I sure would have liked to have been a fly on the wall when Six Feet Under scribe Nancy Oliver pitched her script for Lars and the Real Girl: "See, it's about this guy who falls in love with a sex doll -- only he doesn't use the doll for sex, see? He's delusional, and he really thinks she's a real person, get it? Oh, but it's not a comedy, it's really kind of melancholy and depressing." Not the sexiest pitch in the world to have to sell, is it? And yet, the concept works -- and works very well -- if you're able to suspend a fair amount of disbelief.
The best thing about the film, nor surprisingly, is Ryan Gosling, who's proven to have quite a remarkable range as an actor. In last year's Half Nelson, Gosling made a crack-addicted middle-school teacher sympathetic; as Lars, he takes on the challenge of creating an emotionally disconnected and delusional character that the audience can connect with. It's a difficult trick to pull off; the character of Lars is so completely out of touch emotionally and socially from everyone around him, that the hardest bit to suspend disbelief around is that any of the people in the small town in which he lives would actually go to the lengths they do in order to help him. But maybe I'm just jaded from eight years of living in Seattle, where people tend to refer to the interpersonal dynamic as "Seattle-friendly" (translation: friendly enough on the surface, but the emotional walls don't come down too easily).