Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

Dir. Craig Gillespie
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, John Schneider,

I think Mitchell has the best chance of liking this. I predict Penny, Grace, Jill, Chris and Kevin would like this too. I know Tony saw this and liked it (I couldn’t find his review, though). I know Don thought this was OK, and I probably would have gave mildly recommended it to him. I would mildly recommend this to Marc, Joel and John. Larri gave this a five or six, I think. I almost gave this a seven.

This is definitely one of those independent films that largely succeeds and may probably could appeal to mainstream audiences. The movie is about two brothers, Gus (Schneider) and Lars (Gosling), who live together….well, sort of. Lars lives in the garage, and Karin (Mortimer), Gus’ wife, is forever inviting Lars to dinner. Lars never goes. One day Lars surprises both his brother and sister-in-law by announcing that he’s bringing over a girlfriend for dinner. Based on the film’s title, you can guess what kind of girl attends–except Lars really believes the girl is real. A doctor, played by Particia Clarkson, advises that Gus and Karin (and the whole town; it’s small) play along to help Lars.

Now, this doesn’t sound like a good movie, and I would agree that if this film came out of Hollywood, this would be a terrible film. The fact that it is not–that it is a pretty good film makes it noteworthy. The filmmakers were always in danger of going over-the-top and doing things to make the film laughable, in unintended ways. The fact that they mostly didn’t do this–that the film allowed me to suspend my disbelief–was an accomplishment.

What I really liked was the way the filmmakers played the scenes straight. Indeed, at times the film felt more like a drama than a comedy. And the funny scenes were actually more funny because they were played straight. A lot of the credit goes to the actors especially Mortimer and Schneider. Gosling is also solid. I don’t normally like actors playing in “disabled” roles, nor do I care for the “holy fool.” Gosling’s performance didn’t bother me and he brought something a little original to his performance. Again, this is not a great movie, but it was enjoyable and aspects about it that are worth noting.

1 Response to “Lars and the Real Girl (2007)”

  1. pen

    I enjoyed this movie quite a bit. It was heartwarming, but it takes a less-than-conventional-route. The acting was very good, which means the direction must have been very good as well. It’s about family and loss and coping and community and the strength of love and acceptance. But in a non-hokey way, thanks to the great acting and direction. I am really getting on the Ryan Gossling train. Before I thought, “eh, he’s okay, but what’s the big deal?” I am beginning to see what the big deal is.

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