Its quite amazing that so many independent films release at Film Festivals, are appreciated wholeheartedly by everyone around, yet fade away so quick. Most of them go unnoticed. No one, apart from the people who saw them at the festivals themselves, ever hear of them. Some however, get noticed to the extent of being recognized by the Academy Awards. Lars and the Real Girl is one such film.
Starring Ryan Gossling, who perfectly plays the lead role of Lars, a man peculiar in his mannerisms and in his interactions with others around him, this film strikes upon a certain mental delusion that people often suffer from due to neglect or lack of a proper upbringing. Certain times, such a delusion is brought about due to close interaction with a person who suffered from a similar illness, which is the case here. Lars lives alone. He does not interact much with people, especially females. Hence, he is scared of his sister-in-law who tries to get him to break out of his shell.
Lars purchases a life size doll, often termed as sex-dolls, and treats it as a real person. As odd as the situation might sound, it is sad. What he merely thinks he does not get in real life, love and comfort from people, due to his own fear of fellow humans, he gets from the doll. In time, the entire town, small in its size, learns to treat the doll as a real person. All this in order to, perhaps, help Lars break free from his delusion. The care which his brother and sister-in-law have for him is really touching. Played by Paul Schneider and Emily Mortimer, these two people are the closest thing Lars has to a family.
The film is very simple in what it wants to portray. The kindness of human beings in order to help one of their own. Initially it is shock and awe. Disbelief. Mistaken madness. In time it turns to love, care, and simply the sacrifice one makes to help another. This is shown beautifully in Lars and the Real Girl. Perhaps the most caring of the lot, the character of Lars' sister-in-law. Emily Mortimer, the great actress that she is, gives a gem of a performance, no less than that of Ryan Gossling. Other commendable performances include that of Patricia Clarkson, who plays the psychologist who tries to learn what exactly is wrong with Lars, and helps him become more comfortable in the presence of others. Kelli Garner, playing Margo, a cherry-sweet girl, who seems to be in love with Lars but can never say it because he shuns her aside every time she tries to get close to him, will make you smile with her screen presence.
Lars and the Real Girl, though dealing with a very complex subject, is simple in all the right ways. Whether it is giving CPR to a cute brown teddy bear, or the tension which is often present between two people who are interested in each other when they shake hands, it speaks out quietly, yet it is clear. It does not take much to care for a friend, a brother, or a colleague. Caring for another is one of the simplest things one can do in one's life.
8/10. This is lovely. Simply beautiful. Everything about it is perfect. The performances, the music, the setting. Everything. Watch this. You will not regret it.