Lowdown: A guy adopts a sex doll to be his girlfriend.
In a cold and remote town somewhere in the middle of nowhere lives a young guy called Lars. Lars resides in the garage of his dead father's house, with his brother and the brother's expecting wife living in the main residence.
On the face of it, Lars is a normal person and a decent member of society: He goes to church on a regular basis (it seems as if the film's folk consider that a positive), he works and gets along well with his mates, and everyone in this close community just loves him. The only catch is Lars' distancing himself from others: he avoids unnecessary contact with others, and - most notably - he doesn't have a girlfriend.
Eventually, Lars succumbs to the social pressure and gets himself a girlfriend. A sex doll, which he names, pretends to have deep conversations with, carries with him everywhere he goes, and introduces to everyone as his girlfriend. His family and the rest of the town cooperate and take part in the pretend game - only too aware it's not really a game. Quickly enough, the rubber girlfriend acquires a personality of her own, a personality bestowed by Lars and augmented by the people around him.
As someone who never really had to contend with mental illness I found the concept behind Lars and the Real Girl quite interesting: it is very rarely that movies provide us with a real look at a mental disorder as it happens, preferring to avoid the subject for better revenue raising ones. But other than that, I quickly grew tired of the concept behind Lars and the Real Girl: quickly enough I realized there is not going to be too much tension involved with accepting the rubber doll, with everyone being so nice in this small secluded town; and what remained, a town full of compassionate people looking after Lars at his time of crisis, did not feel too real. Come on, if I were one of them it wouldn't take long before I would break down and stop pretending. Sure, Lars' brother has a tough time living with the concept, but are we really to believe that things are all just so sweet overall?
And the whole "rubber doll becoming a more real than real person" charade - come on, it's all just one overly sweet scene followed by the other. It annoys me to see a film that steps out of the beaten path u-turn to resort to cliches.
Best scene: The pregnant sister in law checks to see if the rubber doll is fully equipped.
Technical assessment: It is clear this film did not enjoy a big budget. The camera is hand held, the lighting is minimal, and the picture quality shows. The sound is as mundane as sound can be, with only one scene allowing music to establish some surround presence.
Overall: Lars and the Real Girl wears out its welcome too quickly but does receive a bonus for dealing with a tough subject. 2.5 out of 5 stars.