I found the first twenty minutes slow, tedious and even a bit "art house" cliché. After hearing such good things about the film, I was disappointed nearly to the point of walking out. And then the ball started to roll with a gentle, yet determined, pace. By the halfway mark, I was hooked, at three quarters, the film actually choked me up with its tender sweetness. And then that warm quiet climax put me over the edge, I was a silly fool in a ball of tears. A good cry, what a treasure.
Overall, an imperfect gem. In its successful attempt to go for the heart, "Lars and the Real Girl" stumbles a bit. Here are some of my suggested changes. First, while I liked Ryan Gosling in Half Nelson, I felt he was perhaps miscast here. I didn't completely buy him, instead, saw him as a good actor in an interesting role. I would have preferred someone who could win my sympathies straight away and at the same time, scare me a bit. I'm sure others will heartily disagree, but I think a younger Pauly Shore, would have nailed it. Or Chris Katton -- of course these choices would give the film more than just its subtle sense of humor. That said, Michael Cera (of Juno fame) comes to mind as the best choice.
In any event, if your faith in humankind is waning, this is a good film to go out and rent.
-- Books by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony --