Lars and the Real Girl reviews

Reza
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Postby Reza » Thu Aug 14, 2008 7:23 am

Hustler wrote:
Big Magilla wrote:Hustler, I agree with you as my DVD review indicates.

http://www.oscarguy.com/DVD/08-April.html

You know, I believe that deep in our sensitive area we all carry in some way little pieces of "Lars".

We sure do!

Gosling should have been nominated.

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Postby Hustler » Thu Aug 14, 2008 7:08 am

OscarGuy wrote:Waiting for Pen or Flipp to comment about wanting pieces of "Lars" actor Ryan Gosling deep in their sensitive areas. ;)

Oh no! It had a serious meaning! Anyway, smart association.

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Postby OscarGuy » Thu Aug 14, 2008 6:34 am

Waiting for Pen or Flipp to comment about wanting pieces of "Lars" actor Ryan Gosling deep in their sensitive areas. ;)
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Postby Hustler » Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:51 pm

Big Magilla wrote:Hustler, I agree with you as my DVD review indicates.

http://www.oscarguy.com/DVD/08-April.html

Magilla, I´m glad that we share the same opinion regarding this film. You know, I believe that deep in our sensitive area we all carry in some way little pieces of "Lars".

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Postby Big Magilla » Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:01 pm

Hustler, I agree with you as my DVD review indicates.

http://www.oscarguy.com/DVD/08-April.html

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Postby Hustler » Wed Aug 13, 2008 10:42 pm

Hi guys, I´ve just seen this movie today. You know, I´m coming from the third world and this an indie, so, luckily it was released after all.
The first comment that I want to express is that I was so moved by the film, the fragrance that the movie exhaled was so strong and powerful that I didn´t deal with "unconvincing" situations as Sabin depicted in his post.
IMO Gillespie succeded by creating an intense atmosphere in which love was so pure. Once you are taken by the proposal everything could be accepted, even Lars dialogues with Bianca as an effective part of his delusions.
The surprise factor is the community attitude towards Lars and here lies the impressive concept of Oliver´s script: Love, respect.
Perhaps the secret of this proposal is the easy way that Oliver found in offering us the chance to identify with Lars and his need for affection.
The cast is riveting including the always brilliant Clarkson. And the music is fantastic.

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Postby Sabin » Sat Oct 20, 2007 12:42 pm

Rather bleh. The makers of the film know exactly what to make of Bianca the "real girl" in question (unless of course whole movement refers to his delayed courtship of kindred oddball Margo, Kelli Garner) but not of Lars. I'm not sure what is less convincing: Lars' neuroses and their physical "tic" manifestations, or Lars' conversations with Bianca. For much of the film's duration, I thought that Lars was simply putting people on and trying to see what they would do when faced with such an absurd situation. That would account for Gosling's half-baked performance. He's intermittently quite good but as a whole his performance is facile and unconvincing, perhaps the product of bad directing; after all, Guillespe did direct 'Mr. Woodcock' AND it's a completely sophomoric yet understandable move on his behalf to not really want to get into Lars and just focus on those around him.

The supporting cast is excellent. Paul Schneider, who has never impressed me much before this year, turns in his second revelatory performance after 'The Assassination of Jesse James'. Emily Mortimer is lovely as also. Patricia Clarkson takes a woefully underwritten and chichéd role of a barren, widowed family practicioner-turned-therapist and makes her three dimensional (she's fantastic, even by Patricia Clarkson's standards). And Kelli Garner is an adorable oddball, and totally believable as someone who'd fall for Lars. Outside of the pleasures provided by the supporting cast, the film is simplistic, mechanical, and confused.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Postby Mister Tee » Tue Sep 25, 2007 12:47 pm

Thanks, FilmFan. I'm actually kind of run down after only two days back (especially since the pain of physical therapy is keeping me from getting great nights' sleeps), but I'm happy just to be pointed in the right direction.

By the way -- excited about the Cubs yet? I guess it's time we start up a Baseball playoffs thread.

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Postby FilmFan720 » Mon Sep 24, 2007 4:21 pm

Glad to hear you are back up and around again Tee.
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Postby Mister Tee » Mon Sep 24, 2007 12:12 pm

And, Hollywood Reporter.

