Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
Lars and the Real Girl is too meek and kind-hearted to be true. It has arguably other elements making it clearly fantastical as well, but director Craig Gillespie and writer Nancy Oliver asks us politely to accept the premises they lay forward for their never harsh, but constantly clever satire. What is good with Lars and the Real Girl is that we are left pondering real everyday issues, even if Lars' situation is anything but everyday. The key to the effect is how the film combines a delightful and unashamed idiosyncrasy with very authentic dramatic situations and familiar characters; director Gillespie gives his characters the time and opportunity to react more than act, and this makes this little film a real crowd-pleaser.
The film is also noticeable for portraying the arguably Scandinavian way of life which still prevails in some of the rural northern US states. A real treat for us from the northern parts of Europe, and I would argue that Lars and the Real Girl is closer in spirit to the European film tradition than it is to the American. The title is another indication on the European affiliation; there seems to be a trend in American cinema to draw inspiration from the Nouvelle Vague in general and Eric Rohmer in particular (with the likes of Dan in Real Life and Margot at the Wedding as other 'Rohmeric' entries), and Lars and the Real Girl is the most effective example so far in that respect.