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Lars and the Real Girl

The search for true love begins outside the box

When a movie turns out well, the achievement may border on the miraculous; such are the forces arrayed against filmmakers who want to work as unfettered artists. But "Lars and the Real Girl" crosses the border. It's nothing less than a miracle that the director, Craig Gillespie, and the writer, Nancy Oliver, have been able to make such an endearing, intelligent and tender comedy from a premise that, in other hands, might sustain a five-minute sketch on TV.The premise is straightforward: A likable but withdrawn young man named Lars Lindstrom (played brilliantly by Ryan Gosling) buys a life-size sex doll on the Internet and falls in love with it. Or, rather, with her, since he endows his silicone beauty with a vivid personality. Her name is Bianca, she's a missionary from a Brazilian-Danish family and she doesn't believe in pre-marital sex, so their relationship will be chaste at the outset.We're glad to go along with the gag, and we're not the only ones. Lars's sister-in-law, then his brother, then the people of his midwestern town -- somewhere up north, maybe in Minnesota -- go along with it too, albeit cautiously at first. That's the wonder of this story, which moves from the cheerfully ludicrous to the quietly momentous. People go along with it, and are changed by it, as they realize that Lars is not a hopeless nut job but a good soul in distress. Delightful as the business about Bianca may be, it's only a catalyst for the community's effort to help heal one of its own. Of all the unfashionable things in our crass day and age, "Lars and the Real Girl" is a movie about kindness. - Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal
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Directed by: 
Craig Gillespie
Running Time: 
Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, Paul Schneider, Kelli Garner
Screenplay by: 
Nancy Oliver

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