Lars and the Real Girl

Bottom Line: Unexpectedly tender dramedy is far more family-friendly than it sounds.By John DeFore
Sep 12, 2007

Ryan Gosling manages to depict Lars' impairment without turning it into an ingratiating "affliction" performance.
Toronto International Film Festival

TORONTO -- With an outrageous premise that proves to be less extreme than it sounds, "Lars and the Real Girl" emerges as a deep, sweet-hearted study not only of one lonely character but also of the community that supports him. A small but passionate following is assured; smart marketing that sells the film for what it is could make it a niche favorite.

Ryan Gosling stretches himself further here as Lars, a 27-year-old who has slowly, for no evident reason, retreated into a shell. Attention from others scares him; physical contact is literally painful.

When a porn-loving co-worker casually mentions the Real Doll, a realistic, anatomically correct silicone mannequin sold as a sex toy, Lars covertly orders one, then surprises viewers by using it not for its intended purpose but as a public stand-in for the girlfriend everyone thinks he ought to have.

The introduction is riotously awkward, with Lars bringing "Bianca" to dinner at his brother and sister-in-law's house. They're predictably disturbed, but the town doctor-psychologist (Patricia Clarkson) convinces them that there's nothing to gain, and much to lose, from telling a delusional patient that his mind's creation isn't real.

Astonishingly, the family persuades other members of this small, ice-bound community to accept Lars' imaginary friend. Shades of "Harvey," people extend to Bianca the good will they have for Lars, a gentle man whose life just hasn't been working out. They give Bianca jobs and involve her in social activities that conveniently give Lars time away from her; in one uproarious moment, we see the sex toy propped up in a classroom, "reading" a storybook to rapt children via a cassette player.

Paul Schneider (in his second film involving "Real Girls") is a standout as older brother Gus, who left an unpleasant home as quickly as he could and now suspects that Lars would be less damaged if he'd stuck around. Schneider's confusion -- his struggle to do the right thing despite fearing that Lars is a hopeless case -- is in its way as affecting as the more internal struggle Gosling has to convey.

Gosling's job is the harder one, though, and he manages to depict Lars' impairment without turning it into an ingratiating "affliction" performance. He supplies most of the movie's edge in scenes where some part of Lars is aware that he's around people who think he's insane.

But those situations grow rare quickly in a film where even Gus' burly co-workers start to quiz him, sincerely, about the distinction between hallucinations and delusions. (Showing that he cares enough to do his homework, Gus offers that one is "false perception" and another "false belief.")

This strange story resolves itself with one of the most unexpectedly tearjerking scenes in recent memory, in which the filmmakers' attitude toward their characters -- their unwillingness to make them the butt of jokes that would be easy to indulge -- is as touching as what's onscreen. "Lars" might at first sound like a movie you wouldn't want your kids to see, but it has a heart of gold.

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Postby Mister Tee » Mon Sep 24, 2007 10:52 am

Finally back at work, I can access the Variety reviews.

Lars and the Real Girl
By ALISSA SIMON


An MGM release of a Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, MGM Pictures production. (International sales: Kimmel Entertainment, New York.) Produced by Kimmel, John Cameron, Sarah Aubrey. Executive producers, William Horberg, Bruce Toll, Peter Berg. Directed by Craig Gillespie. Screenplay, Nancy Oliver.

Lars - Ryan Gosling
Karin - Emily Mortimer
Gus - Paul Schneider
Dagmar - Patricia Clarkson
Margo - Kelli Garner
Mrs. Gruner - Nancy Beatty
Cindy - Karen Robinson

When a socially awkward small-town bachelor introduces an anatomically correct silicone doll as his girlfriend, the local community ultimately responds with surprising compassion in "Lars and the Real Girl." Helmer Craig Gillespie's sweetly off-kilter film plays like a Coen brothers riff on Garrison Keillor's "Lake Woebegone" tales, defying its lurid premise with a gentle comic drama grounded in reality. Although well-acted by a name cast, the offbeat subject matter and idiosyncratic tone make it arthouse material. Skedded for a limited release Stateside, it should have a longer life in ancillary, and could serve as a niche item for offshore distribs.
The underlying theme of "Six Feet Under" scribe Nancy Oliver's script -- how a damaged person comes to terms with past traumas and grows into adult responsibilities -- may feel familiar, but what's fresh and charming is the way the characters surrounding the protagonist also grow as they help him through his crisis.

Set in an unspecified, snowbound place in the northern Midwest that feels a lot like Minnesota (although pic was shot in Ontario), the plot centers on 27-year-old oddball Lars Lindstrom (Ryan Gosling). Raised by a taciturn father after his mother died in childbirth, Lars has some major emotional baggage: He prefers to avoid human contact and can't stand being touched.

