The search for true love begins outside of the box

Posted by Andy 04/06/2017 0 Comment(s)

How do you make a film about a life-sized love doll , ordered through the Internet, into a life-affirming statement of hope? We got a little love story between a man and his sex doll , Hollywood loves contrived love stories with insane stipulations and “humorous” misunderstandings. Lars and the Real Girl is a 2007 about a shy, lonely young man who develops a relationship with a life-sized, anatomically correct doll he orders online.
In "Lars and the Real Girl," you do it with faith in human nature, and with a performance by Ryan Gosling that says things that cannot be said. And you surround him with actors who express the instinctive kindness we show to those we love.
Lars Lindstrom lives a secluded life in a small Wisconsin town. He avoids social contact, finding it difficult to interact with his family, co-workers, or members of his church. A co-worker, Margo, is interested in him, but he avoids anything more than brief encounters.
One day a co-worker at the office, surfing Internet porn, shows Lars a life-size vinyl love doll that can be order customized to specifications few weeks later a large package arrives; that evening Lars tells Gus his older brother and Karin sister in law that he has a visitor whom he met via the Internet, a wheelchair-mobile missionary of Brazilian and Danish descent named Bianca. They discover that Bianca is a lifelike doll which Lars apparently ordered from an adult website. 
 
Lars begins to take Bianca everywhere in a wheelchair to introduce Bianca as his girlfriend   to the townspeople and he has an explanation for everything, including why she doesn't talk or eat. Due to their concern for Lars, everyone treats Bianca as a real person. Lars soon finds himself interacting more with people. He takes her to a party, even to church, even though he would clearly rather stay home, because that is what Bianca would want. Concerned about his mental health, they convince Lars to take Bianca for a checkup to the family doctor, Dagmar, who is also a psychologist. She explains to Gus and Karin that his delusion is a manifestation of an underlying problem that needs to be addressed. She urges them to assist with his therapy by treating Bianca as a real person. Bianca is becoming as real as anyone in Lars’ life can possibly be, Lars is reaching out to try and connect and learn to have an adult relationship, at this point in the development of his social abilities.
The movie somehow implies without quite saying that, although the doll comes advertised with "orifices," Lars does not use Bianca for sex. No, she is an ideal companion, not least because she can never touch him.
 
There are many terrific moments throughout the film, including the amazement and slack-jawed disbelief of people meeting Bianca for the first time. The film is about a young man learning what it means to love and an entire town supporting and helping Lars take the baby steps into adulthood.  It’s as sweet and romantic a love story as you are likely to find this year.  Original and unconventional it might be, but the emotion of the story is universal and heart-warming.
We all know a few people who walk into a socially dangerous situation, size it up, and instantly know what to say and how to set people at ease
As we watch this movie, we glimpse Lars' inner world, one of hurt but also hidden hope. Nine actors out of 10 would have (rightly) turned down this role, suspecting it to be a minefield of bad laughs. Gosling's work here is a study in control of tone. He isn't too morose, too strange, too opaque, and too earnest. The word for his behavior, so strange to the world, is serene. He loves his new friend, treats her courteously and expects everyone else to give her the respect he does.
As lurid as a film about a man’s relationship to a sex doll sounds the film is the exact opposite.  In an era of over-sexed, gross-out flicks, a film like this is simply delightful.  You may have to search for it, for although it is getting a wide release many of the big megaplexes won’t touch this “sex doll ” film which is a mistake for them and a big loss for the movie going public who would no doubt enjoy a film that is both funny and poignant, sweet and dramatic, and one of the most original, sweetest, and pleasant surprises of the year.
 
How this all finally works out is deeply satisfying. Only after the movie is over do you realize what a balancing act it was, what risks it took, what rewards it contains. A character says at one point that she has grown to like Bianca. So, heaven help us, have we.
If we can feel that way about a new car, why not about a lonely man's way to escape from sitting alone in the dark?

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