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.