Gosling adds HALF NELSON to his outstanding work in the films THE UNITED STATES OF LELAND and the gorgeous NOTEBOOK.
Shareeka Epps as a young, struggling student, is a perfect foil to Gosling, and her intelligence and strength matches that of Gosling as they both deliver scenes that are memorable and tremendous.
Outside of the classroom, Dan's life is in shambles.
He has a distant but cordial relationship with his family. Although his former girlfriend Rachel was able to clean up her drug habit, Dan believes that rehab will not work for him.
He's given two of the best performances in the last two years: here in "Lars" and last year in "Half Nelson." The success of "Lars and the Real Girl" depends almost entirely on Gosling's ability to sell this character to the audience, and he does so flawlessly.
Lars is a sweet teddy bear of a man who also happens to be intensely lonely.
A psychiatrist (a marvelous, as usual, Patricia Clarkson) tells the family that the best thing they can do for Lars is to encourage his delusion until he works through whatever is causing it; they relay that to the townspeople, who take it to heart.
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Has our culture now decided that a film about good kind people is too unrealistic to stomach, and that the only movies that ring true are ones about human depravity?
So far, "Lars and the Real Girl" is one of my favorite films of the year.