Tuesday 18th January 2022

Lars and the Real Girl (12A)
Directed by: Craig Gillespie
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz

Ryan Gosling is an actor you probably haven't heard of, even though he is extremely talented. His breakout role was in the saccharine (but still good) romance The Notebook and since then he's chosen a series of low profile but very respectable roles. Whatever he's been doing though, it's clearly paid off, because in this indie film, Gosling gives a superb performance.

Come on, we've all fallen in love with a girl who turned out to be an internet sex doll
Come on, we've all fallen in love with a girl who turned out to be an internet sex doll

He plays the titular Lars, a young man from small town America who is basically a nice guy, but a little bit weird. His mother died giving birth to him, which has obviously affected him enormously and when the film starts he's already become very insular. Essentially, he just wants to be left alone.

However, things soon get a whole lot weirder. Lars buys a fairly realistic sex doll from the internet and begins to treat it like his girlfriend – including creating a detailed back story for her and introducing her to his family and everyone in their small town. Poor old Lars is having a full blown mental delusion.

The strange thing is, the rest of his community cares so much for Lars, that they go along with his delusion, hoping he will eventually (with the help of the local doctor) become mentally healthy again.

As you can imagine, there's a lot of humour in this film, and it exclusively comes from the premise that everybody in town is treating an inanimate sex doll as a real person, from having conversations with it to getting it a part time job at the shopping mall.

However, there is a more serious side to the film too. Gosling plays his part so well, that you really do feel for the damaged Lars. I can't praise his performance enough – from his nervous ticks to his awkwardness around real people, Gosling has nailed every aspect of the character.

My criticism is that amongst the humour of the bizarre situation, the serious side of the film gets lost. The film as a whole is unusual and weird, but also fairly predictable and it feels like it could have been put together a little better. It gets extra marks for originality and the main performance, but ultimately it's not that great.

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Length: 106 minutes
Certificate: 12A
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 21st March 2008

Top Five Rating: 60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0% (60.0%)
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