Idol Chatter

gosling_larsrealgirl.jpgI believe there were a handful of movies last year that served as a type of litmus test for your own personal level of cynicism and disenchantment about the world. “Juno” was one of those movies, but the tiny indie drama “Lars and the Real Girl” was probably the strongest example of this. I say that because when I saw this movie about a withdrawn young man with emotional problems who pretends a blow-up doll is his girlfriend, I could barely sit through it. I just couldn’t make the leap of faith it took to believe the people in Lars’s community would go to such extreme lengths to help him by playing along with him that the doll is real. I also didn’t think someone so damaged by life was going to be so easily helped. (I guess that means I failed the cynicism test.)

A few months have passed, and I just watched “Lars” on DVD this week. My reaction was completely different this time around. I was deeply moved by the different emotional layers of the film as it moved along, and I thought it was one of the more beautiful portraits of hope and unconditional love that I have seen in a long time. In a society that celebrates overmedicating, excess, and running away from problems as coping strategies, the people in “Lars” are a reminder of what we each can learn from each other when we help each other through tough times. (Guess who’s not feeling so cynical about life these days?)
So if you missed this story when it was in very limited re-release last fall, “Lars” is my DVD pick for this week, highly recommended for its thoughtful, intelligent look at how a community can change a man’s life with just a little faith.

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