Lars and the Real Girl parents guide

Lars and the Real Girl Parent Guide

Overall B+

Gus (Paul Schneider) and his wife Karin (Emily Mortimer) are thrilled to hear Gus's brother Lars (Ryan Gosling) has finally found a girlfriend. But their enthusiasm fades when they discover the new woman in his life is actually a life-sized, plastic dummy. Concerned about his mental health, the couple decides to follow the advice of Lars' psychologist (Patricia Clarkson) and play along with his delusion.

Release date November 8, 2007

Violence B+
Sexual Content B-
Profanity B
Substance Use A-

Why is Lars and the Real Girl rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Lars and the Real Girl PG-13

Run Time: 106 minutes

Parent Movie Review

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The MPAA has rated Lars and the Real Girl - PG-13 for some sex-related content.

It’s one thing to be a little reclusive. It’s quite another to be like Lars (Ryan Gosling). He leaves his cubicle at work each day to return to a small room attached to a ramshackle garage just a few feet from the house where his brother Gus (Paul Schneider) and sister-in-law Karin (Emily Mortimer) reside. He declines Karin’s pleas to join them for a meal in the same manner someone would turn down a serving of plague. Only after she physically accosts him in the driveway after work one day does Lars relent and reluctantly share dinner with them.

Viewing his wife’s ongoing determination, Gus advises her to give up, suggesting some guys simply like being left alone.

Needless to say it comes as a huge surprise when Lars shows up on their doorstep late one night to ask a favor. A girl he met on the Internet has come to stay with him, but his religion precludes the two of them sleeping together. Anxiously accepting his request to have her stay with them, the couple’s initial astonishment quickly fades to confused concern when Bianca enters their home. Not exactly a human being, she is a life-size doll Lars has ordered on-line, and is completely convinced is a real person.

Recognizing now that Lars has more than a simple loner tendency, Karin and Gus convince their garage dweller to take his “friend,” who Lars has explained has traveled from Brazil, to Dr. Dagmar (Patricia Clarkson) for an exam. Conveniently drawing on her former experience as a psychologist, Dr. Dagmar advises Karin and Gus to just let Lars play out his delusion, and she recommends Lars bring Bianca back for weekly checkups, due to her “complex” problem. Soon, thanks to a church leader asking “What would Jesus do?”, it seems the entire community is accepting Bianca and coming up with creative ways for her to feel accepted—including helping a clothing store model their latest fashions, and reading stories (with a little help from a tape recorder) to children at the library.

If you have seen previews for Lars and the Real Girl, you may be approaching this film about a man in love with what is really an adult sex toy, with caution. Thankfully, this movie isn’t trying to fit into the sex comedy genre. While Lars’s co-workers quietly discuss the fact that Bianca was built for a very different purpose (which constitutes the film’s few moments of sexual innuendo), his delusion is completely innocent. His perceived relationship with Bianca is to care for her. As other members of the community, including his fellow churchgoers, recognize the role they play in helping Lars work through his problems (that are revealed in during his visits with Dr. Dagmar), this film develops into a truly touching drama. The fresh script is interspersed with moments of true humor and sustained by award worthy performances (Gosling is especially incredible).

Yet, it would be wrong to assume this film is suitable (or even interesting) for younger audiences due to the multifaceted character situations portrayed. However, it will reward adult and mature teen audiences with valuable insight into mental illness and the roles we can play in helping those who struggle to find meaning in the supposedly real world.

Starring Ryan Gosling, Patricia Clarkson, Emily Mortimer, Paul Schneider.. Running time: 106 minutes. Theatrical release November 8, 2007. Updated

Lars and the Real Girl
Rating & Content Info

Why is Lars and the Real Girl rated PG-13? Lars and the Real Girl is rated PG-13 by the MPAA

Somewhat misrepresented in the promotional previews, this film is a touching comedy/drama about a man who is convinced he is in love with a doll he has ordered from the Internet. In reality, his dummy is a sex toy, and the other characters in this film are well aware of this fact. Their brief and infrequent discussions about his delusion include sexual innuendo and their curiosity about whether or not the doll is “anatomically correct” (Lars’s sister-in-law is shown peeking under the doll’s skirt in one scene). Other sexual content includes a co-worker who is looking at pornography on the Internet (we don’t see any) and in another scene, a man looks at the website where the doll was ordered and we see dolls dressed in underwear. We see the doll’s posterior while it is being washed in a bathtub. Other content issues are a few infrequent mild profanities and terms of Christian deity used as expletives. A woman knocks a man down while attempting to convince him to come to dinner. Social drinking is seen at a party. Topics regarding delusion, mental health, depression and childhood trauma may make this drama more suitable for adults.

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Lars and the Real Girl Parents' Guide

With the help of a professional, Lars’s brother and sister-in-law—along with members of the community—look for creative ways to indirectly help Lars. How are these methods more productive than directly addressing the obvious problem?

The timeline in this film appears to span a few months. Is this a realistic amount of time for Lars to resolve his illness? How might media work to convince us that complex problems can be solved quickly?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Lars and the Real Girl movie is April 14, 2008. Here are some details…

Lars and the Real Girl releases to Blu-ray on April 5, 2011

DVD Release Date: 15 April 2008

If you order Lars and the Real Girl on DVD, you’ll also receive two featurettes (Just Like All The Other Actors and The Real Story of Lars and the Real Girl). And that’s not all! You’ll also get a deleted scene (Bathtub).

Related home video titles:

Kindhearted Elwood P. Dowd (James Stewart) nearly drives his family mad with his insistent belief that his best friend is an invisible, 6-foot-3-inch rabbit named Harvey. Based on a true story, A Beautiful Mind portrays another man suffering from mental health issues.