Monday, September 22, 2014

Posted by Laurel Garver on Monday, September 22, 2014 43 comments
Thanks to our host Alex Cavanaugh for coming up with this fun fest theme, "Underrated Treasure," in which we share a favorite movie, band/artist, TV show, or book (any or all categories). As my bio blurb over to the right says, I'm an indie film enthusiast, so I thought I'd talk about my very favorite indie film that I suspect many of you haven't heard of.

Film - Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

Available for streaming or on DVD

A young man purchases a life-sized, anatomically-correct doll off the Internet and is convinced she is real.

Sounds like a set up for a hilarious romp involving sexual deviancy, right? Prepare to be surprised, because from this bizarre premise comes one of the most touching, insightful, profound films about love and community I've ever seen. More accurately, I'd blurb it as "A small-town community rallies to help a man suffering from a delusion." But I guess that's not as sexy.

What I love most about this film is the psychological puzzle at its core. WHY does Lars suddenly develop a delusion? How have his past and present circumstances conspired to make him need this kind of extreme coping mechanism? Little by little we're given clues, beginning from the very first scene when Lars's pregnant sister-in-law invites him to breakfast, and he answers the door wearing a baby blanket like a scarf. The visual motif of the color pink is tied to the psychological puzzle. In true indie film fashion, we get all the information we need, bit by bit, until the cause of Lars's psychological issues becomes abundantly clear without the screenwriter ever resorting to a Hollywood-style bash-you-over-the-head pronouncement.

I also love what this film teaches about how communities could (and should) act when someone is hurting--by taking the humble path of getting down into the ditch with that hurting person. The local Lutheran church, full of very ordinary, no-frills Midwestern folk are at the center, asking, "how can we help?" and, with absolutely no irony, "what would Jesus do?"

Here's the trailer:




Have you seen this underrated treasure? Have I convinced you to give it a try?

43 comments:

  1. You know what? I think this is one movie I haven't seen, and I've seen many. Sounds like I should take a peek at this one.

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    1. I was hesitant based on the DVD jacket description, but I promise you'll be amazed at how sweet a film this is.

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    1. I really like stuff that is psychologically complex, and this certainly is, kind of like some of the best literary fiction is.

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  3. I'd heard such good things about this movie for a while, but still haven't seen it. I should check it out.

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    1. It's a great film. Funny, touching. You really root for Lars to get a handle on what's eating at him beneath the surface.

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  4. I haven't heard of this movie before today. Thanks for sharing your movie pick for the Underrated Treasures Blogfest.

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    1. The premise has probably scared away quite a few who would likely love this film. It is quirky, but also very moving.

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  5. Wow! How did I miss seeing this movie? I need to add it.

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  6. I've heard of this film but now I definitely have to watch it!

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    1. The premise makes it sound like it might be a bit off-color, but it's really, really not. Lars imagines this gal is a disabled missionary and names her Bianca (white, a symbol of purity).

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  7. I have not seen this one! Looks interesting. :)

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    1. Despite the weird premise, this film is a celebration of the ways families and communities can support one another through all kinds of crises.

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  8. I've heard of this movie but never watched it. I didn't expect it to be as you described it.

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    1. I was similarly skeptical, but gave it a try after several people I trust recommended it. Quirky premise, touching film.

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  9. Finding love is easy, finding the ones closet to you to share in that love... now that is hard.

    Jeremy [HWR:OLM]
    Howlin' Wolf Records: On-Line Magazine

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Jeremy. This film does have some interesting things to say about relationships and community.

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  10. I actually really liked Lars and the Real Girl. It was strange, but good.

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    1. I usually say "quirky" because frankly the premise IS really weird! Glad to know you enjoyed it also.

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  11. What an interesting premise. I'll see if I can watch it in my country.

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    1. Hope you can. It's quirky but very heartwarming.

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  12. This sounds like a good movie! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Glad you were able to see past the strange premise. Thanks for coming by!

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  13. I've never heard of it. Sounds like they went the right direction with the film.
    Thanks for participating in my blogfest!

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    1. Thanks for hosting. This has been a really fun fest!

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  14. This is the kind of film most people would pass on and probably shouldn't by the sound of it. Thanks for sharing!

    p.s. I answered your Aha questions under your blog comment. Well, to the best of my knowledge :-)

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    1. Some friends and I joke that we are "Lars missionaries," trying to convince people to look past the appearances (especially the premise) and give the film a try.

      Thanks for the Aha info. I'm stoked to know they have so much English-language music available. Woot!

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  15. Wow, I have not seen this film, and it certainly sounds like a deep story.

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  16. Haven't heard of this one before - sounds intriguing!!

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    1. Don't let the strange premise scare you off. It's a wonderful film.

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  17. Wow! From the media description, I was really not interested so I had never even watched the preview. Now, with your recommendation and this preview, I think I'm going to give this movie a try. :)

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    1. Yep, me too. It was only after my pastor recommended it, saying that it shows especially well how the church should behave as a community that I finally gave it a chance.

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  18. Now I don't feel so bad about all those female manequins all around y house and in my car. And my basement. And attic. And garage.

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    1. Because clearly you have some kind of deep psychological problem you're trying to work out. Should we book you an appointment with Ingrid (Lars's doctor)?

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  19. Your reveew of it is what makes me want ot give it a try. Both the premise and the storytelling sound intriguing. This is turning out to be a great blogfest w/ lots of new movies, songs, shows & books to be explored!

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    1. Hooray. I'm glad you're willing to consider it. The film certainly has funny moments, but in some ways is more a drama. Great nonetheless.

      I agree--a really fun fest!

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  20. Intriguing movie premise. Watched the trailer. It looks like it'd be very though provoking. Thanks for the suggestion.

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    1. It's quite a moving film--funny and sweet. Thanks for stopping by!

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  21. I worked as an art professor, teaching painters for many years. In that position, I met so many curious creatives with alternate views on life; what many would consider strangely obsessive attachments. I remember when "Lars and the Real Girl" was first released. I really wanted to see it. Then I got distracted with other things.

    This is the thing I love about participating in this blog hop, you get nudges and reminders about those things which you've forgotten over time, that you were interested in. This movie is a definite "must add" to my watch list. Thanks!

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    1. In Lars's case, the delusion has a very specific trigger--and it's quite fascinating to figure out what it is (and his issue is actually really, really sweet). Glad you plan to watch it!

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  22. Strange and interesting. Good choice.

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