Real Love from Lars and the Real Girl

Posted: January 29, 2013 by jperritt in Comedy, Drama
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

larsThis post might bother some people.

Trust me, I’m not trying to ruffle any feathers. I’m not trying to stir the pot. People might misunderstand what I’m trying to communicate because of some questionable content from Lars and the Real Girl. But, let’s rewind things a bit.

Several months ago my wife and I got on a Ryan Gosling kick. We watched The Ides of March, Drive, and Crazy, Stupid, Love. prior to Lars. Gosling has come a long way since the Young Hercules television series, as well as, his almost silent character from Remember the Titans. I had almost written him off completely for the terrible film, The Notebook. I understand that there are some touching moments in The Notebook, but glorifying fornication doesn’t really do much for me. Maybe its just me.

All of that to say, I really like Ryan Gosling. Although I cannot recommend that you watch all of his films, he is a talented actor and Lars and the Real Girl truly displayed the range he possesses.

In the film, Gosling portrays the character of Lars, a delusional hermit who lives in the garage of his brothers house. Lars is more than odd as he interacts with his family and is even more so when he’s out in public, however, there is something endearing about this character. Even though he may posses qualities associated with people who have extreme social anxiety disorder or OCD, he possesses a kindness that’s truly likable.

Lars lives in a small town where most people are aware of his condition. Although they struggle to interact, even understand Lars, they attempt to show him love. Even though kindness is not in short supply from the townspeople, Lars still cannot break these introverted tendencies until he meets a special friend named Bianca.

This is where some people might get bothered, but please bear with me, just as the townspeople bear with Lars. The special friend Lars meets is actually a doll he buys off the Internet (I don’t have to go into detail to explain what that doll is). The unique aspect to Lars’ purchasing of this doll is that he just wants companionship. (I must say that I saw this movie several months ago, so I might be off on some details.) Lars doesn’t sleep with the doll – she actually stays at his brother’s house. As far as I can remember, he doesn’t even do anything remotely sexual with Bianca.

The aspect I want to focus on from this film, and the major theme that stuck with me, was the sense of community expressed in the film. Even though Lars and his special friend got many a raised eyebrow when he took her on the town, they embraced her. Women take her for a night on the town, the beauty shop women fix Bianca’s hair, and people even converse with her on occasion. [SPOILER] As Bianca gets sick, the people from the church come and cook meals for Lars, and show true love and concern for him.

There’s a point in the film when Lars is speaking with his sister-in-law, Karin, and he exclaims that she doesn’t even care about Bianca. Karin, fed up with bathing and caring for Bianca for quite some time exclaims, “Every person in this town bends over backward to make Bianca feel at home. Why do you think she has so many places to go and so much to do? Huh? Huh? Because of you! Because – all these people – love you! We push her wheelchair. We drive her to work. We drive her home. We wash her. We dress her. We get her up, and put her to bed. We carry her. And she is not petite, Lars. Bianca is a big, big girl! None of this is easy – for any of us – but we do it…Oh! We do it for you! So don’t you dare tell me how we don’t care.”

Karin’s patience towards Lars finally comes to an end in that scene, but she communicates some profound words of love and community. The entire people share the burden of Bianca, because they love Lars.

I couldn’t help but think of the apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus, a letter that stresses unity in Christ. I therefore, a prisoner for The Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Would you be so bold to show the love of Christ to an awkward individual such as Lars? Who are the Lars’ of your life? Who are the awkward people who do the unthinkable that God has placed in your path? Whether it’s the purchasing of an Internet doll or something less extreme, we are called to bear with one another and strive after unity, because we were the awkward recluse whose door Christ came knocking on.

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