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Monday, 12 September 2011

Meditating about Lars

This is a review of Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

More views of - or at (or before) - Cambridge Film Festival 2011
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

13 September

* Contains spoilers *

This is a review of Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

I am still musing about this film, not just because I delayed until to-night to watch the special features, and not even because of most of what was in them. So what causes me to continue to muse?

The answer may partly be in the title (as I don't think that 'the Real Girl' refers to Bianca), and where it locates this film. Undeniably, whatever the cast and crew say about her in the so-called featurette, it would not have worked if Ryan Gosling, too, hadn't been good - and he is very good.

In order not to meet the film head on, although I do not really believe that it has any hidden depths, I find myself thinking about the therapy sessions in Good Will Hunting: when I saw the film, nothing could detract from or diminish the fact that Matt Damon's character was there with that of Robin Williams on account of the improbability that - despite the obvious problems posed by the notation alone - he had just been able, in a casual way, not only to pick up advanced mathematical learning from blackboards, but also to become a highly competent practitioner. (The impudent memory that lingers is of the joke that is told about the old couple, when all is said and done.)

Or I reflect on A Beautiful Mind, and what that film wants to suggest about the nature of experiencing schizophrenia, and how it seeks to set academic life, honour and achievements against discordant behaviour. (One could go on to mention Shine, though some disputed that it dealt with mental illness as such.)

I continue musing, knowing that the film gets the viewer to credit certain things, but at the same time - largely - presenting such a utopian picture of acceptance and understanding of another's needs that, if there were any truth in it and it is not to make us feel better about what could be, we would not face so many struggles that seem bound up with life, but, rather, people would bend when they saw how we were hurting.

In a world where people sometimes label one another as 'needy', a word that laughably seems to suggest that the labeller has no needs, I rather doubt it...

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