Lars and the Real Girl follows the titular Lars (Ryan Gosling), a shy socially awkward man who forms an emotional bond with a sex doll, Bianca. Instead of using her for her intended purpose however, he enters into a full relationship (without sex) and treats her as someone to help him overcome his loneliness and social anxiety.
Rallying the town around them, they convince everyone to carry on as normal, pretending Bianca is a real person. She becomes a part of the community; going to church, the mall, the doctor’s and functioning as an extension of Lars. She is just a conduit into the society he wants to be a part of but never felt he could alone. As his dependence on Bianca grows, he finds himself having to choose between the delusion that brought him out of his shell and the real world that shell opens up to.
Although this film is definitely skewed as a comedy, I would wholeheartedly argue that it is much more rooted as a drama. I teared up a few times, and the script and all the characters have an incredible amount of heart. Lars is such a sympathetic character, because he’s not crazy and he’s not dangerous, he’s just incredibly lonely. I know you can’t have chemistry with a doll, but the way Gosling commits to interacting with a literal plastic woman is absolutely amazing. You watch his character blossom onscreen as soon as she is introduced and he exists in this childlike existence that makes it impossible for everyone not to love him.
I absolutely love when actors play against type. The movie could be garbage but I would applaud any actor that has the guts to do something completely different, and Gosling nails it. The script is smart and heartfelt, and he has the guts to take on an incredibly ambitious role playing against someone who gives nothing back. Gosling built his career on his adorable little Canadian face, and here he STILL manages to be adorable while being the total opposite of all his previous roles. He looks like Stanley Tucci in The Lovely Bones (and let’s be real this character could have turned into the same character real freakin’ quick) and yet he still manages to be charming. This character could have easily been creepy. He could have easily been boring or too outlandish, making the whole thing a joke. But he plays this character with such sweet sincerity that you’re sucked into his world.
A romantic drama where the other half isn’t even real sounds looney tunes, and it is, but it’s so honest and grounded in it’s perception of the story that you can’t help but root for one of the most loveable, albeit sad, main characters Gosling has ever played. A true turn that cemented his dramatic acting ability, Lars and the Real Girl is a film to see and a film to feel.
In a film with a lot of heart, one beating and one plastic, Gosling can’t help from stealing yours.
Amy’s Recommendation: 10/10