Lars and the Real Girl



Sex doll takes center stage in quirky comedy.
  • Review Date: April 14, 2008
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 106 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Lars' emotional disturbance leads him to believe that a life-sized sex doll is his girlfriend; on a doctor's advice, his fellow townspeople go along with the idea in order to ease his upset. Lars' brother is very distressed by his behavior.


A minor scuffle between Lars and Karin (she tackles him), meant as comedy.


The film focuses on Lars' "romance" with an inflatable sex doll, so it includes discussions of porn, sexual activity, and desire. A couple of shots of a porn Web site show girls in underwear. Brief cleavage shot, plus shot of Bianca the doll's bare bottom. Brief discussion of homosexuality, as neighbors think that Lars might be gay.


Minor language, including a couple of uses each of "hell" and "damn." Some slangy allusions to sex (i.e., "the right cowboy to tame this wild filly," "slutty hunk of silicone").


Cracker Jack.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A background character smokes a cigarette.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know the movie's focus on the main character's "relationship" with a very lifelike sex doll may raise questions from young viewers about just exactly what one is -- and what it does. The film also focuses on Lars' emotional disorder, in part explained by his distress over the fact that his mother died during his birth and his father's bad behavior afterward (these events come up in conversation but aren't shown). Expect some slangy references to women's bodies and sexual activities.

What's the story?

At the start of LARS AND THE REAL GIRL, Lars (Ryan Gosling) looks out on a bleak, wintry landscape. He's isolated and alone, even though he lives adjacent (albeit in a garage) to his brother Gus (Paul Schneider) and his pregnant sister-in-law, Karin (Emily Mortimer).Lars, who works in a generic cubicle at a generic office, can pass for merely socially awkward. But when his co-worker Margo (Kelli Garner) develops a crush on him, he's unable to respond. Instead, he turns to a porn Web site, where he orders a lifelike sex doll. She arrives in a box, and he names her Bianca and introduces her to Gus and Karin as his long-distance girlfriend who's come to visit. With eyebrows raised and glances exchanged, they go along with him, suggesting that they all take Bianca to see Dr. Berman (Patricia Clarkson). Kindly and wise in the way that small-town doctors tend to be in the movies, she advises letting Lars gradually work out whatever trauma he's apparently feeling. "Chances are," she says, "he's been decompensating for some time."

Is it any good?


The townsfolk rally round Lars, accepting Bianca as a "real girl," inviting her to parties, volunteering her for community service, bringing her to the hospital to visit with sick kids, etc. But even as it celebrates the healing powers of quirk, Craig Gillespie's movie is premised on some tedious and seemingly comforting truisms related to the "unfathomable" mysteries of women and pregnancy. Bianca, for all her blankness, is a vehicle for Lars' reintegration into the community. While it's disheartening that she must follow a typical plot route in order to serve that function, the film features an appealing performance by Gosling.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether the movie seems at all realistic -- and, for that matter, whether it's intended to. Does the doctor do the right thing in letting Lars believe in Bianca's existence? Do you think it's believable that the townspeople play along? What do you think the movie's overall message is?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 12, 2007
DVD release date:April 14, 2008
Cast:Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, Ryan Gosling
Director:Craig Gillespie
Run time:106 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some sex-related content.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 16 years old Written bymoviemogul 2.0;... April 9, 2008

I really don't understand how CSM can rate this only two stars

Here is a beautifully simple film that doesn't try to be anything or try to do anything other than tell an original story. After seeing trailers for it on an indie movie site, and seeing what a great cast and concept it had, I looked forward to this movie greatly-- and I was not disappointed at all. There was a simple just pleasure and spark of movie magic that came from the film-- something that movies seriously lack nowadays, even the greatest of films. I wish I could talk about it, but it feels like that magic is destroyed picking apart the film. What I will say however is that this film is one of the best films this year (it easily outshines movies such as the over-hyped Michael Clayton or the pathetic Saw IV), and is very well-worth anyone's time to invest in. (I wrote that part back in October of 2007 for another site, so that's without taking such incredible movies as No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood.) That being said also, as another review put it on another site, the movie is also about how the community comes together selflessly to help take care of someone who needs their help-- something that is obviously a good message. And while some people have complained that the film was too calculating in its sweetness and emotion, but I think the only people who would have that kind of problem with the film are those who actively analyze a film while watching it. If you want a sweet, funny but also serious, film that works as a breath of fresh air amongst all the somber movies that are so sure they are saying something, this comes highly reccommended.
Adult Written byddue2be April 9, 2008

a must see

it is the exact oposit in what you think it is, it is touching and really makes you think, the only explict thing is the doll itself. It is less of a comedy and more of a drama but there a few funny scenes, Ryan Gossling did an amazing job this was on of the best movies i have ever seen! i would definatly take kids 11 or over to see this, trust me it is not that bad! Absouloutly not explict i dont think there was more than 2 curses in the movie.
Adult Written bywonder dove December 28, 2012

Cute flick with meaning!

Lars and the Real Girl is a beautifully told story about a painfully shy guy named Lars who's basically a loner and dislikes being around crowds. He's never had a girlfriend but a nice girl at his work appears to have eyes for him. When his co-worker tells Lars about a site selling life-sized sex dolls, Lars secretly orders one and calls her Bianca. Although, he never actually uses her for what she was built for, Lars believes she is his girlfriend and introduces her to his brother and sister-in-law. Things get funny when they think he has completely lost his mind but eventually they all go along with it and treat Bianca like a real human being. Luring Lars into taking his girl to get regular "check ups", he is actually the one getting help by talking to a psychiatrist and addressing his own real problems deep down. It really is a touching movie, but it's on the slow side. Ryan Gosling is lovable! No real violence, sexuality is mild, language is very mild, some smoking. I knocked one star off due to the pace of the movie which is kind of slow, but the actual story is excellent to curl up to in a blanket with hot chocolate :) Adults would appreciate it more but safe for 14++ crowd.
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