Friday, October 19, 2007

Lars and the Real Girl


Lars and the Real Girl is the real deal. This feels like the kind of independent film that was made when indie films were really indie films.
Ryan Gosling turns in a superb performance that exceeds his recent studio work (Fracture) or indie turns like his nominated lead in Half Nelson. There's nowhere to go but up for this guy. As a lonesome taciturn character Gosling brings an understated depth to the part of Lars Lindstrom. Excellent support from Emily Mortimer and Paul Schneider (as his brother and sister in law) and Patricia Clarkson (as the local doctor) guarantee this boat floats on waves of perfection.
In some ways Lars and the Real Girl reminds one of some Scandanavian cinema with its wintery settings, cold atmosphere and portrait of a tight knit community that sticks together no matter what. But deep down it's pure Americana.
Lars has a new girlfriend, only his femme is a high dollar silicone doll purchased on the Internet. Instead of some outrageous comic plot the situation is played seriously. The townspeople hold a meeting: the preacher asks what would Jesus do? Another lady reminds the group that her nephew dresses his cats in dresses, so what is so weird about Lar's behavior. And so it goes throughout the film as Lars and the denizens of his town come to terms with his actions. In the end Lars may be the most normally adjusted person in the film.

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