There are some people that find it excruciatingly painful to interact with other people. Some of these people turn all their attention to helping animals, while others might take a different route. What happens when a man falls in love with an anatomically correct sex doll? We find out in Lars and the Real Girl.
Lars and the Real Girl is a 2007 romantic comedy/drama that was written by Nancy Oliver, directed by Craig Gillespie, and stars Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, Paul Schneider, Kelli Garner and Patricia Clarkson. But the star of the show is a sex doll named Bianca.
Granny has been around for a long time, and I thought I had seen it all…but I never believed that sex dolls really existed until I saw the film and did my research. Real Doll is a life size sex doll manufactured by Abyss Creations, and sold worldwide. The dolls, both female and male, are flexible and have the equipment to function as sex partners. Think Ken and Barbie with benefits. The fact that Bianca is a sex toy might have made this a film comprised totally of cheap laughs, but thanks to the performance of Ryan Gosling, we are treated to a love story.
Lars Lindstrom (Ryan Gosling) has some issues dealing with real people. He and his older brother. Gus (Paul Schneider) lost their mother when Lars was born. The father, who was overcome with grief, became a distant and unemotional parent. Gus left home as soon as he was old enough, but Lars, left behind, soon developed some mental issues. Lars doesn’t like to be touched. It makes his skin burn. Lars has difficulty interacting with his brother, his coworkers, and even the members of his church. Lars is a very lonely man, though his brother and his pregnant sister-in-law, Karin (Emily Mortimer) do all in their power to include them in their lives. Lars is left to function in the world without truly being a part of his surroundings.
After Gus and Lars’ dad dies, Gus moves back home. Gus and Karin live in the main house, while Lars prefers to live in the small cabin in the backyard. One day, while at work, a co-worker shows Lars a website that features Real Dolls.
Who would have imagined that a life-sized vinyl doll would have a family, and the entire town wrapped around her little plastic finger? Bianca, according to Lars, is a paraplegic missionary descended from Brazilian and Danish stock. Gus and Karin, at first excited to learn that Lars has a girlfriend whom he’d met online, are shocked speechless when Lars brings Bianca to dinner. They are forced to go along with Lars’ fantasy because the alternative would have disastrous results. They seek the aid of the family doctor, Dagmar (Patricia Clarkson). Dagmar advises Gus and Karin to go along with Lars’ belief that Bianca is real to allow the doctor to help Lars.
Dagmar tells Lars that Bianca has low blood pressure and needs to come to her office on a weekly basis. While the doctor treats Bianca, she gets to talk to Lars. Lars, on his part, treats Bianca with respect and asks his brother to allow Bianca to stay in the house because it is the proper thing to do as Lars and Bianco are not married yet.
Conclusion and Spoilers
Lars, who is emotionally stunted and yearns to be loved, has picked the perfect girlfriend. Through Bianca, Lars begins to come out of his shell. Lars takes Bianca to events that he would normally avoid. Lars is slowly connecting to people, including his female co-worker who has a serious crush on Lars.
Remember that I said this film is a love story. It is. Not between a man and a doll. No! It is a love story of a brother, and an entire town, who decide to accept Bianca as a real person in order to help a young man in serious emotional and mental turmoil. To watch the townsfolk welcome Bianca into their fold and their daily activities is enlightening to say the least. Some of the church ladies even have Bianca involved in volunteering for the community. Eventually, Lars gets jealous because Bianca is having more fun than him. When Bianca gets desperately ill, Lars must decide her fate…and his.
I watch this film every time it is on HBO. I know the story by heart, but it’s like watching it for the first time. Lars and the Real Girl is about compassion, hope, friendship, and love.
There are a lot of lonely people out there. Isolated, most of the time, because of their shyness, or fear. They yearn to be seen, heard, and just recognized as something more than a face in the crowd. That is why I consciously smile and say hello to everyone I meet. That smile might just save someone’s life.