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Lars and the Real Girl: A Funky Film with a Sex Doll But Not a Single Sex Scene

Is it believable that an emotionally repressed young man so psychologically clouded with unresolved grief (his parents died in the not-so-distant past) could purchase a life-size sex doll apparently 100% anatomically accurate and fall in love with her/it and so delude himself into believing they do indeed have a "real relationship" involving everthing (including communication) but not ... sex?  Probably not.  And what's even more unbelievable:  that a young man could purchase a sex doll and not have sex with it/her, or that he could buy her and believe her to be real female flesh and blood?  I don't know, but thankfully, since I really liked this movie despite its implausibility (the plot's plausibility is, after all, not a critical point here); what's critical is that we suspend belief, because no way in hay does an entire town go along with his ridiculous delusion in our so-called real world universe of "reality".

I found in Lars and the Real Girl a fantasy or fable about healing and working through grief and then getting on with our lives.  So, in order to understand and enjoy this work, you can't take it quite so literally.  Otherwise, then of course, it's lame, the gag is old thirty seconds after Lars' delusion displays itself.  But watched as a fable the film is downright delightful, demonstrating human compassion and tolerance in the face of extremely weird, awkward scenarios involving Lars and his "girlfriend" (the party scene, for instance, where he introduces "her" to everybody).

Psychologically speaking, Lars' relationship with his sex doll is symbolic of his non-communicative, imaginary relationship to his mother (pardon the Freudianism, but Freud did nail a few things), so of course Lars never has sex with it/her, but works out, in time, all his pent up feelings of loss, sadness, and anger at the doll -- his deceased mother -- in order to extricate himself from the emotional quicksand of unresolved pain, loss and grief.  That he goes to a psychiatrist, er, takes the sex doll to go see the psychiatrist for her problem, sheds light on his anger at his mother -- anger that he's too delicate emotionally to face -- since she's the one who needs the shrink, not me; but also his desire, despite his fear of what he'll uncover, to somehow sift through his confusion and figure out the convoluted complexity of what he perceives (stuck in the child's-eye-view) as abandonment; that is, her death that left him feeling all alone.

This is pretty fascinating stuff, actually, if you're so inclined, bent on getting a grip on the psychopathological side of life.  I won't reveal the ending, other than to say it's quite touching and psychologically astute.  Don't be put off by what you may have heard -- there's absolutely no sleaze or sex involved whatsoever in this story as perhaps understandably anticipated.  That underlying and ultimately unconsummated sexual tension works quite well here, much as it did in Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation, enhancing the richness and depth of the storytelling.  Netflix it quick!

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