'Lars and the Real Girl' is Surprisingly Touching

Maui Time | October 26, 2007
Lars and the Real Girl

Screenwriter Nancy Oliver has crafted a surprisingly touching and, yes, romantic story about a lonely introvert who discovers an ad hoc method of self-therapy in the guise of an anatomically correct silicone love doll. Lars Lindstrom (Ryan Gosling) lives in the garage of the Midwest home he grew up in, where his brother Gus (Paul Schneider) and wife Karin (Emily Mortimer) inhabit the main house. An office mate at Lars's nondescript day job introduces Lars to a love doll website from which he orders "Bianca" and transforms her into a delicate wheelchair-ridden girlfriend. Unable to tolerate human contact, Lars can finally interact, through Bianca, with his family and people in his community in ways never before possible. Patricia Clarkson gives a reliably understated performance as Dr. Dagmar, the psychiatrist who monitors Bianca's health on a weekly basis and who guides Lars on a journey of self-discovery. Eloquent performances from its entire cast support the rhythmically timed movie to render surprising emotional rewards. "Lars and the Real Girl" is the best independent film of the year. (A)

Rated PG-13, 106 mins. (A-) (Four Stars)


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