Lars and the Real Girl is a good movie, but it could have been a great one. While watching the film, you can't help but think "just change that, add that..." Presto! A Classic Film.
This indie film was directed by Craig Gillespie (director of Mr. Woodcock) and written by Nancy Oliver (Six Feet Under). The plot centers around a young man named Lars Lindstrom (played by Ryan Gosling). Lars is an awkward loner who buys a sex doll online and proceeds to involve himself and his town in his straightforward delusion that the Bianca (played by the sex doll) is his Brazilian girlfriend.
The town where Lars lives decides to play along with his delusion and treat Bianca as a respected member of the community. This is an interesting idea, one that could have had a lot of laughs and intrigue. The film is played very straight and realistically as the various people in the community interact with Lars and the doll. Patricia Clarkson plays the town doctor who is "treating" Bianca while she talks to Lars about this psychological problems. Paul Schneider and Emily Mortimer play Lars' brother and sister-in-law who at first are mortified with Lars' delusion, but then eventually accept Bianca as well and treat her with love and compassion.
The movie is humourous at times as it is indeed funny to see people seriously interacting with a sex doll. The movie doesn't try to be humorous. On the contrary, it seriously examines the life and society around Lars. However, there is one serious issue. The movie never explains why the community is made up of such understanding and sensitive citizens who treat Lars with such compassion. Yes, I know that people in small towns can often be very nice. However, in this film EVERYONE was understanding and nice to Lars. Everyone accepted the sex doll as his girlfriend. There was no backstory to explain this sensitivity towards Lars. I kept waiting to hear how the Lars character had saved 10 drowning children.
I kept waiting for the scene in the film where the town bullies or thugs beat up Lars and take turns having sex with Bianca. This also never happened. The young thugs in the town as well were sensitive and caring towards Lars.
Nancy Oliver, please, give us something to explain this. Or maybe you never have been to a small town...