Lars and the Real girl (2007) ***


A guy and a plastic doll on the dinner table. The situation is quite tricky and can most certainly turn into an ugly comedy about the demented guy. Instead what you get is a sweet, touching story of a man who is so afraid of relationships that it hurts him even when people touch him. “I feel as if my hands are burning when someone hugs me,” he tells the doctor who he is seeing regularly to get his doll treated for an unknown disease. ‘Lars and the real girl’, is a smart movie. It plays with the physocolgy of the main character and the confusions of the people around him quite delicately. The people in the town are surprising understanding and make the doll called ‘Bianca’ their own. They take her out, dress her and give her hair cuts as if she was a real person, while the doctor takes this time to talk to Lars, who finally is cured and proves it by stating that Bianca is dying soon.

I wouldn’t say that it is a bad movie. It is worth a watch, to just see the treatement given to the subject matter which is quite sensitive, especially since it involves a life size doll who is being treated as a girlfriend to the lead. But the one thing that keeps the movie, just about good is the fact that other than this disorder, there are no other layers in the movie. Everyone in the town is very accomodating. Though the older brother, Gus (Paul Schneider), has some trouble adjusting and accepting Lars condition, even he comes around. Lars, surprisingly gets attracted to a co-worker who had been throwing herself at him even before he buys that doll and eventually to substantiate his feelings for her, kills the doll in his mind.

Ryan Gosling as Lars, is just about alright. I don’t really know what else would be required of that characted because he remains under wraps, opening up occasionaly in the doctor’s sessions. The co-actors including Emily Mortimer and Paul Schneider are effective as a couple trying to make best of the situation but it is mostly the town people who keep the tone of the movie light by treating the doll as a human. I wish the real world was as perfect as the town created in this movie.

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