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LARS AND THE REAL GIRL

Director: CRAIG GILLESPIE

U.S.A. • 2007 • COLOUR • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 106 MIN


NOW HERE’S SOMETHING YOU DON’T SEE EVERY DAY: A STORY ABOUT A LONELY MAN AND HIS BLOW-UP DOLL PLAYED NOT FOR SNIDE LAUGHTER BUT AS A TOUCHING FABLE OF THE RESTORATIVE POWERS OF HUMAN AFFECTION.
Barely recognisable as the white racist from The Believer, Ryan Gosling cements his enterprising reputation with his turn as Lars—an Office worker so painfully shy he even ducks out of dinner with his caring brother Gus and sister-in-law Karin (Paul Schneider and Emily Mortimer). A chance glimpse of a crass work colleague’s web-surfing prompts a change in his life however, and the arrival of new companion ‘Bianca’—who, Lars explains, is of Brazilian and Danish stock, a paraplegic, and very religious (so she sleeps alone in his sibling’s spare room). Since having Bianca by his side instantly makes Lars more confident, Gus and Karin aren’t quite sure how to react, and the advice of Patricia Clarkson’s therapist is simply to go with the flow and let Lars work through his . . . issues. Of course the sheer incongruity of ‘Bianca’ taking her place in the small-town community generates a certain wry humour, yet the film remains determined to treat Lars with the same caring support he’s afforded by his nearest and dearest. Writer Nancy Oliver (who cut her teeth on TV’s Six Feet Under) was Oscar-nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category for her work here, and the way this tall tale holds its nerve and stands up for thinking the best of people is both refreshing and ultimately rather affecting. A striking one-off. —Trevor Johnston.

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