Lars and the Real Girl
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer
Directed by: Craig Gillespie
This is one of the most remarkably original films that I have ever seen, providing a refreshing comment that we can learn and expand our horizons from each other if we approach everyone's foibles with a degree of kindness. It is laugh-out-loud funny, but it is also thought-provoking and moving.
I started off watching the movie expecting a laugh out loud comedy considering the fact that the title was weirdly amusing, but boy was I wrong. Similar to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in that respect, this is the movie that takes you by surprise and then leaves you thinking, Big Time. Ryan Gosling provides a spectacular tour-de-force as a dysfunctional young man in a small town who only begins to blossom when he starts a "relationship" with an expensive love doll. When he takes the risk of introducing "Bianca" to the tightly-knit community in which he lives, the "relationship" is met with an unexpectedly heartwarming response.
Strong support is provided by the always-refreshing Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, and by Kelli Garner as the sweet thing who becomes "Bianca's" rival. But Gosling provides the heart and soul of this remarkable film that never strikes a false note.
The movie has an incredibly powerful and positive message about the ability of a community to heal and nurture a troubled soul by treating it with acceptance and compassion. It's a difficult choice for the community to make, being not only small in numbers but also rather conversationalist by nature. But the efforts of Lars' brother and more importantly sister-in-law brings the entire community together and towards the end "the real girl" does develop a "real girl" image because of what she effectively becomes to everyone.
The Doctor who treats Lars deserves special mention as a thinker, capable of healing in the most inspirational way. I was not outwardly wrong that this was a funny movie. The first few minutes were fun as were the oddities that Bianca brought into the community. But this is far from a laugh out loud riot. It's a thinking movie, and if you are not into thinking movies forget ever getting this for your DVD shelf.
He said/She said: 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.
Watch it if you liked: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Movie Hall of Fame: No
Tagline: The search for true love begins outside the box
Prom Night (2008)
Prom Night is shot with the artistic eye someone gives while finely crafting a Lifetime original film. You know the one. This October, Lifetime takes a break from the courageous tale of a woman surviving (insert disease name here) to tell the somewhat creepy tale of a woman pursued by a stalker ex-boyfriend. It's dramatic … it's sappy … it's immensely dull. It does nothing to further a genre, tell an original story, or strive for Any sort of newness. Prom Night shares this plight. Watching the killer poke holes in his victims, we sit silently as they slump to the floor with not a drop of blood spilled. It occurred to me that this was the cleanest killer in movie history.
As if this film were not disjointed enough, it appears to be cut to shreds. I'm not saying it looks like key points were left on the cutting room floor as the crew scrambled to salvage some semblance of a horror film; I'm saying as the film moves from scene to scene, you often get a jarring jump. This is the kind of thing you'd expect when a film catches fire and a projectionist is forced to splice ends together, cross his fingers, and hope for the best. The editor should be shot.
With a plot you can pack into two sentences, one stray spray of blood, an emo killer, and the tension of a very special episode of "Silver Spoons", we're left with no reason to support horror this weekend … at least on the big screen. In fact, this is the sort of film that should be punished. Is it really that hard to make a scary movie? Was this crew even aware they were making a horror film??!! A complete waste of my time and yours. I bit the bullet to get you this review. Don't let my sacrifice be in vain. Don't go into the movie!