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Film Review

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  Lars And The Real Girl  




Lars Lindstrom lives a secluded life in a small northern town. His mother died when he was born, causing his grief-stricken father to have been a distant parent to Lars and his older brother, Gus. Gus carries guilt for having left the desperate family situation as soon as he could support himself; Lars struggles with the loss of his mother during his birth and an irrational fear about the risk of death during childbirth. As a result, he exhibits avoidance behaviors and haphephobia, causing social awkwardness and isolation.

Having inherited the family home after their father's death, the two brothers both live on the property along with Gus' wife, Karin. Lars lives in the converted garage, while Gus and Karin, who is pregnant with their first child, live in the house proper. Despite Karin's efforts to bring Lars out of his shell, interacting with or relating to his family and co-workers is very difficult for him. A colleague at his office, Margo, also tries to engage him, but Lars is impervious to Margo's attempts to be friendly.

One evening, Lars happily announces to Gus and Karin that he has a visitor whom he met online, a wheelchair-mobile missionary of Brazilian and Danish descent named Bianca. The pair are startled to discover that Bianca is actually a lifelike doll, ordered from an adult website, whom Lars treats as a live human being. Concerned about his mental health, Gus and Karin convince Lars to take Bianca to see the family doctor, Dagmar Berman, who is also a psychologist. Berman diagnoses Bianca with low blood pressure and urges Lars to return under the guise of "weekly treatments" for Bianca, while actually analyzing Lars to get to the root of his behavior. Berman explains to Gus and Karin that Lars' delusion is a manifestation of an underlying problem that needs to be addressed, and that they need to assist with Lars' therapy by continuing to treat Bianca as if she were real. During this time, Margo has begun to date another co-worker, which silently bothers Lars.

Eventually, Lars introduces Bianca as his girlfriend to his co-workers and various townspeople. Sympathetic to Lars, the town inhabitants react to the doll as if she were real, however in order to reduce Lars' dependence on her, they start filling her "schedule" with social events and volunteer programs. This also has the effect of forcing Lars to interact more with the townspeople. When Margo reveals to Lars she has broken up with her boyfriend, Lars agrees to go bowling with her while Bianca attends a school board meeting; later they are joined by more friends. The evening represents Lars beginning to bond with others and communicate more socially.

One morning, Gus and Karin are awakened by a panicked Lars, alarmed because Bianca is unresponsive, and she is rushed to the hospital. After Lars tells Gus and Karin that Bianca is dying, Berman explains that Lars alone has made these decisions about Bianca's future. The news spreads through town, and the neighbors come to realize what this means in relation to Lars' recovery. During a last visit to the lake, Gus and Karin witness a despondent Lars in the water with a "dying" Bianca.

Bianca's funeral is well-attended by the townspeople; after Bianca is buried, Lars and Margo linger at the gravesite. When Margo suggests they catch up with the others, Lars asks if she would like to take a walk. She accepts.


DIRECTOR(s): Craig Gillespie







Ryan Gosling (Lars Lindstrom)
Emily Mortimer (Karin)
Paul Schneider (Gus)
Kelli Garner (Margo)
Patricia Clarkson (Dr. Dagmar Berman)
Lauren Ash (Holly)
R. D. Reid (Reverend Bock)
Nancy Beatty (Mrs. Gruner)
Doug Lennox (Mr. Hofstedter)
Joe Bostick (Mr. Shaw)
Liz Gordon (Mrs. Schindler)
Nicky Guadagni (Mrs. Petersen)
Karen Robinson (Cindy)
Maxwell McCabe-Lokos (Kurt)
Billy Parrott (Erik)
Boyd Banks (Russell)

Alec McClure (Steve)
Sally Cahill (Deb)
Angela Vint (Sandy)
Liisa Repo-Martell (Laurel)
Darren Hynes (Moose)
Víctor Gómez (Hector)
Tommy Chang (Nelson)
Arnold Pinnock (Baxter)
Joshua Peace (Jerry)
Aurora Browne (Lisa)
Tannis Burnett (Nurse Amy)
Lindsey Connell (Victoria)
Aaron Ferguson (Choir Member #1)
Danna Howe (Choir Member #2)
Annabelle Torsein (Choir Member #3)

LINKS / RATINGS (%)      
73 72 76 84
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Updated - 31/03/2024

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