Sunday, February 1, 2009

Love Means...

Letting go of something safe but false, in return for just the chance of something true. That's one of the many themes of "Lars and the Real Girl," a movie I didn't expect to like, but fell completely in love with. I'd heard snippets in reviews: "Guy falls in love with life-sized sex doll ordered from the internet." Well, that's not really what the movie is about, and I'm glad I took a chance on it. There are lots of messages, but they're offered quietly, as suggestions, instead of ham-fisted moralizing. Lars is a thoughtful, charming, low-key comedy that doesn't go for the cheap laugh. Ryan Gosling's performance as Lars is touching and endearing. Emily Mortimer as his sister-in-law drives the film, and her desperation to reach Lars becomes literal when she tackles him in the snow, just to invite him for dinner. My favorite overlooked actress, Patricia Clarkson, is brilliant as the doctor who "treats" Lars' girlfriend.

You have to suspend belief and accept that Lars' love is absolutely real, and that people who care about him see a man clearly teetering on the brink of insanity and want to help him back from the edge. The movie illustrates not just the lengths we go to when we're hurting, but also what a family, a church, and a community will do for someone who needs help. I'm not going to say anything more specific about the movie except if you haven't seen it, you should. Be sure to watch the extra features, "The Real Story of Lars and the Real Girl" and "A Real Leading Lady."

I kept thinking of my painfully shy neighbor, Susie. I would invite her over 20 times and be turned down each time. But then she'd suddenly accept the 21st or 25th invitation. She'd come and have a great time, and I'd feel so relieved that I hadn't given up, that I asked her one more time.

There's a world full of lonely people out there, and I know they are not lonely by choice. They are just scared, and they don't know how to change their lives. I'm convinced that even people who push you away secretly want you to keep reaching out to them. Don't give up. Don't stop trying.


John said...

Yeah, a tender heart warming story. A nice surprise of a movie. My favorite movies are when both the director and audience take a risk.

You should rent "The Station Agent" if you've not already seen it.

La Cootina said...

I have seen The Station Agent, and I really enjoyed it. And wasn't Patricia Clarkson also in that?

I'm trying to limit myself to "feel good" movies. Mostly comedies and romances, but drama is okay, as long as no one gets killed. Not in the frame of mind to appreciate those right now. I'm happy to hear any suggestions - thanks to my pal Susan, I have a couple more months of Netflix!