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Lars and the Real Girl

September 17, 2015

LATRGOffbeat comedy in which a lonely, delusional Christian man’s life-size female doll becomes his unlikely bridge into fuller membership of a caring, Midwestern town.

Love – In the film, Lars has difficulty in forming loving relationships. He tries to cope with this through his delusional behaviour. His illness prevents him from seeing that people care for him unconditionally and loving them in return. Once Bianca becomes heavily involved in community work, Lars starts to react in a self-pitying way. He claims that no-one really loves him, which prompts an angry response from Karin. She reminds Lars that the way the community has freely embraced. Bianca shows how much they love him. As children mature and develop into adults, they learn to see love from the perspective of others, not just

themselves. Objects of affection, such as toys, are usually superseded in importance by real human interaction. However, in Lars and the Real Girl, the main character feels prevented from making this progression because of unresolved grief from his childhood. He journeys from a selfish, immature kind of love to one that risks rejection, yet can provide something more fulfilling. For love to last, it needs to be mature in order to bear the weight of life’s demands.

Mental illness – In Lars and the Real Girl, Gus and Karin adapt their lives around Lars’ delusional behaviour. We may have little experience of mental illness. This tends to make it harder to understand what it is like to live with this type of condition.

Community – Lars and the Real Girl is set in a stable, happy community, where people seem to know and support each other well. In communities like this there is a welcome for all. They may be few and far between but they’re worth striving for.

Hope – Many of the characters in Lars and the Real Girl maintain their belief in hope. Hope can be an attitude that makes the best of all circumstances or it can be a kind of naïve hope that is dependent on events and wishes things were different.

Hope – At the funeral, Lars is finally able to accept the death of a loved one and seems to be letting go of his delusion. As Margo stands with him, this offers the possibility of developing their relationship. They both hope for a new kind of life that can come out of this death.

In the scene where Lars is reading to Bianca, he is reading from “Don Quixote”, whose main character also has delusions.

The “Real Doll” was featured on The Graham Norton Effect. The doll was given to the show and was stated as costing $6,000. She arrived in the same kind of crate that is shown in the movie. To test how real the doll looked they sat her in a bar with drink in hand, sunglasses and a speaker placed on her so they could talk to whomever came up to talk to the doll. One man was told to go into the bathroom, take off his pants and wait for her. He did.

 

Gus: Pretend that she’s real? I’m just not gonna do it.
Dagmar: She is real.
Gus: Well…
Dagmar: She’s right out there.
Gus: Right, right, I get that, but I’m just not gonna, you know…
Dagmar: You won’t be able to change his mind, anyway. Bianca’s in town for a reason.
Gus: But – but…
Dagmar: It’s not really a choice.
Karin: Okay. Okay, all right, we’ll do it, whatever it takes.
Gus: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. And everyone’s gonna laugh at him.
Dagmar: And you.
 

Lars Lindstrom: You don’t care.
Karin: We don’t care? We do care!
Lars Lindstrom: No you don’t.
Karin: That is just not true! God! Every person in this town bends over backward to make Bianca feel at home. Why do you think she has so many places to go and so much to do? Huh? Huh? Because of you! Because – all these people – love you! We push her wheelchair. We drive her to work. We drive her home. We wash her. We dress her. We get her up, and put her to bed. We carry her. And she is not petite, Lars. Bianca is a big, big girl! None of this is easy – for any of us – but we do it… Oh! We do it for you! So don’t you dare tell me how we don’t care.
[walks into house and slams door]
 

Dagmar: Sometimes I get so lonely I forget what day it is, and how to spell my name.
 

 

Reverend Bock: Lars asked us not to wear black today. He did so to remind us that this is no ordinary funeral. We are here to celebrate Bianca’s extraordinary life. From her wheelchair, Bianca reached out and touched us all, in ways we could never have imagined. She was a teacher. She was a lesson in courage. And Bianca loved us all. Especially Lars. Especially him.
 

Dagmar: Have there been any changes in the family in the last year or so?
Gus: [while Karin simultaneously nods “Yes”] No, everything is pretty much exactly the same except Karin is pregnant and Lars is nuts.
Dagmar: You know, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What we call mental illness isn’t always just an illness. It can be a communication; it can be a way to work something out.
Gus: Fantastic. When will it be over?
Dagmar: When he doesn’t need it anymore.
Karin: How can we help?
Dagmar: Go along with it.
Karin: Oh, no. No, that’s… No.
Gus: Oh, my. No, no, no. No. No, I mean, pretend that she’s real? I’m not gonna do that. I mean, I can’t. I’m just not gonna do it.
Dagmar: She is real.
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