Austin Film Festival Review: Lars and the Real Girl


Director:Craig Gillespie

Cast:Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson

Running Time:106.00


Lars Lindstrom is a loveable guy who has spent the last few years in near solitude. One day he invites his friend Bianca, whom he met on the internet, to visit him. Once introducing her to his brother Gus and sister-in-law Karen, Lars continues with dinner as if everything is normal. However, everything is not. Gus and Karen are in shock as they discover that Bianca isn't a friend at all. In fact she isn't even human. Instead she is a life-size doll that Lars has purchased on the internet and convinced himself to be a real, breathing, talking girl. After the shock has subsided, Gus and Karen feel it best to consult the family doctor who informs them that Lars has a delusion. The cure, going along with it until Lars himself chooses for it to end. As time goes by and the town adjusts to life with Bianca those around the loveable, often quiet plastic doll take on a whole new aroma as they travel an emotional journey and discovers understanding, acceptance, and ultimately love.

With the acting of Gosling and Clarkson overshadowing a struggling script, Lars and the Real Girl provides an emotional and inspirational story that will be adored by all.

The film's saving grace is its cast and their use of comedic timing. Gosling proves his versatility and plays Lars to perfection while Clarkson and Mortimer more than pull their own weight as key supporting players. On top of that, all three have great comedic timing as their dialogue flows causing you to question if the jokes are even really jokes. The delivery is so smooth and natural you have to wonder how much of it was actually written, as all three absorb their unique characters and bring them and their 'relationships' to life.

In addition to the acting the story was great. Not the scrip, but the story. Having a man in voluntary solitude subject himself to the brain powers of a delusion, all while involving a 'sex doll' that he orders online cries out 'hilarious comedy' and immense potential comes to light. Unfortunately the idea didn't transfer to paper very effectively as the film did not live up to its full potential, instead played it safe and simple, lasting about twenty minutes too long, which together allowed for it to drag near the end.

However, the film was good. Gosling proved that his Academy Award nomination was no fluke by creating one of the most unique characters on screen all year. Mixing in some stellar supporting performances and some timely laughs, Lars and the Real Girl is worth your time, as the emotional journey will be tugging at your heart by credits end.


About Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis
I owe this hobby/career to the one and only Stephanie Peterman who, while interning at Fox, told me that I had too many opinions and irrelevant information to keep it all bottled up inside. I survived my first rated R film, Alive, at the ripe age of 8, it took me months to grasp the fact that Julia Roberts actually died at the end of Steel Magnolias, and I might be the only person alive who actually enjoyed Sorority Row…for its comedic value of course. While my friends can drink you under the table, I can outwatch you when it comes iconic, yet horrid 80s films like Adventures in Babysitting and Troop Beverly Hills. I have no shame when it comes to what I like, and if you have a problem with that, then we’ll settle it on the racquetball court. I see too many movies to actually win any film trivia contest, so don’t waste your first pick on me. My friends rent movies from my bookcase shelves, and one day I do plan to start charging. I long to live in LA, where my movie obsession will actually help me fit in, but for now I am content with my home in Austin. I prefer indies to blockbusters, Longhorns to Sooners and Halloween to Friday the 13th. I miss the classics, as well as John Ritter, and I hope to one day sit down and interview the amazing Kate Winslet.

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