Lars And The Real Girl (2007)

THE SCOOP
Director: Craig Gillespie
Plot: A delusional young guy strikes up an unconventional relationship with a doll he finds on the Internet.

Genre: Comedy/Drama
Awards: Nom.for 1 Oscar - original screenplay
Runtime: 106min
Rating: PG for some sex-related content.

IN RETROSPECT

Young 27-year old Ryan Gosling is one of the hotter properties in American cinema for the last couple of years. From his breakthrough Oscar-nominated role as Dan Dunne in the drama Half Nelson, he has starred in the mystery thriller Fracture, and now the romantic comedy Lars And The Real Girl, in which he steadily establishes his capabilities as a lead actor in a completely different genre. Gosling's acting proficiency has never been doubted; he's a naturally gifted actor with a face that's adept in conveying varying degrees of emotions.

Lars And The Real Girl is a heartwarming tale of a social introvert, Lars Lindstrom (Gosling), who strikes a faithful relationship with a life-size doll bought from the internet. His affection for the doll is like a tight knot which cannot be untied, and is precisely the reason scenes with Lars and his 'girlfriend' are often hilarious (especially in the first-third of the film when Lars appears to be mentally unsound). As the film moves on, it becomes a sad study of a lonely man who longs for love, and how the community responds to his bizarre ways.

Apart from Gosling's fine performance, the other star of the show is Emily Mortimer who plays Lars' sister-in-law, Karin. The rest of the cast is ordinary, sometimes lacking the spark to ignite the film into more engaging proportions. The original score is another highlight and is one of the better outputs of 2007. Lars And The Real Girl is a soothing and sweet film, helped by smart marketing, and restrained direction by Craig Gillespie. It is a prompt reminder that love stories need not be crass and manipulative. Rather, Lars And The Real Girl is like a tasty film tonic, one that's filled with melting tenderness and with a poignant aftertaste.

GRADE: B+

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