Friday, April 18, 2008

Lars and the Real Girl

Finally, a movie that I can gladly recommend to everybody. I saw this movie in theaters and I enjoyed it. I wanted to rent it when it came out to DVD because I wanted to see if the story's novelty would wear off, thus diminishing the film as a whole. That was certainly not the case; I liked this movie even better this time around (which, perhaps, isn't that surprising considering there was a gaggle of gals behind me at the theater that kept talking and laughing at the most inopportune times).

Instead of explaining the creatively unique (redundancy alert?) plot--which I'm sure I would make sound pretty dumb--check out the trailer:

I need to confess that I pretty much hated Ryan Gosling before seeing this movie. I thought The Notebook was one of the most overrated movies of all time (a friend loaned it to me and I watched it with a girl, so it was sort of excusable). Just like Lloyd Christmas did when he went from shaggin' wagon to moped, Gosling TOTALLY REDEEMED HIMSELF! I think he should have been nominated for his performance here. His mannerisms, sometimes subtle, were spot-on and never appeared contrived. An absolutely outstanding job.

Gosling was aided by great performances from Lars' brother and sister-in-law (and immediate neighbors), Paul Schneider and Emily Mortimer respectively (obviously). (Schneider was one of the main motivating factors for catching Lars in theaters because of this film.) Schneider is one of the best in Hollywood and I'm glad that he's gotten more than two good roles (see: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford).

Nancy Oliver's original screenplay is phenomenal. For a first-timer--excepting her work on "Six Feet Under," which I promptly added to my queue--it's one of the best inaugural efforts I've seen. She was nominated for an Oscar for its composition, but didn't win; very stiff competition this year in that category: Juno (winner), Michael Clayton, The Savages, and Ratatouille. The direction by Craig Gillespie is good too, especially considering he is also a first-timer (I do not, however, have much faith in his follow-up project).

Final Grade: A
Blurb: A one-of-a-kind story that is well told by all participants, especially Gosling. The story's novelty neither wears out nor grows beyond belief, which is surprising given the tale's nature. This movie is the definition of a "feel-good story," but it's not annoyingly or overbearingly so; but rather, it makes you feel good for all the right reasons.

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