By KATE DOCTOR
Before going to the Feb. 27, 2013 screening of “Lars and the Real Girl,” I had never even heard of the film. I had received a few condensed summaries of the film’s narrative, but the main aspect that caught me off–guard was the girl, “Bianca,” and the role that she would play in the movie.
In “Lars and the Real Girl,” the main character, Lars (Ryan Gosling), is a withdrawn man living in the garage of his brother, Gus (Paul Schneider), and his wife, Karin (Emily Mortimer). One day, Lars brings home the girl of his dreams, which thrills both Gus and Karin. The only problem is that this girl isn’t exactly who or what they expect her to be. Instead, Lars’ soul mate is a “doll” Lars purchased off the Internet. Lars himself sees no problem with the situation and is simply looking for a meaningful relationship with this inanimate object, convinced that the doll, named Bianca, is sentient and alive. The small town that Lars lives in is skeptical of this act, but after a while they all band together to make Bianca feel welcome and to make Lars happy.
This movie was presented by Psi Chi (The National Honor Society in Psychology) and Psi Alpha Omega primarily for the symptoms presented in the character of Lars. Deeper into the film itself, Lars is diagnosed with delusional disorder. One of the primary features of delusional disorder is that one has a belief that cannot be unshaken but that is actually untrue. In the case of Lars, he believes that Bianca is a real girl with whom he wants to have a deep and meaningful relationship. After a while though, he begins to lose sight of this delusion. Unfortunately, saying much more about the loss of the delusion would regrettably be giving away too much of the film.
One aspect I particularly loved was when the community came together to help this man and to make Bianca feel welcome. However, I’m not entirely certain whether or not giving into the delusion would ultimately be beneficial outside of the world created in the film. There is also the fact that Dagmar (Patricia Clarkson), who is Bianca’s doctor and a psychologist as well, indirectly works with Lars. As far as I know, this isn’t allowed in the real world because the patient has to consent to treatment. Since Dagmar is treating Lars without his consent, she is technically in violation of this important rule. But whatever, it’s a movie. Anything can happen in a movie, apparently.
Putting aside all of the misconstrued information presented in the film, I enjoyed the movie. Seeing the community’s ability to come together to help this deeply troubled man was both heart-warming and inspirational. At first they are all a little skeptical, but they eventually warm up to Lars’ new girlfriend, and not only make Bianca feel welcome, but also bring Lars out of his shell, eventually opening up the possibility for the disturbed young man to find deep connections with the (real) people around him. Overall, I found the movie very enjoyable with great performances and an even better message. As such, I would highly recommend this movie to anyone, especially if you like uncomfortable humor and happy endings.