Living in the garage apartment behind his childhood home, now occupied by his older brother Gus (Paul Schneider) and pregnant sister-in-law Karin (Emily Mortimer), Lars tries to avoid the married couple's constant invitations. His social life consists primarily of attending church and listening to the porn and action-figure fantasies of a co-worker. At the office, he scrupulously avoids the overtures of flirtatious colleague Margo (Kelli Garner).

Karin's pregnancy seems to awaken a deep-seated fear of abandonment in Lars, expressed by the unexpected materialization of a girlfriend, Bianca, whom he wants his brother and sister-in-law to host. She's a wheelchair-bound Brazilian-Danish missionary on sabbatical to experience the world. And she's also a custom-made, life-size plastic doll ordered from the Internet.

Horrified by their new houseguest and Lars' apparent insanity, Gus and Karin take the couple to family doctor-psychologist Dagmar (Patricia Clarkson). Believing Lars' delusion indicates he's working something out, Dagmar advises his worried family to go with the flow.

Tenderly depicting his characters' human foibles with low-key visual humor, Gillespie never condescends or goes for an easy joke. Oliver's pithy dialogue also avoids obvious yucks.

All the perfs are fine, with nerdily outfitted Gosling sympathetic in a role very different from what he's essayed of late, and Schneider, Mortimer and Clarkson impressively three-dimensional. Among the supporting cast, Nancy Beatty makes an impression as a plainspoken neighbor, as does Karen Robinson as office receptionist Cindy.

Tech package is strong, with spot-on costumes. The eventual absence of Lars' blanket-cum-scarf beautifully signals character development.

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Postby Mister Tee » Sat Sep 15, 2007 7:11 pm

Screen Daily

Lars And The Real Girl
Peter Brunette in Toronto
11 Sep 2007 17:46


Dir: Craig Gillespie USA 2007. 106 mins.
Ryan Gosling, one of the finest actors currently working in American independent cinema, is once again outstanding in this offbeat but exceptionally accomplished film. Starting off as funny and quirky, Lars and the Real Girl gradually becomes a riveting yet never heavy-handed psychological portrait of a lost soul who thinks no one loves him.

Directed by the Australian-born Craig Gillespie, the film is studded with uniformly terrific performances, and should be a modest but steady winner in all territories. If handled correctly, and if audiences can get past the superficially outlandish aspects of the plot, the film could conceivably become this year's Napoleon Dynamite or Garden State.

Gosling plays Lars, a gentle but emotionally stunted man in his late twenties, who one day has a life-size -- anatomically correct -- sex doll delivered to the garage he lives in behind the house occupied by his elder brother Gus (Schneider) and his pregnant wife Karin (Mortimer). The problem is, he seems to think the doll is a real woman named Bianca. A laid-back local doctor named Dagmar (Clarkson), who doubles as a psychiatrist, is called in to help and decides that the best way to handle Lars' delusion is by going along with it.

After a lot of laughs and a wonderful string of inspired sight gags are wrung from this almost surrealist premise, gradually the small town folk begin to accept Bianca, who is pushed around in a wheelchair, as a valued member of the community.

If the scriptwriter Nancy Oliver had left things there, however, soon enough the film would have run out of steam. Just at the moment viewers may begin to wonder where the story can possibly go next, a convincing and occasionally even moving psychological study of Lars is introduced that takes us satisfyingly to the film's conclusion. Nevertheless, the filmmakers are savvy enough to know that the laughs have to keep coming as well, and the fish-out-of-water aspect of the basic premise is periodically re-invoked to keep us fully entertained. By the end, we and the townsfolk come to love Bianca as a person yet all the while realising at some level that she's still only a doll.

The four central performances are brilliantly carried off. Gosling's quirky gestures always seem simultaneously arresting and completely natural, while Schneider, who is also excellent in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, more than holds his own. The British actress Emily Mortimer, who was so moving in 2004's Dear Frankie, provides the emotional centre of the film, while indie goddess Patricia Clarkson is drolly humorous without drawing inordinate attention to herself.

The dialogue is witty and sparkling and the comic timing impeccable. And once its comic credentials have been firmly validated, the film can go on to explore such potentially weighty topics as abandonment, the nature of manhood, and the warmth of human touch.


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