Monday, October 22, 2007
What Makes You Real?
Dean and I saw Lars and the Real Girl at the Harvard Exit last night. We were expecting a light-hearted comedy, but got something much more complicated. Though parts were laugh-out-loud funny, most of the movie was a fairly intense psychological drama and tear-jerker. Fargo meets Pinocchio meets Velveteen Rabbit, if you will.
Lars has suffered a great loss, his mother dying during his birth. Now, at age 27, his sister-in-law is about to have her first baby, and it triggers a kind of delusion, where he purchases a life-size mail order doll named Bianca, to be his girl-friend ("She's from Brazil. I met her on the internet"). What follows is a fascinating story of how his small community (a town somewhere in the frozen Northern Midwest) goes along with his delusion (which is usually the wrong thing to do, from a psychological perspective; as it only feeds the delusion and makes the condition worse) with amazingly healing results for all, and a lot of warm and fuzzy along the way (all those sweaters! all those mittens! all those wipsy snowflakes!).
Along the way Bianca is elected to the school board. And Lars learns to bowl. All in all, it's a good movie. Ryan Gosling is a disheveled marvel as Lars. Patricia Clarkson is wonderful as the family doctor.