Real Girl reviews
review by . May 02, 2009
This is not a movie for everyone. People who think every utterance regarding mental illness should be dealt with in a serious vein will probably be offended, if not outraged, by this movie. Likewise, those who have little tolerance for fantasy probably won't like it either.     But if you like good movies, it's a charmer.     Lars has had a dysfunctional childhood (like who hasn't?) and it plays out leaving him isolated in his community. In search of love, …
review by . December 12, 2008
Pros: Incredible acting. Very, very funny and touching. A film with a big heart.     Cons: None worth mentioning.     The Bottom Line: Lars and the Real Girl. It's quirky and offbeat. It's touching and symbolic. Mostly, it's VERY, VERY FUNNY. See it and enjoy.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. Do you know anyone who is an outsider, a complete social misfit, .... who has no friends?     I …
review by . July 19, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Lars is a quiet and introverted kind of guy. He goes to work every day then he comes home to the garage apartment he lives in, adjacent to the house he grew up in and is now owned by his brother and sister-in-law.      As his pregnant sister-in-law's due date gets closer, Lars seems to emotionally and physically withdraw from his family and co-workers. Preferring to remain in the comforting small walls of his garage apartment, he starts garnering the concern of his sister-in-law. …
review by . July 19, 2008
Those are my people! That's my home land! Every face looks like one of my family, including Lars, who looks like a goofier me at the same age. The houses, the furniture, the downtown shops, the costumes, the church, the lake - it's all museum-quality Upper Midwest. Minnesota to me, since that's where I'm from. Only the accents and the dialogue in general don't sound Minnesotan, and I kinda wonder why not.    Given that we're all Scandihoovians together here, I can make some sense …
review by . May 17, 2008
A few years ago, a major reviewer deeply criticized the movie O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?...primarily because he felt that the movie was mostly a condescending insult to the culture of the deep South...that it made fun of the people it was depicting. The reviewer had similar troubles with the Coen Brothers depiction of the residents of small towns in Minnesota in FARGO.     I had no such qualms. However, after having seen LARS AND THE REAL GIRL, I now understand how the critic …
review by . April 19, 2008
Were anyone to suggest that a 'romance' between a guy and a blowup doll could become one of the more sensitive films of the year, it would be cause for derision - that is, before viewing LARS AND THE REAL GIRL. The improbable story was written by Nancy Oliver (the writer of many episodes of the TV series 'Six Feet Under') and directed by Craig Gillespie who gathered a particularly strong cast of actors to present this examination of compassion and love for an emotionally injured young man by small …
review by . April 17, 2008
Watch Lars once to marvel at the storytelling, the acting and the heart of this film. Watch it over and over again to absorb the charm, the quirk and life-altering love. At least that's my plan.      I adore films where ordinary and slightly broken people stretch and grow into someone inspiring and beautiful. This is that story, and not just one character inspires, several rise to the opportunity to become better versions of themselves.     Lars is damaged. …
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Nicole ()
Ranked #71
Age: 27 Currently: Freelancing my butt off and querying my other novel, Blood for Wolves. Who likes seriously factured fairy tales? =D      Like books? Then take it from a real, live … more
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To some,Lars and the Real Girlwill play as comedy; to others, tragedy. Though Craig Gillespie (Mr. Woodcock) allows Lars Lindstrom (a mustachioed Ryan Gosling, miles away fromHalf Nelson) a happy ending, the road is far from smooth. This rumpled Midwesterner couldn't be more miserable. His brother, Gus (Paul Schneider,All the Real Girls), and sister-in-law, Karin (Emily Mortimer,Lovely and Amazing), fall over themselves to cheer him up, but Lars cannot be moved; he’s been like that since childhood. Then a porn-addicted co-worker hips him to the lifelike Real Doll. The next thing everyone knows, Lars has a new girlfriend named Bianca. She's from Brazil, she's shy, and she uses a wheelchair. She's also made of silicon. (Because Lars is a devout Christian, hanky-panky is out of the question.) Since he's finally emerging from his shell, his doctor, Dagmar (Patricia Clarkson), advises Gus and Karin to play along with the "delusion." Soon the whole town, including Margo (Kelli Garner), who harbors a not-so-secret crush on her officemate, gets in on the action, forcing Lars to rejoin the human race or crawl deeper into psychosis. Written bySix Feet Under's Nancy Oliver,Lars and the Real Girlis built around such a preposterous premise, it's hard to know whether to laugh or cry. Fortunately, the actors play it straight. Gosling does his best to make Lars sympathetic, but Schneider and Mortimer, fully convincing in their concern, are the true...
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Director: Craig Gillespie
Screen Writer: Nancy Oliver
DVD Release Date: April 15, 2008
Runtime: 106 minutes
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
First to Review
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