Sunday, August 17, 2008

REVIEW: Lars and the Real Girl

Lars and the Real Girl

Year: 2007
Director: Craig Gillespie
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, Paul Schneider, Kelli Garner, Patricia Clarkson
Distributor: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
MPAA: Rated PG-13

Lars and the Real Girl is a film that I have been dieing to see. Its been on my "to do list", but I have been so busy that I simply have forgotten about it. The film itself has been very limited in terms of release. Hardly any theaters around my place carried this film. Its one of those low budget films that not everyone sees when its released in theaters, but they end up discovering it when its released on DVD. Its a shame that this film hasn't been getting the much attention it deserves. I decided to check it out since its been getting very great reviews.

Plot Outline:
Lars Lindstrom (Ryan Gosling) becomes so lonely in his own little world that under a delusion he orders a high-priced sex doll. The only problem is that she's not real - she's a sex doll Lars ordered off the Internet. But sex is not what Lars has in mind, but rather a deep, meaningful relationship.

This is a movie that could have easily gone wrong or suck balls. I mean a movie about someone falling in love with a sex doll? I know most people might think this is plain stupid just from reading the plot outline, but it honestly isn't. The plot is very interesting and deeply satisfying. Sure it does start off somewhat slow and their are some funny moments here and their, but just give it time. The characters that we are given are all lovable and enjoyable. Their wasn't one person that I found to be annoying or distracting. Director Craig Gillespie does a wonderful job of making us appreciate this sad yet loving story between a man and a doll. Its really hard for a person like me to cry during a certain scene. Its not because I don't have any emotion, its just that I'm a tough person and crying is somewhat of a last resort for me. Their have only been two movies that I know of where I have actually cried because of a certain part. The first was the 1994 sleeper hit, When a Man Loves a Woman and the other was the popular 2004 film, The Notebook. It looks like I can add another to that list because Lars and the Real Girl does have a few scenes that managed to shed some tears in my eyes. The films beautiful story is very heartwarming and delightful. It mixes the right amount of comedy with a good amount of loving.

Ryan Gosling plays as Lars Lindstrom and he gives a fantastic performance that I simply loved. Gosling is a wonderful actor that brought out the sincerity and loneliness of the character Lars. Its about time they give this guy an Oscar because he really puts on a show. Emily Mortimer plays as Karin and she too is great. I enjoyed her presence and didn't think she was as annoying as she was inthe 2006 film, The Pink Panther. Paul Schneider plays as Lars's brother, Gus. I enjoyed his work here and thought he was pretty funny. He tends to ask questions that the viewers are wondering about and this some how makes him connect to us. Kelli Garner plays as Margo who secretly has a crush on Lars at the beginning of the film. I also enjoyed her role in this film and thought she belonged in this film. She makes a good person to play the love interest opposite Gosling. We also have the wonderful Patricia Clarkson playing as a therapist named Dagmar. I thought she played this part pretty good and I also enjoyed her in the film.

The visual look of the film is great. The film was just released last year so its source is an excellent shape. I didn't notice any film grain and the image seemed pretty smooth. The color palette is slightly muted to go with the cold setting the film was filmed at. We still get some scenes that still show a good amount of colors mostly on the clothes that people wear. Black levels are great and the darker scenes seem dark. Flesh tones are perfect and have that warm feeling to them that most have come to expect. Detail is surprisingly great for a low budget film like this. Since we don't have much going on in terms of action, everything tends to look great. We get many close up shots of different faces for each character and they are all nicely detailed.

The film features a charming soundtrack that is just fantastic. Composer David Torn composes a wonderful score that goes so well with the film. Its very well made and used very effectively. I had it stuck in my head after I finished seeing the movie. We also get many of other music that is mostly comprised of sweet melody and violin. These too sound great and go well with the films lovable story. Bass is pretty much on the downside and it shouldn't come off as a surprise considering the type of film it is and its low budget. Theirs absolutely nothing in the film that would even call for much bass so what we do have here is already fine enough. Its not great, but it will work.

Lars and the Real Girl is a heartwarming film that I absolutely loved. The films story is creative and very interesting. This could have easily stunk and yet it doesn't it. The cast is great and Gosling should have won an Oscar by now. The visual look of the film is full of nice colors and good amount of detail. The soundtrack is pure and loving. It goes so well with the films story and its very nicely used. Theirs really not that many movies out their that I give such high praise for, but this is one of them. I simply loved this film and can easily recommend it if your alittle patient with a films story and if you have an open mind. Even though the film came out last year, this is simply one of the best films I have seen this year.

Grade: A-


T.S. said...

Great review of Lars. I still haven't seen this yet, although it ended up on a couple of my friends' Top 10/25 of 07 lists. I'm still going to wait for it to arrive in the campus library, but with your recommendation I might grab it upon its arrival.

Thanks for stopping by Screen Savour, too.

Jaccstev said...

Great review Farzan. Gosling subtle portrayal of the socially awkward Lars is truly endearing and as his relationships gradually develop, seeing his character grow is a joy to behold.

Mitch Harper said...

I have waivered on seeing this film a few times but never decided to give it a look. Now that I have seen your review and the high praise you have given it I'm definitely gonna check it out. Looks like a fun one.

CruizD said...

Nice review.

I was meant to see this when it hit cinemas in South Africa but never got the chance.

Matt Cyganik said...

Awesome insight, Farzan. I was supposed to see this in a sneak preview screening but couldn't get down to it. Hopefully it'll go on a DVD sale soon.

Again, good review buddy.