Originally a film I wrote off under the impression it would be a crude, and likely bad, comedy due to its premise, Lars and the Real Girl is far from it, but instead is a touching and generally sweet film about a reclusive and strange, or perhaps eccentric, man and his fake girlfriend. Extremely well-acted and written, Lars and the Real Girl manages to capitalize on a premise that could have created a terrible film in less capable hands. Emotional, quirky and above all heartwarming, Lars and the Real Girl is an example of an excellent feel-good movie if there ever was one, and this week’s choice for Netflix Movie of the Week.
Staring Ryan Gosling in a vastly different role than fans have seen before, Lars and the Real Girl depicts the life of Lars, an extremely shy shut-in living in the garage of his brother’s house. Unexpectedly, Lars purchases a Real Doll, a sex doll made to look like an actual woman, but instead of buying her for that purpose, Lars views the doll, Bianca, as his girlfriend. He is seemingly unaware of the fact that she is a doll, as he pushes her around town in a wheelchair, has conversations with her, and is unwilling to accept the fact she is not real, leading people in town to speculate on his mental well-being While I cannot emphasize enough how this movie succeeds with this premise, it is easy to see my hesitation about watching this film as it could have easily turned to a vulgar and cheap comedy based around a sex doll.
Oddly enough, this was the movie that made me recognize Ryan Gosling’s talents as an actor. While I had seen other films he had been in, I felt he was often typecasted as the typical good-looking male lead. However, he does such a wonderful job in this film convincing the audience that he is a weird, awkward, and shy individual, while creating a very believable relationship with an inanimate object that I would be remiss not to admire his acting chops. It would be hard for me to imagine another actor in this role after seeing the film.
Even if the premise is not enough to compel you to watch this film, I would recommend you give it a chance. It is somewhat of a cult favorite with the indie movie going crowd and is that way for a reason, because it is good. If nothing else, the movie is worth a watch to see Ryan Gosling trying something new in his acting career, and doing it with an excellent moustache.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5