2007 - United States - 106 minutes
Director - Craig Gillespie
Writer - Nancy Oliver
Internet Movie Database User Rating - 7.8/10 - Link to IMDb
My Rating - 4 of 5 Stars

This quirky little comedy is a Real Treat. It stars Ryan Gosling as Lars, a reclusive man who is the concern of many of his friends - especially his sister-in-law, Karin. Karin and Lars' brother, Gus live in the family home, and Lars lives in a room in the garage.

Karin does her best to include Lars in family meals, etc., but he is extremely resistant. Unexpectedly one afternoon, Lars appears at Karin's backdoor and asks if he can bring a friend to dinner. Karin is thrilled and especially thrilled when she learns that the friend is a woman.

Karin and Gus are, needless-to-say, shocked when they find that the friend is a Real Doll. Lars works with a guy who spends much of his time surfing for porn site on the Internet who has shown Lars RealDoll.com.

Let me advise at this point that if you click on the Real Doll link, expect to be connected to an X-rated site - X-rated but also humorously entertaining in a kinky sort of way. The site offers seventeen different female faces and ten different female bodies with many options. They even offer a male doll, but it has only one face and body; however there are several options for one part. It doesn't state on the site how much a whole doll costs. Just a torso costs $1,299, so the whole thing is probably very expensive.

It seems that Lars' new friend has been ordered from Real Doll.

Back at the introduction dinner, Lars explains that Bianca has been ill and must use a wheelchair and requests - because their relationship has had time to develop to something more serious - that Bianca stay in the house with Karin and Gus.

Bianca asks Karin - through Lars, of course - if she can borrow some clothes as the outfit in which she arrived (a slutty looking number from Real Doll) is not appropriate for the wintry weather. Karin obliges and helps Bianca dress in her new outfit.

Lars is an avid church-goer, so naturally, he takes his new friend to church. There Bianca is welcomed with open arms by all of Lars' friends with a little more that a bat of the eye. As a matter of fact, Lars is so well liked by everyone that they all buy in to his delusion and begin to involve Bianca in many activities that don't even include Lars. She lunches with the girls, goes to the beauty parlor, and volunteers at the church. The straight-faced humor in this film is glorious.

Because Bianca is ill, she must go to regular check-ups with the doctor - the local GP. Dagmar is a very wise woman, and while Bianca "rests after her treatment" she engages Lars in conversations which delve into the deep-seated problems that caused the creation of Bianca.

Lars and the Real Girl is a very funny, extremely touching movie that just makes you feel good all over. Ryan Gosling is a wonderful, quiet, understated Lars. Paul Schneider is a subtle riot and older brother, Gus, and Emily Mortimer gives Karin a genuine and beautiful heart. Dagmar - the doctor - is played by Patricia Clarkson with wisdom and calmness in a way that shows how much is made possible just by listening.

If you enjoy humorous, quirky characters and situations, you'll just love Lars and the Real Girl.

Neil Turner
April 21, 2008

Lars and the Real Girl