"Offbeat, Yet Surprisingly Heart-Warming and Redemptive"
LARS AND THE REAL GIRL is a heart-warming comedy about a delusional young man, played by Ryan Gosling, who, with the help of a mail-order doll and the folks in his small mid-western town, finds healing and real love.
Lars is a socially-challenged young man who lives in the garage behind his brother and sister-in-law’s house. Lars goes quietly to church on the weekends, trudges to his office job in the mornings and comes home at night to be alone. His family worries that their introverted brother may never find someone with whom he could share his life.
That is, of course, until Lars tells them that his girlfriend, whom he met on the Internet, just arrived back from a missionary trip. They are so excited to meet this young woman who has swept Lars off his feet. He asks them, since he and his girlfriend are both devout Christians, if she might be able to stay in the family’s guest bedroom rather than in the garage with him. The family responds with an enthusiastic yes. . . then, they meet Lars’ girlfriend, Bianca. With mouths agape, they are introduced to a very life-like doll that Lars has ordered from the Internet. In their eyes, they see a silicone doll, but Lars sees a friend.
The family seeks to get Lars help from the local psychiatrist. She convinces them that Lars is suffering from a delusion and that the best way for them to help him is to play out this delusion with him. Soon, they convince the townspeople to join with them in order to help Lars get better. However, it takes no time whatsoever before Bianca, the life-sized doll, has woven herself into the hearts of the entire community. From attending church, to modeling at the local dress shop, to volunteering at the hospital, Bianca becomes very real to everyone in the town.
LARS AND THE REAL GIRL is, surprisingly, one of the better-made, more redemptive movies of the year. The offbeat storyline could very easily keep audiences away from the theatre as they might seek out a more mainstream storyline. However, this movie is filled with heart, depth and strong Christian values, the chief of which is a sacrificial love that the townspeople show towards Lars. In return, though, the townspeople find love and appreciation from this “doll” who touches their hearts in very real ways.
This movie gives Ryan Gosling a chance to shine in his role as Lars. In what could easily be a cheap, stereotypical hermit character, Gosling gives Lars a depth and sincerity that warms the heart. On one breath, audiences will find themselves laughing; on the next breath, audiences will find themselves with tear-filled eyes. The quality emotional journey that audiences will take is a credit to the cast and the production team.
The movie does, however, contain a few sexual references, one to pornographic websites, as well as brief foul language, so moviegoers should be cautioned. With that said, though, LARS AND THE REAL GIRL is one of the most touching and enjoyable movies of the year for older audiences.
(CC, B, Ro, L, V, S, A, D, M); Strong Christian worldview in which several church services are shown, prayers, hymns and scripture reading depicted, Christian funeral and strong theme of people living sacrificially to help delusional young man, very light romanticism in view of relationships; three light obscenities and five profanities; no violence except two people slip and fall in snow; light sexual content includes man orders a “real doll” off the Internet (however, it should be noted that he does not use the doll in any perverse way), and two quick references by other people as to the doll’s intended purpose including one quick mention of pornographic website, and one unmarried kiss; no nudity, although blurred website can be seen out of focus in the background; light alcohol use includes some wine and beer at a dinner party; smoking; and, light miscellaneous immorality includes some gossip and married couple jokingly makes $5 bet on whether their brother will join them for dinner.
LARS AND THE REAL GIRL stars Ryan Gosling as a delusional man who lives in the garage behind his brother and sister-in-law’s house. Lars goes quietly to church on the weekends, trudges to his office job in the mornings and comes home at night to be alone. One day, Lars tells his family about Bianca, a girl he met over the Internet, who’s just arrived back from a missionary trip. With mouths agape, his family is introduced to a very life-like doll that Lars has ordered from a website. When a psychiatrist tells them to play along with his delusion, his family convinces the townspeople to join with them in order to help Lars get better. Soon, however, Bianca’s social calendar is more full than Lars’.
LARS AND THE REAL GIRL is, surprisingly, one of the better-made, more redemptive movies of the year. The offbeat storyline could very easily keep audiences away, but the movie is filled with heart, depth and strong Christian values. It does, however, contain a few sexual references and brief foul language, so MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution regarding LARS AND THE REAL GIRL, which is rated PG-13.