Monday, September 1, 2008
I was really averse to seeing this when it came it. It received strong reviews and had a good cast, but it seemed to me to be an indie quirkfest (a genre I'm not too keen on) with a particularly unpleasant plot. I mean, the concept didn't seem all that funny to me; more creepy and sad. Then I heard the film was only kind of a comedy, and really more serious and dramatic, and I could not imagine that working at all. I mean, it's about a guy who goes around believing that a sex doll is a real person that he's in love with. It's like some depressing real-life version of Mannequin.
Turns out I was wrong on all counts. This is a pretty wonderful movie, funny in a low key way, very charming and even quite touching at the end. I'm not sure how they did it, but I think at least a good helping of the credit goes to Ryan Gosling. I think he's one of the best actors around these days, but I had trouble imagining him as a lovable sad-sack. He seemed more the confident type to me, but it so happens that he's perfect in the role, and his ability to to project innocence and a kind of hidden charm go a long way to making you care about a potentially weird character.
On the hand, it's about Lars' delusion and why he might feel that way, but perhaps more importantly it's about the way his family and friends, and eventually the community at large, accomodate his because they all care about him. They never make the mistake of trying to turn the doll in to a character, we never sees Lars' delusion for ourselves, but we care about his feelings for her, and about everyone elses' feelings for him. I was pretty shocked to find myself genuinely moved by the end, but there you have it: I had this movie pegged completely wrong.