Lars and the Real Girl

Ryan Gosling ("Fracture" and "The Notebook") is phenomenal! Once again he has found a character he can inhabit completely, a character that is flawed, sympathetic, funny, interesting and one we can really, really root for!

Lars is an anti-social, introverted and deeply troubled young man. He is employed in an office but has very little social interaction with his coworkers. He lives in a converted garage behind his brother and sister-in-law's comfortable big house on the outskirts of a small Midwestern town (the film actually was shot in Ontario). His sister-in-law, Karin, played by the wonderful Emily Mortimer ("Dear Frankie" and "Match Point") makes numerous attempts to invite him in to the main house for dinner, to go places with them and to otherwise act like "family." He is awkward, monosyllabic, and painfully shy.

One of his coworkers is looking at life-like sex toys on his computer at work and the next thing you know, Lars has a large box delivered to his garage apartment. Imagine the looks on his brother and sister-in-law's faces when he brings his wheelchair-bound "Russian" girlfriend, Bianca, into the main house to join them for dinner! He maintains that Bianca is very quiet because she is shy, and, because they aren't married, he asks if she can stay in the guest room upstairs in the main house, otherwise "people might talk." The sister-in-law readily agrees despite his brother's sputtered objections. She even offers to take her shopping for clothes!

Lars wants Bianca to have a physical exam because of the rigors of her recent trip, so he and Karin take her to a local doctor, played by Patricia Clarkson ("The Station Agent" and "Miracle"), who is a wise and wonderful woman. The looks on the faces of the other patients in the waiting room are priceless, particularly the little boy who finds himself happily sitting on Bianca's lap!

As the small town starts to percolate with rumor, gossip and snide remarks, an outspoken old biddy lays it on the line. She itemizes the peculiarities of the various "normal" individuals in their church group and starts the ball rolling. The upshot is, everyone in the town, church, mall, hairdressers, doctor's office, and day-care center, all accept Bianca, and go along with Lars's delusion, because he has always been a sweet-natured boy whom they all have loved. You will relish the scene where he gently administers delicate CPR to a coworker's little stuffed bunny!

As a result of Bianca's acceptance, he interacts more with the towns- people because he has to take her places, thus gradually he becomes better groomed, more verbal and more social...he even attends an office Christmas party (WITH Bianca!). You will love the scene of Bianca "dancing" with their befuddled but game host!

When his delusion starts to falter and suddenly he can't detect a pulse or breathing, they frantically call 911, forgetting for a time that this is not a living creature.

There are many delicious lines that went past my poor hearing that the audience heartily enjoyed so I'm positive I will LOVE the captions on the DVD!

This is heartwarming, human, humorous and delightfully entertaining. Ryan Gosling is completely convincing as a sweetly damaged young man looking for a deep, committed relationship and fumbling his own painful way to that end!