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Lars and the Real Girl

by DeAnn Welker April 25, 2008 1:29 pm
Lars and the Real Girl

Lars and the Real Girl wasn't the most successful quirky semi-indie released last year (that honor goes to Juno, of course). But, for my money, this was the better one by a landslide. One of the primary reasons this one outpaces Juno is its darling little script -- which is completely unexpected and impossible to describe. (Try telling someone who's never heard of it that one of your favorite recent movies is about a guy who falls in love with what is essentially a sex doll, and how his family and community supports him by accepting her. Trust me; most people will scoff or laugh, just like Lars's brother in the film is worried everyone will do at him. This movie is sort of a movie buff's own version of the Real Doll, then, no?)

The second big reason to love this film is Ryan Gosling. I can't imagine another actor of his generation making me feel so strongly about a big, plastic doll. He brings so much genuine human emotion to the role, and if you can watch some of his more intensely emotional scenes without shedding a tear or two, you must be heartless ... or at least a stronger person than I am.

The special features here are few, precious few.

There's one deleted scene, which includes a written introduction from director Craig Gillespie. He explains that the scene comes after Lars goes bowling with Margo in the film. It's a short little moment between Lars and Bianca, which Gillespie tells us shows how conflicted Lars is over his relationship with Bianca. Ultimately, it was cut and not really missed, except by Gillespie, apparently.

Next up is a 10-minute featurette called "The Real Story of Lars and the Real Girl." It includes interviews with all of the major plays: actors, director, writer, and producers. Turns out screenwriter Nancy Oliver actually visited the website of Real Dolls; that's what inspired her to write this lovely tale of a man who can't interact with real humans, but finds a way to connect because of this doll. We learn some juicy tidbits here about Gosling choosing to really immerse himself in this role, to the point that he was living with Bianca (the doll) in his mom's basement and then staying in Lars's house on set.

Another featurette, "A Real Leading Lady," is about Bianca and what she's like on the set. The cast and crew play along hilariously as they explain how nice Bianca was to work with. Turns out she's not a diva, though she did have a lot of her own ideas. Gosling tells us that she learned all of the lines phonetically. We learn she had specifics to go through each day in terms of putting her face on (intercut with scenes of the doll literally being put together in the morning. Heh.) She's a vegetarian, someone tells craft services. She and Gosling formed a real bond and had "real chemistry," according to producer John Cameron. Bianca tells us, through Gosling, natch, that working with him is what drew her to this film. This featurette takes us inside the stars' relationship, all the way to when the honeymoon is over and Gosling and Bianca are arguing like the demanding movie stars they clearly are. For a DVD with so few special features, this is very much a highlight, and worth the price of the DVD rental, even if you've already seen the movie. It's cute and quirky and really helps bring the movie to life.

Finally, we have the trailer.

No commentary or anything interactive here, but this is such a quaint film that it's perfectly suitable for the DVD to contain just a few simple, delightful extras -- and that's exactly what this DVD delivers.

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