Friday, May 31, 2013

Lars and the Real Girl Dir. by Craig Gillespie

Well, film world, you have redeemed yourself with this one. Yes, it's a few years old but it took me a while to come around to watching it. Obviously, there are many great films out there but I feel that in the past few years the majority of films I think I will enjoy totally catch me off guard and are too vulgar, too cheesy, too unfunny, you name it. This has caused me to second guess most films I hear about and debate on watching. I feel like I am primarily bowing out of many films as many just do not live up to expectations. I've known about Lars and the Real Girl for quite some time and I believe I started it once, years ago, but I kept thinking that it was going to end up perverted, gory, or any of other not so enjoyable surprises that end up in some films. Have movies conditioned us so much that we can't take them at face value? I believe so, yes.

In my lovely land of Netflix streaming, I find myself diving back into indie flicks and documentaries most evenings while my husband is at work and Addison is asleep. I've missed this. College=film on many levels for me. I noticed Lars and decided to go for it. I recently enjoyed Mr. Gosling in Blue Valentine and Drive so I figured I'd go on with this Ryan Gosling kick. I am very pleased to announce that this was perfectly sweet film. Innocent and running rampant with themes, none of which include sex, horror or vulgarities. Try tolerance, patience, community, care and family. There were several moments where I am ashamed to say that I thought, "Oh great, here comes a disgusting part .." and so on and Gillespie really gave viewers the benefit of the doubt with this one as the scene fluidly continued into this substantial story.


Lars is dealing with mental illness and resides in the garage of his parents old home which is now owned by his brother and sister in law. He has obvious fears about putting himself out there in a confident way. He's isolated, shy and simply socially awkward. His family and the small town community where he lives is very knowledgeable of his personality. He works, he goes to church, he's just a good guy with some simple problems. So what does he do? He buys a RealDoll, of course. These are anatomically correct and extremely realistic looking dolls that are often used as sexual companions (so you see why I steered clear of this for a while, expecting some fetish film, which was presumptuous on my part!) but his true intention is to welcome her as a girlfriend in his life. There is immediate concern from everyone but I quickly established that he was using this doll to express things he is going through but isn't comfortable facing publicly. Bianca, the "real girl", is heartwarmingly accepted in the community as those who know Lars are understanding of his need for their patience during this time. Bianca seems to soar through town and truly becomes a member of the community as she is welcomed at the school, church and other festivities. Lars' has the local doctor "treat" Bianca and ultimately undergoes his own therapy as he visits the doctor weekly. He eventually decides that Bianca is ill and will soon pass, meaning he is overcoming his fears and moving forward in life. Her stamp in the lives of Lars' family and friends is permanent as she is an extension of Lars, whom they all deeply care for. Lars is cured of this road less traveled in his life.

Where some may see this film and pointless or silly, I believe this is great insight into being there for those in distress. There is no reason to push someone with a "get over it" attitude. What is the rush? Patience and understanding is lacking these days and by practicing both, it is amazing how beautiful one day in the life can be. In knowing Bianca, the townspeople really got to step into Lars' mind and life and came to know him better because of it. They came to know their own compassion as they each showed tolerance to something they may not have fully agreed with. People like to judge other people. I judged this movie as being about a strange man with a creepy fetish and this film was a great reminder that some people just need other people to walk alongside them to get them where they need to go. 

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