Again, spoilers below. Beware.
I first heard about Lars and the Real Girl when a member of the HR department told me about it over lunch in the company cafeteria. I’ve been to the internet once or twice, so I of course had heard about Real Dolls.
(Oh. Hey, Mom. No, I was just kidding. I hadn’t actually heard of Real Dolls. I was just trying to look cool in front of my friends. I just now realized what a Real Doll was and immediately spent ten minutes in the bathroom puking in disgust. What a terrible, terrible thing. I’m going to go now … and volunteer … at a soup kitchen. See ya.)
The conversation with the HR lady was … let us say awkward. I had no idea where the movie landed on the continuum between wholesome comedy and Skinemax “drama”. So I just nodded and smiled and made a few mental notes.
Then I actually saw the movie, and now I understand that there was no reason for me to feel uncomfortable. The movie is actually ridiculously wholesome given that there’s a sex doll on screen so often.
My first thought when the credits rolled was “Ryan Gosling? Shit.” The problem there is that the only movies I’d yet seen Ryan Gosling in, he’d always been the six-pack sporting sensitive dream boat guy. Hollywood loves to cast this guy as the sexy male character who’s about as deep as a half a kleenex. Let me admit right now that I mis-judged him. Ryan Gosling looked like hell in this movie and turned in a stellar performance.
Here’s the part where I make an awkward confession. The tag for these posts is “Overly Harsh Reviews.” You know what bad things I have to say about Lars and the Real Girl?
That’s right. Nothing.
I loved this movie.
I loved this movie right down to the ground.
It’s smart, it’s clever, it has heart. It shows the common, everyday kind of love and decency that gives me faith in humanity.
There’s an awkward, damaged, unhappy character, who finds a powerfully human (albeit bizarre) way to work through his issues. Everyone in his family and his town bend over backwards to help him out. There’s conflict and arguments, but they’re motivated and well-grounded in real, three-dimensional characters. Ryan Gosling and Emily Mortimer give terrific performances.
There’s even a (relatively) happy ending.
I laughed, I cried, I felt happy and uplifted at the end of the movie.
It may not be for everyone, but it’s certainly for me. Lars and the Real Girl is the best movie I’ve seen in 2012. Hands down.
I urge you to watch it.