Not so long ago, I was expecting Drive to come through my letter box after waiting over a week for it to arrive. When I finally got a package, I was rather surprised, and not in a good way, to see Taken 2, sitting there in the packaging just staring back at me like YOU BETTER WATCH ME. WHAT’S THAT; YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE FIRST TAKEN? YOU BUFFOON. It was a rather offensive and uncomfortable time of my life, but I lived. About three/four weeks ago, I ordered District 9, which is easily one of those films that you should just have as your own. When the mysterious package arrived, after waiting an abnormally long time for it to come, I discovered it wasn’t District 9. FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, I thought. at this stage, I was going to be borderline quoting Wikus by the time I got the damn DVD; ‘3 fuckun yarss?!?’ But as opposed to the unpleasant Taken 2 experience, I was happy to have received ‘Lars and the Real Girl‘, which…if I’m honest I don’t remember ordering (though its likely I did). Perhaps I went on some Amazon DVD ordering rampage. I guess we’ll never know.
I present to you, Lars and the Real Girl; with the marvellous Ryan Gosling playing the title role as a cripplingly lonely man with second to none social skills who lives in the garage of his older brother’s house. Now, this on its own sounds just like a painful 1hr30min character study, where nothing much happens and ends with some kind of suicide. But how about we spice it up a little with, say…a life-size sex doll? Now, I know what you’re thinking. Why WOULD you want to see a film about the adventures one lonely guy has with his sex doll? Well, quite frankly, I don’t know, but all I know is, when it comes to this film, you do. If I’m going to be honest, Lars and the Real Girl has been one of the most interesting films I’ve seen this year so far. The subject matter in hand could so easily be handled distastefully and could end up being an embarrassing and cringey teen flick much like American Pie, and not really dealt with seriously. What it all boils down to is that Lars doesn’t use Bianca (the ‘real’ girl) for what she was created for. It’s much deeper then that. The connection between the two is really rather sweet, be it totally and utterly one sided, but the audience, as well as the characters in the film, begin to accept that this IS a thing that is happening. Bianca is a physical representation for Lars’ emotional torment and provides an emotional escape as he lives out this delusion.
Although this film in many places is hilarious, as we witness full blown arguments between Lars and Bianca, the community’s struggles to accept Bianca as a real person and Lars’ general awkwardness, the film actually deals with some pretty deep seated issues, such as mental illness, rejection and acceptance in equal measure, but perhaps the most important though most subtle theme of them all is that of loss. As the story of Lars and, brother, Gus’ family unfolds, the audience are inevitably sucked into trying to figure out why Lars is the way he is; and, boy, is it complex. But we’re with him every step of the way.
Although the performances of all involved are extremely impressive, Ryan Gosling officially steals the limelight, forcing the audience to believe the connection he has with Bianca is completely real, despite how odd it really is. The DVD even features him in interview with Bianca, still speaking to her, outside of role! What’s most impressive about his performance is that he manages to create this believable story line, on his own; Bianca isn’t exactly going to help, is she? As part of his character, he rarely has much interaction with other characters in the story that isn’t awkward chit chat, but when we do, it is raw and painful, and makes you want to leap into the screen and give him a big cuddle. The story allows us to see tender moments between Lars and Bianca, one being one of the most adorable scenes I’ve seen that shows just how awesome Ryan Gosling really is; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9Rmv3t2e7o Although the character of Gus appears to be a douche right from the off, the audience begin to understand the situation from his point of view. How else would you react if your sibling introduced a sex doll as his disabled, Brazilian girlfriend who speaks barely any English? But this just goes to show how the film-makers have manipulated the audience response in such a way that we are automatically on Lars’ side, even against a stance that we would probably take, if we were put in the situation.
Overall, I found this film thoroughly enjoyable. It is a lot deeper than it would first appear, and is pleasing and satisfying to watch the town bend over backwards to make Bianca feel welcomed. Its interesting to see the emotional journey Lars takes using Bianca as an outlet, and though to he probably wouldn’t want you to be, you find yourself rather attached to Lars. This has definitely shot up to be one of my favourite films, and, naturally, I would recommend it to everyone! Whether youre fanatic about film or just like to watch it casually, this film is enjoyable to all.
Thank you for reading, until next time!