Lars and the Real Girl

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Lars and the Real Girl
Review (-/10)
(By Paul Fischer)

Lars and the Real Girl is a comic tour-de-force that may be the most original film of the year. Lars Lindstrom [Ryan Gosling] is a loveable introvert whose emotional baggage has kept him from fully embracing life. After years of what is almost solitude, he invites Bianca, a friend he met on the Internet to visit him.

He introduces Bianca to his brother Gus and his wife Karen and they are stunned. They don't know what to say to Lars or Bianca--because she is a life-size doll, not a real person and he is treating her as though she is alive. They consult the family doctor Dagmar who explains this is a delusion he's created--for what reason she doesn't yet know but they should all go along with it. What follows is an emotional journey for Lars and the people around him.

One would not expect a film about a man and his doll to be a smart, sensitive, utterly compelling work, but Lars and the Real Girl is that and more. With a sharp script by Nancy Oliver [an auspicious first-time writer], beautifully fluid direction by Craig Gillespie, Lars is a film that is both hilarious and poignant, as it deftly balances the two with succinct precision.

Ryan Gosling has proven himself to be an actor of extraordinary range, but here, he is a true revelation, stunning in both his comedic moments and those that are emotionally vivid. He reminds one of a young De Niro with touches of jimmy Stewart thrown in, in this Harvey-type comic gem that is so utterly unique and so meticulously acted.

The exquisite Emily Mortimer shines as his sympathetic sister-in-law, and Kelli Garner is exquisite as a co-worker who falls in love with the shy, awkward and totally loveable Lars. With clever marketing, Lars has a strong chance at Oscar contention and box office gold; it's a rare, unqualified classic.

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