Lars And The Real Girl
A man riddled with social anxiety turns to a life size doll for affection.
The film “Lars And The Real Girl”, by Craig Gillespie, deals with three types of general conflicts: Man versus himself, man versus woman, and man versus society.
Man versus himself because Lars is the person creating the delusion, thus holding himself back from experiencing life.
Man versus woman because Lars, at the base of this journey, is unable to effectively identify and communicate with people, but more specifically, women.
Man versus society because the town must decide to accept or deny Lars and his peculiarity.
In terms of story structure it fits the Joseph Campbell eight step story structure.
1. A character is in a zone of comfort
Lars lives in the garage by himself. He is functional.
2. But they want something
Lars wants to be normal. More than being normal, he wants to feel loved.
3. They enter an unfamiliar situation
Lars buys a life size doll to be his girlfriend.
4. Adapt to it
Lars immediately deludes himself as the town plays along with the charade.
5. Gets what they wanted.
Lars and Bianca, the life size doll, have a seemingly great relationship. Lars is happy.
6. Pays a heavy price for it
Lars’s subconscious realizes he is sacrificing a real love with Margo for an artificial love with Bianca. He’s subconscious decides to kill Bianca off through a fake illness.
7. Then return to a familiar situation
With Bianca gone Lars and the rest of the town can go back to the way things were.
8. Having changed
Lars asks Margo to walk with him.
Ryan Gosling is amazing in the film. His quick, then elongated blinks were, to me, very well delivered and added a nice layer to the performance. In a non-articulate way of saying it, he pulled it off. I have a few friends with social anxiety and I could see similar traits within Lars.
Karin, Lar’s sister-in-law, was the character I identified most with. I felt the frustration in trying to get Lars to hang out and be around people. I’ve been in identical situations. It’s an impossible place to be for both parties.
The film was well worth watching. Gosling gets a lot of criticism for being an okay actor. I have never been apart of that opinion. He consistently shows me he is capable of showing us a vulnerability of humanity through the portrayal of different characters. I will say that, by far, my favorite performance of Gosling remains, and probably will always be, his portrayal of Dean in “Blue Valentine.” I could watch that movie another seven times, and still be absolutely in love with the performance and magic of capturing said moments. Keep on keeping on art people. I love it.
Spoiler Alert :)