Friday, November 16, 2007

Lars and the Real Girl

Went out tonight and saw Lars and the Real Girl at the indie theater downtown... It was well worth it.

The movie turned out to be much the way I expected it to be, which was a good thing. The beginning was a little rocky, and I worried over some of their pacing/narrative choices, but they smoothed it out and cleaned it up at the end and avoided some pitfalls and I think... I think it turned out Just Right.

For those who haven't seen the premise, a lonely recluse of a guy who has trouble dealing with his family and the people around him gets himself a Real Doll (not work safe!) for a girlfriend. The remarkable part of this story is that the small town he's in pulls together and supports his delusion. They treat "Bianca" like a real person, and by extension, they show their love and support for said recluse and his family, who are struggling through their own guilt over how to deal with some of his social awkwardness.

The movie was careful to make clear that there were deeper issues around his taking up a doll for a girlfriend besides him not being able to get a girlfriend. It was more along the lines of him dealing with a desperate need he had in a way that was emotionally and physically safe for him. This was why I was a little put-out by the ending, but not a lot. Worse would have been to do the birth/funeral simultaneously, and I think that would have ruined the point. The idea is to continue being afraid and to take the risk of real human companionship anyway.

Most of all, though, this was a movie about love, and that's what really got to me. The way everybody loved this guy, the way the town pulled together and showed their overwhelming acceptance of him for who he was. That kind of love and acceptance is something you don't see a lot.

Overall, a worthwhile little feel-good movie.

2 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

I just had to peek at the website -- I got a nice guffaw from the male doll -- posed there with remote in hand.

And then there was picture of him with the remote resting on his thigh and something else in his hand.

(The doll that looks underage was kind of disturbing, though.)

Kameron Hurley said...

Oh, they're all kind of disturbing... note that I'm advocating the movie, not the dolls. heh

The same movie could have been done with a regular mannequin, stuffed toy, etc. They used a Real Doll for the added titillation value. But it's still a way more effective, serious sort of movie than the one where that mannequin comes to life in a department store...

We, as a culture, have some obsessions with golems and statues coming to life, this idea that there's one perfect person out there just for us - the sort that can't talk back and exists only for us. The great thing they did in this movie was the town really did make "Bianca" into a "Real Girl" by giving her, effectively, a life outside of Lars's head.

She had her own "schedule" posted on the fridge; people took her to the hospital to "volunteer," and he ended up "arguing" with her... It was fascinating to watch the idea of the "perfect person" turned around so that the doll became no more or less easy to have a relationship with than a "real" person (except he could choose to stop the delusion at any time and let her pass away - again, I'm not advocating dolls her, and they still creep me out).

But having people accept her as real, experiencing a relationship that turned out to be no better or worse than a real one, ended up allowing him to realize that maybe relationships with real people weren't so scary after all.