By: David Combest
February 13, 2013
When trying to find a romantic movie to review, I couldn’t go to the theatre. There was nothing that would fit this issue’s “Valentine’s Day theme”. “Warm Bodies” would have been somewhat cold and we can all guess how it would end. Faced with this, I had to find a movie that had a little more originality to it. Wanting to write about something that was a little bit quirkier, I decided to review “Lars and the Real Girl”.
Before he was the driver from the blockbuster film “Drive” (which in itself could be a romantic film) Ryan Gosling was Lars Lindstrom, a loner who lives in the converted garage behind his brother’s house. Lars’ sister-in-law is constantly trying to bring Lars out of his shell by inviting him to the house for dinner. When Lars does accept he is painfully awkward and quiet, there is a sense that he is eager to get back to his garage.
One day, out of the blue, Lars breaks his character, announcing that he is going to have a visitor come stay with him, a missionary named Bianca, whom he met via the internet. Lars’ brother and his wife are overjoyed to hear that Lars has finally interacted with someone and they prepare to meet her. They are shocked when Lars shows up with a life-like doll in a wheel chair. He explains that she is of Brazilian and Danish descent and speaks with her in casual conversation. Lars’ family is worried about his mental state and that is when the film takes off.
This premise may seem like a stretch for a “romantic movie,” and you might be wondering why I didn’t just pay the money to see “Warm Bodies” but this movie really does have a romantic tone to it. Without giving too much away, there is in fact a real girl, that is to say a human who has feelings for Lars and this relationship too is incorporated beautifully within the story. The movie is a comedy-drama (and romance), so there are many scenes that will make you chuckle and yet there are also many scenes that will make you feel a mild sadness (as all romantic movies do).
Gosling gives a great performance as Lars, a character that is a kindhearted person, just very introverted. The movie has an even flow to it as we watch Lars take Bianca out on dates and speak with her as if she were alive. It is quirky enough that it will be funny and unique, but not so quirky that it seems surreal. It’s an offbeat comedy-drama-romance that doesn’t play on cheap jokes or empty drama; instead it has a message of hope and goodwill. If you’re looking for a romantic movie to watch in preparation for Valentine’s Day, “Lars and the Real Girl” would be the one to see. Don’t be surprised when you find yourself smiling from ear-to-ear when the credits roll.