Sunday, November 04, 2007

All The Real Girls

It has been a long time since I have a seen a movie that has managed to both break my heart and fill me with hope. Big words I realize but "Lars and the Real Girl" was just such a film.

I'll tell you the plot but it's going to sound like a sort of sick SNL sketch. A shy, socially inept man in a small midwestern town buys a sex doll and proceeds to fall in love with her and treat her like a real person.

I know. Sounds kind of creepy doesn't it? But will I tell you that it was an incredibly sweet, tender movie that I can't stop thinking about. Anyone who knows anything about being lonely will be in a hurry to treat Lars' "delusion" with the same sort of patience and kindness he gets from pretty much every character in the movie.

There are a whole slew of fantastic performances in this movie-starting with Ryan Gosling as Lars (who, if he ever decides to stop dating famous actresses and return to his Mormon roots, has my permission to call me), Paul Schneider as his brother, Emily Mortimer as his sister-in-law, Patricia Clarkson as the therapist and Kelli Garner as the flesh and blood female with whom Lars can't quite seem to connect. The soundtrack is enchanting, the writing is clean and deliberate and the cinematography feels really familiar and comfortable. It has a happy ending that it comes by naturally-it's not contrived or cheesy.

The thing I loved most about the movie though was that it reinforced a concept that is becoming more and more important to me the older I get and the more people I know and care about. Everyone has their own little path and it does no good to expect everyone to be on the same one you've chosen. I am not sure it would be the case in real life, but the people around Lars are so understanding and patient with him. The situation is odd and it's hard to see how any good could possibly come of it. But it does. Lots of good, lots of learning, lots of healing. I really believe that people are inherently good, and they want to live quality lives. People we care about don't alway make choices we understand or even approve of sometimes but showing kindness and love anyway is so rarely a bad idea. As the scriptures say "charity never faileth, and is kind." What a delightful way to live don't you think?

It's in limited release so you may not find it at the mega-plex. But I promise it's worth searching out.

14 comments:

CoCo said...

I second the endorsement. What I found to be most tender was the patience that others showed towards this man who was trying to cope and step outside himself. What he was doing was trying to live a "normal" life, and his "girlfriend" enabled that. If I reflect upon how that translates into real life, I am saddened that I have often been guilty of being too quick to judge and not allowing someone the outlet they need to gain whatever closure needed to take the next step in their life (I'm thinking specifically of the holiday party he attends, which he normally would not, and his jealousy when Margo is dating that other guy from work, and his outreach by asking her to take a walk). It's been a long while since I have seen a movie that had a really good (and not super contrived) message.

Dainon. said...

And here I was thinking you were going to offer a review of the movie that forced me to fall in love with Zooey Deschanel.

The McFersons (Jayd/Tauni) said...

yeah, this movie sounded painfully creepy when i first heard about it. thanks for the tip.

here's the "new kate nash breed" song of the day -- "new romantic" by laura marling -- http://www.box.net/shared/static/dm252i9580.mp3

Mike said...

I recall seeing the trailer and indeed thinking...."that's weird".

This time of year I try to skip out of the office for a "long lunch" to catch a flick...I'll try to see this one.

k8 said...

coco-agreed, the wall street journal review talks about how it's really a story of a town working together to heal one of it's own. it was as flattering a portrayal of a small town as i've ever seen. i loved that they made his church friends the first ones to reach out.

dainon-all the boys we were with said they wanted to marry the sister-in-law so maybe you can fall for Emily Mortimer

jayd-there isn't even one cringe-worthy scene. lars has "bianca" live with his brother because they are both religious and he doesn't feel right her living in his house.

mike-afternoon movies while you should be at work at the best! you won't regret this one!

Jayne said...

I so agree with you~ We saw a couple of weeks ago and talked about it the whole weekend. The performances were just lovely and the community ( we guess that it was a medium sized town, but one congregation seemed to be the focus community)was very tender and up for the challenge. Greg had read a review that said it took a darker turn at some point, but we never did see dark. Never once does Bianca seem like a sex toy. We loved it.

ThomCarter said...

This is on our list to see.

Thank you for your insites and I now look forward to this experience even more.

Morgan said...

Ryan Gosling is fantastic. If you haven't seen Half Nelson you should check that one out as well. Definitely one of my favorite actors. He was also great in Stay. Many people don't like this one but I loved it.

Denise said...

Whoa! So great to hear from you, you came out of nowhere! What is your email address?

Daisy Paige said...

hmmm...we had written this movie off because of the 'creepy' factor, but you've given it a new light. Thanks for the recommendation.

elizabeth said...

oh man.
i didn't really like it.
yikes.

k8 said...

wha? i have no idea how that is even possible.

f*bomb. said...

I heard he was extraordinary in "Half Nelson." I've never been much for the heartthrob actor, but Gosling really should win an award for his incredible performance.

SaSa said...

Thanks for the movie review! Finding a great new movie is definitely worth re-entry into the blogging world :)