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Lars and the Real Girl 

Craig Gillespie

Lars and the Real Girl
Directed by: Craig Gillespie
Introverted Lars (Ryan Gosling) is designed to be endearing. You can tell because he helps an old lady carry flowers to her car after church. And so, when Lars purchases a sex doll and starts believing it's real, his relationship with the doll is a chaste one. Bianca offers Lars the companionship he's too emotionally stunted to accept from other people. Lars and the Real Girl serves up a supremely creepy premise and then begs you not to be creeped out by it. And because genial Gosling's starring, its easy to comply. (Mentally sub-in Willem Dafoe as Lars. The film becomes a more sinister affair.) Lars also gets to work through his delusions in the gentlest environment possible: His entire town goes to great lengths to help Lars keep his reality alive, smiling benevolently as Lars carts Bianca around town and making chit-chat with the doll. The movie's kindhearted universe is an unrealistic conceit, as is the ease with which Lars therapist (Patricia Clarkson) roots out his delusions and helps him overcome them. Consequently, Lars ends up a sweet but wrongheaded little movie. In never probing the dark underbelly of the film's wacky premise, director Craig Gillespie and screenwriter Nancy Oliver do the movies subject and their audience a disservice.
Lindsay McCarney


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