Saturday, October 04, 2008

lars and the real girl


last night was our october installment of my monthly film discussion group, Reel Life: discussions on film and faith. as you can tell from the picture on the left, we watched and discussed the film "lars and the real girl." we had a great turnout (about 25 folks), and the film really gave us something to talk about.
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i remember when i first saw the trailer for this film, and i was, quite honestly, annoyed that people were making a film like this. the premise involves a young man, who, for lack of ability to have a real girlfriend, orders an anatomically correct "love doll" from the internet and begins treating her as a real person. hence the title. i remember that i thought this was going to be another trashy movie, exploiting the general movie-viewing public's love of lewd and cheap sexual humor. i thought lars would be a character who was mocked and used for some cheap laughs. in short, i wrote this film off as another bit of trashy entertainment.
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but i was wrong. a few months ago when i asked for ideas for films to watch, megan recommended this film, and so, taking her word for it, i bought it and watched it. and i absolutely love it. it has become one of my favorite films. it is funny without being cheap. it is classic without being cliche. it is real without being tedious. it really is fantastic. as it turns out, the sex doll isn't a gimmick for the film writers to elicit laughter from a sex-crazed audience, but a delusion for lars who is so lonely, so broken, and so desperate that he makes this doll a 'real girl.' and ***SPOILER ALERT*** this delusion enables him to begin to love 'someone,' which in turn allows him to begin to receive love from his community. it is a great story about the strength of community (the kind of community i believe we were all created for and that we all innately crave), the need to grow up and replace childish-ness with childlike-ness, and the power of love to change everything.
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one of the questions that the film left me with had to do with karin, lars' sister-in-law, who lives next door to lars (well, technically, karin and gus, lars' brother, live in gus and lars' parents home, while lars lives in the garage by himself). from the outset of the film, karin is the one is concerned with lars' status as an outsider. she continues to invite him over for breakfast and for dinner, and he finds any excuse he can not to. at one point she jumps in front of his car, just to 'invite' him over for dinner (greater love has no one that this: that they lay down their life for their friend...), and when he refuses she tackles him and forces him to come over for some salmon and cherry pie and conversation. and so the question that karin left me with is this: how far would i go to include someone, or to invite someone, in the community of faith? how far would i go? am i willing to embarass myself? am i willing to risk my very life? am i even so unwilling that i wouldn't even invite the outsider for 'salmon and cherry pie?' i need to wrestle with this question, particularly when i realize that Jesus' ministry, at least as i see it, had a great deal to do with outsiders and the least and the lost.
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i very highly recommend this film. thanks, megan, for the recommendation.

1 comment:

Megan said...

so glad you liked it! it's one of those movies I want everyone to see, but not sure if people can get past the premise of it to appreciate it for what it is. I love that first dinner scene and of course the tackling in the driveway. The film moved from laugh out loud funny to be being so touching and moving - perfect blend of the two!