LARS AND THE REAL GIRL (2007)

TMG Scale 6.0
Starring Ryan Gosling

This film tries to be endearing, funny and sweet.  It pretty much just creeped me out. I give it some points for very good acting and a novel idea though.  To the extent ti tried to comment on the sad and pathetic nature of the hyper-antisocial in our midst, it scored some points. To the extent it tried to glorify the bizarre nature of the mentally disturbed, TMG found it a bit over the top.

Lars Lindstrom is a marginally functional, super nerd who seems  to take satisfaction from the lack of human interaction.  He is sensitive to even touch or affection from others.  Lars lives in the garage in the back of the family home now occupied by his brother Gus and his wife Karin. On a lead from an equally antisocial co-worker, he orders an anatomically correct, life sized “play” doll. This is weird enough but behaviour  perhaps expected from the mentally  serial killer we learn about on Monday mornings.

The plot twist here is that Lars treats his doll, whom? (which?)  he describes as a paraplegic Brazilian named Bianca. He talks to her and introduces her as a real person.  Rather than immediately get him  inpatient mental treatment where he belongs, his family and the community go along with the charade.  Lars and Bianca go out and about and attend parties together. While the background talk and stares are there, they largely accept Lars and Bianca as if they were simply dwarfs, exotic artists or even marginally normal.

This film may have been a plea to be sympathetic and understanding to those that walk to a different beat.  But if that was the intent, Lars might have been portrayed by a more realistic person than the overly handsome Gosling who has such an endearing smile. TMG thinks it takes a cheap stab at the mentally ill as if they are just around for our amusement and lunch time banter. Treating the ill or challenged as if they were perfectly normal and passing it off as sweet and understanding serves no one. That sort of social re-engineering gave us flunking kids receiving A’s, fat children getting blue ribbons in the 100 yard dash, and social psychopaths being released too early on parole.

If you are in the mood for something different tonite like garlic ice cream, auto erotic asphyxiation (neither featured in this film), or just dating a silicone doll, try this film.  You may find it to be a funny or even a precious and sweet love story. While TMG appreciates the message of tolerance, the underlying message to treat mental illness as normal and cute is misguided.  If you need silicone breasts to feel good about yourself is one thing, having a silicone friend is quite another.

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