We recently watched this movie, Craig Gillespie’s companionable “Lars and the Read Girl” (based on an original script by Nancy Oliver) , and what a great movie it was, about a delusional young guy who strikes up an unconventional relationship with a doll he finds on the Internet.
The Plot: Lars (Ryan Gosling) and Gus (Paul Schneider) are the grown children of a father who died recently and a mother who died giving birth to Lars. But as brothers, they couldn’t be more different. While Gus lives in the family home and has a loving wife (Emily Mortimer) and a child on the way, Lars leads a more reclusive existence in the family’s garage, hiding in plain sight of his small, wintry hometown. Painfully shy and eccentric, Lars fails to recognize that his co-worker Margo (Kelli Garner) has a major crush on him, and he picks up on a casual reference made by his cubicle mate, who mentions a website where you can order life-sized, anatomically correct sex dolls. But instead of seeing a sex object, Lars sees in this doll a potential life partner and the only kind of social “peer” he can relate to. So Lars orders a doll, whom he names Bianca, and begins treating her with utmost gentlemanly respect — and as though she’s his real-life, flesh-and-blood girlfriend. As he begins bringing Bianca with him everywhere he goes, the townspeople have to find just the right balance between supporting Lars’ unusual romance and trying to introduce him to a more conventional partner.
What we thought:
This show’s storyline is so unexpectedly cool – that eventhough there is a pornographic subtext of the sex-toy variety, the sleeziness is dispelled at the outset by Lars’s prudish insistence that Bianca, as he calls her, is too religious to sleep in the same room with Lars in their unmarried state! So Karin and Gus have to put Bianca to bed in their spare guest room. Lars explains further that Bianca is a Danish-Brazilian missionary, and was crippled in an accident, for which Lars has purchased her a wheelchair! Gus and Karin are understandably concerned. They take Lars and Bianca for professional help. Dagmar (the wonderful Patricia Clarkson) is the local GP, with a providential background in psychology. Dagmar counsels the worried family to play along. “Bianca is in town for a reason,” the doctor gently explains, and she will remain until he doesn’t need her anymore.
It is as if everyone was walking on eggshells for almost the entire length of the movie, pretending that Bianca is a real life person, hoping that somehow, this “weird reality” will help Lars snap out of things. But under Mr. Gillespie’s admirably directed seriousness of tone, the performers, never miss a beat as they work a charming fable out of a potentially disastrous situation, and find the best way to treat this strange mental illness. If only the whole world were as sweetly homogenous as the idyllic community of Lars and the Real Girl ! The screenplay for this offbeat love story comes from the brain of Nancy Oliver, a writer and producer for the HBO series Six Feet Under. This is her first feature film and she has created a fantasy world that commits fully to a spirit of gentleness and understanding. In KL, you would probably be laughed out of town, agree? All in all, this was a great show that touched on family issues and unresolved hurt that minifested in altered human behaviour. One might have guessed that any story centered around a blow up sex doll might definitely result in a super funny, quirky, yet touching story, and one would be right.
A must watch if you ask me!