Gosling delivers a real performance

Jenna Gerling

For some, finding true love begins outside of the box.

But for Lars Lindstrom (Ryan Gosling, The Notebook), the real start to love and resolution resides inside of one.

What could be positively absurd is instead sweet and endearing in Lars and the Real Girl, as delusional Lars believes his plastic, anatomically correct mail-order girlfriend, Bianca, is real.

She was raised by nuns, is half Danish and half Brazilian. She doesn’t care about superficial things and has nurse’s training. Bianca is a busy girl.

Not long after the community decides to help troubled Lars, the wheelchair-bound Bianca begins to make appearances at city council meetings, gets a job at a woman’s dress store and volunteers at the local hospital.

Nothing about this movie is generic. There are no repeated syrupy, sugary lines or scenes like in some of Gosling’s other predictable movies, and because of that, Gosling gave one of the best performances.

Before his girlfriend arrives via UPS, Lars is twitchy, socially awkward and entirely introverted. But after, he begins to unfold. He enjoys his family’s company and even begins to befriend coworker Margo (Kelli Garner, Thumbsucker) — someone he couldn’t even look at or speak to previously.

Director Craig Gillespie really allows us to get a sense of who the characters are. Lars’ brother, Gus (Paul Schneider, The Family Stone) tells us how he blames himself for his brother’s delusional behavior; after their mother died, he left his brother with their father, who was likewise introverted and depressed. Lars grew up alone with this behavior and in turn subsided into a life of solitary. We also learn that their mother died giving birth to Lars, which reveals the reasoning behind his actions toward women.

This funny drama is unique in all ways, and gives us an interesting look into the lives of some ordinary and some very extraordinary people. Dolls and all.

Contact all correspondent Jenna Gerling at [email protected].