FILM REVIEW LARS AND THE REAL GIRL 2007
Though this Canadian film has gained a lot of critical praise, I found it utterly impossible to relate to its premise or the unrealistic reactions of its characters.
Lars (Ryan Gosling) alone seems a credible figure, a shy, nervous loner, unable to relate to others, including his brother and pregnant sister-in-law. His sudden eagerness to introduce everyone to a sex-doll as his new real girlfriend, Bianca is where the story warps.
The problem is how insufferably nice everyone is to Lars through his identity and relationships crisis. Everyone in town plays along with it all, from his relatives, to the vicar, and work-mates. The film lacks any point of tension or conflict for Lars. How would he have coped faced by someone stating the truth from either intent to bully or a simple desire to declare that the emperor has no new clothes at all? In even such a small town, Lars would have been bound to face such conflict.
Matters reach a peak when Lars decides Bianca is ill, and get the police and ambulance services out. They rush Bianca to hospital instead of sectioning Lars – by this stage he is endangering real people to get care for a plastic fantasy figure and no one seems to want to question this at all and Bianca is even given a decent funeral after Lars seems to drown the terminally ill doll in his final efforts to reject her for a true real girl.
Real relationships and activity are equally preposterous. We see Lars go to work, but neither he nor his two colleagues do any work. They lark around with teddy bears, download adult content and argue all day. We never see a boss in sight.
There is never any sense of Bianca being used as she was manufactured to do, but the film is available to twelve year olds and above in the UK. There are hints of conflicts and change that never arise. The brother thinks everyone will laugh at the family over what Lars is doing / believing, but no one does. It would have been interesting to see the family protecting Lars against harsher realities or Lars coming to terms with realities.
Ultimately, the gentle comedy is rather ludicrous and difficult to relate too – it shows a kind, tolerant World that itself seems as delusional as Lars’s idealized fantasy figure.