Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.



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Lars and the Real Girl

Film #336


A delusional young guy strikes up an unconventional relationship with a doll he finds on the Internet.

Year 1, Day 336

BEFORE: This film also comes by way of recommendation. Right after I watched, and very much enjoyed Dan in Real Life, someone mentioned that Lars and the Real Girl is quite similar so of course I immediately added it to my list. If this is even half as good as Dan in Real Life was, this will be a lot of fun to watch.

AFTER: Lars and the Real Girl is quite different from Dan in Real Life. One is about a widow fighting for a girl he can’t have and one is about a mental illness and the effects delusions can have on personal relationships. But there is also quite a lot in common and not only see how this was recommended, but am very thankful that it was.

One thing I’ve written about extensively in these reviews is how films are able to create worlds we can get lost in. A way to show us places, experiences, or other things we might not be able to in our own lives. Another function of film is its ability to say something; think about how things are or how they should be. And despite what some people say, and in some cases may be true, I’m a firm believer in using film (and other media as well) as a foundation for my own thoughts and beliefs - which is why you’ll often hear me make references constantly.

What Lars and the Real Girl does so well is its sincerity made. The premise can seem a bit ridiculous - Lars (Ryan Gosling) falls in love with and has a complete relationship with a love doll - but it’s far from it. Lars cares as much for his doll Bianca as his brother Gus (Paul Schneider) cares for his wife Karin (Emily Mortimer), the only difference is Bianca is not “real”; at least not to anyone but Lars. Everything is in his imagination: her past and what she does in the present. The community, his own brother especially, is skeptical at first. All they see is the delusional who must be crazy for loving an inanimate object. But what begins as doubt and fear turns into hope and trust. Bianca becomes a part of the community and everyone pitches in to help take care of her and make her feel welcome. As the viewer, we’re drawn to this film because of its bizarreness (most would probably hesitate at the thought of accepting one’s delusions) but we stick with it because of its optimism and positiveness. It inspires us to do good for others and support them, no matter how strange or unusual.

At the end of the film, Reverend Bock says that Lars has a lot of courage. Courage for never flinching from others’ stares and sticking to his beliefs. Lars cares and feels more than most do despite being lonely and in love with a doll. But it isn’t just a doll, she really is Bianca to him. And to us. Ryan Gosling’s performance convinces us to go with the film and learn from his experiences. While it may have varying levels of impact on each viewer, one thing it will do for everyone is make you question things. As we know from the wise George Carlin, it’s important to question everything (look at that, a reference). I recommend Lars and the Real Girl not only because it’s entertaining, but because it can also be eye-opening if you let it be.

RATING: 5 out of 5