The cheese inspectors beat the crap out of us!
Another film from my Youtube playlist of films that I want to watch, “Lars and the Real Girl” is a comparatively well known film to the ones that I usually review for this site, and I’m pretty certain it’s the first one that I didn’t write as part of the Halloween special that has over 100,000 votes on IMDB.
To be fair, despite being on the aforementioned list, I was probably never actually going to watch this film. There a few films on there that whilst I would love to watch them, I just can’t ever see myself actually doing it, and there are a few that I imagine I won’t review even if I have seen them. The reason that I have done so though is that I was in a charity shop with one of my new housemates earlier and I spotted the DVD for a massive 50p. SOLD!
So I sat down and watched with the aforementioned housemate to enjoy what I hoped would be a wonderfully offbeat comedy as I was in the need of a chuckle following an incident at work on Friday evening.
As you can probably tell, I’m writing this bit after watching the film, which is a very odd occurrence for me.
Lars (Gosling) is a very shy young man who prefers his own company. He lives in the garage that is attached to the house he and his brother Gus (Schneider) inherited from their mother. Karin (Mortimer), Gus’ heavily pregnant wife, is very keen on Lars finding someone and is thrilled when he reveals that he has started a romantic relationship. That thrill becomes shock and dismay when Lars introduces them to a sex-doll and acts as though she is alive.
Gus is particularly appalled and struggles to deal with the realisation that his brother might be insane. He tricks Lars into seeing a psychologist (Clarkson), and as time goes on she theorises that he is compensating for something and just to ride it out until the doll, which Lars names Bianca, is no longer needed.
As time goes on more and more people become aware of the situation, but whilst everyone is supportive, a lot struggle with the concept. Bianca is given a job of teaching children how to read (via a cassette player on her lap) and is given make-overs, but it isn’t long before Lars grows jealous of the attention given to the doll, especially as he is now partially interested in co-worker Margo (Garner).
“Lars and the Real Girl” is one of the most original films that I think I have ever seen, and it is one of the more enjoyable efforts I have watched in recent weeks. For me, it’s not necessarily the dark comedy aspect of the film, but more the element of a family and community trying to deal with the mental illness of someone they love.
It makes you question how you would react in the same sort of situation, and there are two characters in particular who are very interesting to watch, Gus and Margo. Gus has the greater depth out of the two characters as he struggles to deal with the fact that his brother is in love with a sex doll, and more worryingly that he thinks it’s real. There is a brilliantly acted scene between him and Karin in which he finally breaks down and I love that unlike a lot of other films, the character isn’t really focused on how it will make him look, he genuinely cares for his brother.
The reaction from Margo when she realises that Lars is dating a doll is hilarious and very genuine. She stand there aghast as she sees that Lars has brought a sex doll into church and realises that Lars is in love with it. She stands there long after everyone around her has sat down and the look of horror on her face is exceptionally well portrayed by Kelli Garner.
But unquestionably the star of the show is Gosling, and he nails it. There are a few roles in Hollywood that are cast so perfectly that you couldn’t imagine anyone else in the role, with some examples being Heath Ledger’s taken on the Joker in “The Dark Knight”, Chris Pratt in “Guardians of the Galaxy” and Brad Pitt as Tyler in “Fight Club.” Gosling nails it so well that it’s hard not to like the character. He plays him so humbly that you actually see exactly why everyone in the town likes the character, he’s almost perfectly humble.
The pacing is great, although it does start dragging a bit towards the end and it does become slightly predictable what will happen, but that is my only real complaint with the film. It feels very natural and could have the potential to happen in real life.
Visually the film is what you’d expect, there’s not really a lot going on except for the environmental shots that you see throughout, and the town that they are in is gorgeous.
If you a chance then I would definitely recommend that you watch this unusual black comedy, it’s one of the most unique films you’ll ever see and that’s definitely not a bad thing.
“Lars and the Real Girl” is everything that you would hope it would be, and the feel a genuine connection to each of the characters, especially the “what the fuck?” look on the face of some of the characters that can’t believe what they’re witnessing.
Whilst it will probably never get mainstream coverage like most of Gosling’s films these days, “Lars and the Real Girl” is about as close as you’re likely to see to an actor nailing a role perfectly, and to the point where you couldn’t picture anyone else doing it.
I would definitely recommend “Lars and the Real Girl”.