Lars and the Real Girl

Lars Lindstrom (Ryan Gosling) is a functioning dysfunctional young man living in the garage of his brother, Gus (Paul Schneider), and sister-in-law, Karin (Emily Mortimer), in a small northern town. Karin worries about Lars and his solitary ways but is thrilled when he tells them that he has a visitor, Bianca, staying with him. The thrill turns to shock, though, when they actually meet Bianca in “Lars and the Real Girl.”

Laura's Review: DNS


Robin's Review: B

Lars gets along okay in the close-knit town where its denizens love him, despite his introversion, and care about what happens to him. When he introduces Bianca, a “friend” he met on the internet, to Gus and Karin, they are stunned when they find out that Lars’s new love is not a woman – she is a life-sized sex doll that he bought, not met, on the World Wide Web. Fearing that Lars is having a breakdown, Gus and Karin consult their family doctor (and psychologist), Dagmar (Patricia Clarkson), with their concern. She meets with Lars and determines that he is delusional – why, she cannot say – but advises that they, and the rest of the townsfolk, go along with his delusion and wait and see what happens. Kindly, understanding Mrs. Gruner (Nancy Beatty) is the first to support Lars but the rest of the town soon rally behind him and Bianca. I am not going go into any detail about Lars and his deep love for Bianca or the ends that his friends and neighbors go through to make her welcome. These parts are the meat and charm of “Lars and the Real Girl.” Suffice it to say that this is a quirky little comedy about love, caring and understanding as Lars’s family and friends follow Dr. Dagmar’s advice to “wait and see.” The living cast, with well-defined performances by Gosling and the rest, do a fine job in making the small town a nurturing place where even the most troubled will find help among his neighbors. The real surprise is how director Craig Gillespie and scripter Nancy Oliver, with their cast and crew, are able to make the silent, immobile Bianca into a living, breathing person through the kindness of others. Bianca’s “life” takes on resonance as Lars comes to grips with his delusion in an unusual way. Lars and the Real Girl” is a true original. It has drama, marvelous humor and its characters show genuine care for their delusional native son. This is the kind of film that, before seeing it, you say “huh?” to the plot summary. Seeing the film, though, is the proof in the pudding and it is worth the effort.