Actor Appreciation Week 1 Review: Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

Of all the movies being watched this week, surely Lars and the Real Girl takes the cake as the most bizarre. Gosling has never been an actor to shy away from a risk (2001’s The Believer being a prime example), and here it pays off perfectly. The premise may scare away a few no doubt, as Gosling plays a lonely man who purchases a sex doll who he insists is real and is his girlfriend. His family and friends must adapt to such a drastic situation. In actual fact though, despite the synopsis, it is an incredibly heartwarming film. To begin with the situation is played for laughs, but it quickly develops into a much more impressive (and important) analysis of the delusions of a lonely man, and how those around him help him through it. It’s never depressing though, only uplifting and charming, and never strays anywhere near the uncomfortableness that the title perhaps hints at. That’s certainly due to the performance of Gosling, who only a year before was acclaimed for his role in Half Nelson, and perhaps should have received more recognition for this particular movie than he eventually got. It’s arguably the best performance of his career thus far, bringing a real depth and believability to a character that could’ve very easily been misplayed and simply a joke. It’s simply a joy to watch.

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