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LARS and the Real Girl

...is the title of a 2008 movie shown last month in an outdoor temporary theatre that looked like this, right outside the City Library:

Of course this was daytime, where you sit is on those twelve concrete steps built into the space between two buildings, holds maybe 960. I was in the first row, they had to hold the screen up with a truck from behind it:

There was a video-jockey and over his shoulder looked lkike this at 8:14PM:

The preshow involved none other than CHUCK BERRY, and the BEACH BOYS in another clip: wtf were they doing fifty years later on the other side of the Atlantic??

The screen actually looked like this, this shot is of "Eldorado", which was on the night after Lars, when I'd brought my cam. LARS was in English with Dutch subtitles and I wanted to listen and watch the show instead of taking pics:

Lars Lindstrom is a 27-year-old with a boring office job. He goes to work, comes home, goes to bed, gets up again, goes to work. Totally non-social. Then one day he meets Bianca over the net. He decides to meet her in person and brings her home, and his whole life changes. He decides to take her out to eat and to meet his family and to get her to volunteer in the community.

Bianca, however, shows up at his room in a wooden box. Bianca is a life-size plastic doll. About 5-4 with black hair.

The film is a bittersweet exploration of delusion and it works on many levels. Basically the community comes to accept Bianca and Lars's delusion; his brother and sister-in-law, who's pregnant, take him to a shrink who treats Bianca as ill, while gently starting to heal Lars. He's afraid of being touched and goes into a panic attack about it. They work this out together, bit by bit. His brother wants to confront him and just flat-out tell him that Bianca is not real. The pdoc: "Go ahead, but he won't believe you." So the brother, Gus, does. And she's right... he just smiles. As Bianca is moved out into the world, Lars gradually comes into contact with more people and after a time Bianca gets "sick". The shrink points out: "He's making all the decisions. HE's gonna decide how and when, or if, Bianca gets well."

One of the best lines in the screenplay is from Emily Mortimer, who plays the sister-in-law: "Don't you understand? Why can't you see? We wash Bianca, put her to bed, get her up, change her clothes, feed her, carry her all around... She goes everywhere, she has lots of friends, volunteers at the hospital, and we're doing it all for YOU!" Doing it out of love and concern for him.

Gradually, little by little, Lars makes the emotional move to Margie, who's a real-life co-worker at his office who has always wanted to date him, and when Bianca "dies" she is given a funeral and Margie waits at the gravesite so they can go for a walk: it's his idea.

This is a success on so many levels... investigating what reality means to you and to others; whose point-of-view is the "real" one for you; the comic moments when Lars introduces his new gf to others and they realize she's a doll, the looks on their faces are beyond description at first, and he just smiles because he knows she's real; and the whole idea that the community rallies around to help him make progress out of his delusion. Incredible warmth. Is Bianca real or is Margie? To whom and when?

Mike Gillespie co-wrote and directed, Patricia Clarkson plays the pdoc, Ryan Gosling plays Lars, and Bianca plays herself.

This could so easily have slid into cliche' and formula tripe. But it doesn't. The actors are magnificent.

Please go visit Lars in this movie when you can. There's something there for you.

Says Brad on the Internet.


kiota too late for the stars
Moonfire Marion Bridge / Brad

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