On today's podcast we talk with Craig Gillespie, the director of a new film called Lars and the Real Girl starring Ryan Gosling. Despite the silly premise — a lonely, delusional man carries on a relationship with a life-size doll, much to the dismay of his relatives — this film caught my eye because of Gosling's involvement, and fans of Six Feet Under will recognize the name of the screenwriter, Nancy Oliver. Gosling, of course, was one of the people who made last year's Half Nelson such a great film, one of my faves.
Lars and the Real Girl isn't in the same league, but it's not just the throwaway comedy that I thought it might be. While others have aptly compared the film to Frank Capra's Harvey, starring Jimmy Stewart, on our podcast, J. Robert Parks talks with Gillespie about the character's similarity to Don Quixote.
Did you hear about Monique (2002/Valérie Guignabodet/France) with Albert Dupontel?
Hmm, I haven't heard of Monique but it seems to have some similarities.
I saw Lars with my mom, and she enjoyed it. It's cute, but I think it's really simplistic. Here's Michael Koresky at Reverse Shot; I pretty much agree.
Dupontel orders a sex doll in the USA by the internet during a drunken night. And introduces "her" to his ex-wife and relatives, and parades her around in the neighborhood in his convertible. At least he shags the doll in the French version. ;)
The sight of this doll in the kindergarden in the american version (trailer) is rather disturbing... The choice to write it for all audience is morally questionnable in the first place.
P.S. I'm waiting for your Three Times podcast! Is it a running gag? Or did you forget it?
Well, except for a few tangential jokes, the doll in this movie isn't really treated as a sex doll. It might as well be a mannequin or a puppet or a tree branch with grapes for eyes. The morally questionable part is how Lars' friends and neighbors rally 'round to support his delusion, to flush it out of his system or something. But it's innocuous.
Our Three Times discussion is in the can. We just wanted to take advantage of Parks' timely interview with Craig Gillespie first. I'd never string people along with the promise of a Hou Hsiao-hsien discussion. Too cruel.