3 Stars Movies

Guess what’s coming to dinner in Lars and the Real Girl

Lars and the Real Girl is warm, funny, and moving, but felt a little “screenplay” to me. Aside from the indie film cliche of The Small Town (which affords an isolated community of eccentrics and an economically small cast), it seems to be a precisely workshopped exploration of a simple compelling premise: a man falls in love with a sex doll (and yes, these particular models are, uh… real). Even Better That the Real Thing?

However, the fine script and performances really do sell the unlikely conceit. Ryan Gosling makes a potentially unappealing character very sympathetic, and indie queen Patricia Clarkson is so sublimely calm (watch her respond to each outrageous development in Lars’ life with a blink and a pause) that I suspect she would make a great shrink in real life.

If I were in a screenwriting class workshopping this script, I think perhaps I might point out one missing aspect: we see the town pull together to support Lars, but would they do so for just any citizen? I’m not sure there’s a sense of why they’re especially protective of Lars in particular.

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