Lars and the Real Girl
When Lars Lindstrom (Ryan Gosling) introduces his brother Gus (Paul Schneider) and sister-in-law Karin (Emily Mortimer) to his new friend Bianca, who he met on the internet, their immediate response is shock and disbelief. Has Lars, the sweet, socially challenged introvert gone completely mad — they meet Bianca and see a doll, but Lars sees a friend.
Bianca isn’t a real woman at all but a Real Doll, how will they explain this to the residents of the sleepy Midwestern town they’ve grown up in and currently reside? Karin and Gus consult the town’s family physician, Dr. Dagmar Berman (Patricia Clarkson), who advises them to go along with it. Lars is experiencing a delusion and in order to help him through this crisis, they and the townsfolk need to get onboard.
After some persuasion and appeal to their love and concern for Lars, Gus and Karin enlist their cooperation. Soon Bianca is attending church, modeling at the local dress shop, volunteering at the hospital and accompanying Lars to his first ever social events.
Surprisingly to those around her, Bianca weaves her way into the hearts of everyone she meets, filling voids they didn’t know they had. What follows is an emotional, comical, transformative journey for Lars and the people around him.
I was expecting the worst from this movie and its outlandish plot. I must admit to being pleasantly surprised. The film, despite its wild story line, actually manages to be touching and dramatic in spots. We learn that Lars (played wonderfully by Ryan Gosling) has a tragic past and has suffered the loss of loved ones. In fact, one loss in particular still causes him great grief. His older brother Gus (Paul Schneider) left home as soon as he could to escape the sadness of the house, leaving Lars behind with a grieving father. Now, years later, Gus and his wife Karin (Emily Mortimer) are happily expecting their first child, while Lars insists on living in the family garage.
Family and friends humor Lars and his “girlfriend” Bianca, because they love him. He takes her to church and almost everywhere he goes. He tells everyone she is a missionary. There are no scenes with him attempting to do anything sexually with the doll. He kisses it good-bye and dances with it but that is about it, other than holding hands! When the pastor of the church is asked about allowing the doll to attend church, he asks, “What would Jesus do?” This plot of course sets up some great humorous moments, including a scene in which Bianca is accidentally dropped in the bathtub as Gus and Karin, to pacify Lars, bathes her! To help Lars out, family and friends soon begin to schedule events for Bianca in the hope that Lars will come back to reality. Fortunately, Lars eyes a “real” girl named Margot who cares about him, and the question becomes whether he will be able to let Bianca go in order to have a real relationship.
If not for two strong words, the Lord’s name taken in vain, this film could have been awarded our Dove Seal for ages twelve plus. Unfortunately, the language is not family friendly.