Lars And The Real Girl * * * *

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Director: Craig Gillespie.
Screenplay: Nancy Oliver.
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, Kelli Garner, Paul Schneider, Nancy Beatty, Doug Lennox.

When you see the poster for this film, with a moustachioed Ryan Gosling sitting on his sofa, grinning from ear to ear and accompanied by a sex doll, you be forgiven for entering into this and expecting some form of farcical sex-comedy. The poster however, is somewhat misleading. This is more of a drama (with a hint of quirkiness) and it’s a sensitive and heartfelt one at that.

Pathologically shy guy Lars Lindstrom (Ryan Gosling) introduces his new ‘girlfriend’ Bianca, a lifelike plastic doll, to his sister-in-law Karin (Emily Mortimer) and brother Gus (Paul Schneider). Somewhat concerned, they decide to call in sympathetic psychologist Dagmar (Patricia Clarkson) who advises that everyone play along with treating Bianca as a real person to try and get to the bottom of Lars’ obvious mental condition.

Lars is a tragic character that Gosling imbues with a real fragile innocence. It’s another marvellous and enigmatic performance from him. He keeps the audience at just the right distance. Never letting you in, but still maintaining a likeability. Lars is a character that could so easily be laughed at and ridiculed but it’s testament to writer Nancy Oliver, director Craig Gillespie, the supporting cast of Mortimer, Schnieder and Clarkson, and particularly Gosling’s lead in bringing the character – and his social trauma – so vividly to life. Instead of being a farcical film of cheap jokes, it becomes a touching exploration of mental health that’s quite unlike anything you’ll have seen before.

It’s deliberately paced and some may even find it lethargic but I found it to be a highly original and deeply sensitive drama anchored by a marvellous central performance.

Mark Walker

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4 Responses to “Lars And The Real Girl * * * *”

  1. Solid review Mark. I’m no more than five minutes removed from the end credits as I type this, and I’m kind of left in a very depressed mood. . .lol

    But Ryan Gosling may never have been better than he is here. Phenomenal. As for the rest of the movie, meh. . ..

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    • btw i apologize for how random this comment is, I found your review via Rotten Tomatoes. Out of curiosity, how does one become a Super Reviewer on that site?

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      • Yeah, I’ve been a super reviewer on Rotten Tomatoes for a few years now. They took it off me once because I started swearing in my write-up’s but for some reason, seen it fit to give me it back. ???

        In all honesty, I have no idea what I done to achieve it. All I was doing was reviewing regularly. My reviews were mostly concise and straight to the point and maybe that’s what they wanted. This was in the days before I started blogging so I don’t even pay it much attention anymore. My blog’s more important.

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    • Cheers Tom! This was an old review of mine (which probably shows). This was done when my blog as still young but my opinion still stands. I really liked this film; thought it was a pure treat. I can see why some wouldn’t but there’s no denying that Gosling is on excellent form.

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