Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

16 June 2008

Lars and the Real Girl, dir. Craig Gillespie (2007)

NIKKI says:
Here I was thinking someone in Hollywood had finally had an original thought. Turns out this movie has been made before. Well, not exactly this movie but movies with guys who form complex relationships with human-sized dolls. One is Love Object from 1993; the other is TamaƱo natural from 1974. And while the films aren't exactly the same, they're close enough in premise so that my initial adoration of Lars and the Real Girl for its originality has slightly dipped.

But that's okay. It's still a great movie. One of the best I've seen this year, in fact. One of the main reasons I liked it so much is because it is entirely free of cynicism. At so many points in the film, I expected Bianca (the doll) to get into some sort of trouble. I expected Lars to become the butt of a very elaborate joke. But this never comes to pass. The story has a goal -- to get Lars back to reality -- and it achieves that goal simply and beautifully.

Lars buys a doll off the Internet and tells everyone it's his girlfriend Bianca from Brazil. Lars is extremely lonely, unable to hold close relationships with people because of something awful from his past. He finds it hard to touch people, and to let them touch him. He solves this problem with Bianca. His doctor informs those around him that in order to bring Lars out of his psychosis, they should treat Bianca as real. So, everyone in town befriends her until Lars finally has a decision to make about whether or not to carry on their relationship.

I hate this word, but man is the whole thing just so uplifting. You can't help but feel good and warm inside whenever Bianca is out and about. The townsfolk come to adore Bianca, and embrace her, all because they know they are ultimately helping out Lars.

There are some really funny moments in the movie, some touching moments. Ryan Gosling is really good, as is Paul Schneider who plays his exasperated but just as caring brother Gus. I loved the setting, the photography, the stillness of the whole thing, the drained colour, and the snow. Just a great spirit-lifting Winter movie.


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