This is one of those movies that's impossible to watch the preview and remotely grasp what kind of a movie you will be watching. The previews would lead one to believe that they will be watching a silly little movie about a guy who becomes infatuated with today’s equivalent of a blow-up (but much more realistic) sex doll. However, what really lurks under here is a tender and sensitive tale about a young man, Lars Lindstrom (Ryan Gosling), who is so distant and afraid of being hurt that he can’t open himself up to love anything other than something as safe as his "love" doll named Bianca.
Ryan Gosling and his amazing performance as Lars is what makes this movie work. He plays the young man with such commitment and conviction that you begin to care for Bianca because you care so much about him and his struggle. He plays this delusional and sheltered man so well the audience immediately roots for Lars instead of snickering at him on the screen. That is quite a feat for a movie about a man in love with his doll.
Of course, all this serious psyche analysis talk doesn't mean that there aren’t quite a few absolutely riotous moments involving either Lars introducing Bianca to his family or the town’s reaction to seeing her “out and about” with Lars. It is very funny at times, but that really isn't the overall tone of the film as you might expect.
This is my second or third viewing of this film and I remember thinking that I want to live in a town like this – where people care enough to try to understand your problems rather than mock you for them. I loved the older woman at the church meeting that put everyone in their place by telling their family secrets about their problems and saying “These things happen” and pledging her support to act like Bianca is real.
The supporting cast is very good as well. The standouts for me were Emily Mortimore as the sister-in-law who kept trying to reach Lars in his shell. Also, Patricia Clarkson as the primary care physician who is clever enough to develop a rouse of giving Bianca weekly treatments just so she could talk to Lars and help him work through his problem.
I have recommended this one to many people and haven't had anyone say they didn't love it as much as I did. So to you out there who haven't seen this one and think that current movies are ALL rubbish - I highly recommend this film. This one will help you believe that original movies are still being made, albeit rarely. So relish this gem.