Ryan Gosling has proven over the years that he can play any role offered to him and play it well. He has shown critics and fans alike that he can completely transform into the character he is playing and make you emotionally invested. He has done very well in dramas and ventures into comedy in Lars and the Real Girl. However, Gosling is able to make the plight of his character both make you laugh and feel deeply for his wish to connect with other people.
Lars and the Real Girl is about Lars Lindstrom, a lonely and socially inept man. Lars lives alone in a garage behind his brother’s house. Lars’ brother, Gus (Paul Schneider), and his wife, Karin (Emily Mortimer), do not know how to get Lars to open up or even enter their home. Gus feels that Lars just wants to be left alone, but Karin is completely against this and tries several times to get Lars to come inside to her home, even at the point of forcing him.
Lars works at an office, and one day, a coworker shows him a Web site that sells sex dolls. Out of a need to stop people from constantly worrying about him and from loneliness, Lars purchases a doll. He introduces the doll, named Bianca, to Gus and Karin with an elaborate story as if the doll is alive that leaves them shocked. Gus thinks that his brother has gone insane, while Karin suggests that they go along with it. They ultimately decide to take Lars to a psychologist (Patricia Clarkson), who tells them that Lars is suffering from a sort of delusion and that they should go along with until he hopefully awakes from it.
Lars’ community is turned upside down after the news of his delusion is known. Surprisingly, everyone decides to go along with Bianca being a real person. However, things begin to become complicated when Lars starts to develop feelings for Margo (Kelli Garner), a coworker who is interested in him.
Ryan Gosling delivers a hilarious and moving performance as Lars, a man who doesn’t know how to express himself to people and thus pushes everyone away and isolates himself. He ignores Margo, who is lonely and desperately tries to get his attention. Lars’ own loneliness proves to be too great for him, so he orders the sex doll in an attempt to fit in with everyone. Bianca becomes his solution to his lonely existence, but when Bianca starts to develop a life of her own, Lars finds himself questioning what kind of life he wants for himself. He sees the possibility of an intimate relationship with Margo but doesn’t know how to open himself up to start anything with her.
Lars and the Real Girl is a really funny and interesting depiction of the depths to which a man would go to connect with others. Lars’ inability to become close with anyone forces him to take desperate measures to do so. He creates a life for Bianca that shadows the one he wants to live. Eventually, real life starts to become worth investing in, and Lars has to decide whether to take part in it or continue to live in a fantasy world. This film does a remarkable job of showing that the life you want is worth taking that first step to attain it.